8 Secrets for Smoother Sailing During a Cloud Migration

Don’t let the words “cloud migration” tie you up in knots. A few simple tips can make a cloud transition much faster and easier.

John Edwards, Technology Journalist & Author

April 24, 2023

4 Min Read
Sailing boat yacht or sailboat group regatta race on sea or ocean water.
StevanZZ via Alamy Stock

Cloud migration is the process of moving an organization's digital assets into the cloud, or from one cloud to another. Despite multiple benefits -- including flexibility, cost savings, enhanced collaboration, and security -- many IT leaders continue to delay their cloud migration, fearing that the process will be long, difficult, and disruptive.

All these fears are generally unfounded, says Amod Bavare, application modernization and migration principal with Deloitte Consulting. “Organizations should see cloud migration as an investment that will help them become more agile, as well as open opportunities to newer technologies,” he explains.

As your organization’s cloud initiative begins, here are eight secrets that will help ensure a more serene cloud migration.

1. Planning is paramount

The best way to ensure a smooth cloud migration is to plan ahead, Bavare advises. “Be agile and pragmatic and take into consideration the potential impact on human capital during the cloud journey.”

Bavare recommends forming strong change management, program management, and communication teams. “Leaders should plan ahead for any changes that will be required during Day-2 operations, including new technologies, cybersecurity risks, and training.”

2. Establish a partner/ecosystem model

A multi-cloud/hybrid-cloud journey shouldn't be limited to just one or two vendors. “It's an ecosystem, and it's important to find the right partners who can take accountability to not only get work done, but to do it in the most efficient manner,” says Vikas Ganoorkar, global cloud migration practice lead for IBM Consulting.

3. Assess your team's talent

Having the right culture and working environment is an absolute must, Ganoorkar says. A solid talent and skill migration strategy is as critical as building a cloud migration plan. “Both need to be thought of, planned, and executed together,” he advises. Clarity on job roles and training are essential.

4. Establish realistic goals

When beginning their cloud journey, many enterprises set unrealistically high expectations while disregarding the amount of work and skill needed to for a headache-free migration. Sunil Moorjani, a director with technology research and advisory firm ISG, reports that his firm's survey of 250 enterprise clients found that almost 70% achieved less than 20% of their primary goals. “Many clients are faced with significant budget overruns -- approximately 60% identify cloud costs as their top challenge and deadlines that are significantly behind.”

5. Enlist enterprise-wide support

Silos are a major pain point for enterprises looking to build an optimized cloud optimization environment. Cloud migration shouldn’t be an IT-only effort, advises Alicia Johnson, consulting principal, technology transformation at business consulting firm EY. “It takes business and engineering groups working together to maximize ROI from cloud migration and bring new capabilities to customers.” The risk of failing to achieve enterprise-wide buy-in is an unorganized cloud transition that will generate, at best, only minimal benefits, she warns.

6. Adopt a business mindset

Enterprise leaders should approach cloud migration with a focus on business outcomes, identifying and prioritizing specific goals, says Ron Witte, managing delivery architect, cloud custom applications, at consulting firm Capgemini Americas.

If leadership doesn't approach cloud migration with a business outcome mindset, the initiative may fail to deliver its anticipated goals. Witte warns that poor planning and governance can lead to project failure, as well as a lack of faith in attempting future cloud migrations.

7. Test early and often

A common migration mistake is failing to thoroughly test before final deployment. “It’s essential to test your applications and infrastructure thoroughly before and after migration to ensure everything is working as it should be,” IBM’s Ganoorkar says.

Many organizations make the mistake of assuming that existing test procedures will be sufficient. “However, it’s often necessary to create new tests, or modify existing ones, to account for the changes introduced by the migration,”Ganoorkar says. “Additionally, don’t forget to test your backup and disaster recovery plan.”

8. Build a solid security strategy

Security is a critical migration concern, since any breach or attack can severely damage an organization's operations, reputation, and financial well-being.

The cloud design process must include a holistic approach to security in its initial stages, aligned across all parts of the business, Johnson says. “Organizations that lag in their cloud optimization efforts are often hindered when the engineering and security groups fail to work as a unified team and are exhibiting siloed behaviors,” she notes. Addressing security, governance, and operations issues at the start of cloud migration planning will help prevent theft and vandalization before they can happen.

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About the Author(s)

John Edwards

Technology Journalist & Author

John Edwards is a veteran business technology journalist. His work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and numerous business and technology publications, including Computerworld, CFO Magazine, IBM Data Management Magazine, RFID Journal, and Electronic Design. He has also written columns for The Economist's Business Intelligence Unit and PricewaterhouseCoopers' Communications Direct. John has authored several books on business technology topics. His work began appearing online as early as 1983. Throughout the 1980s and 90s, he wrote daily news and feature articles for both the CompuServe and Prodigy online services. His "Behind the Screens" commentaries made him the world's first known professional blogger.

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