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Overcoming Top Cloud Migration Barriers: Strategies for Success

A successful cloud migration requires planning, expertise, communication, and time management. Addressing challenges proactively leads to a smooth transition.

Nathan Manning

May 22, 2023

4 Min Read
ladders leading up to cloud
Jacky via Adobe Stock

An effective cloud migration strategy is imperative for businesses aiming to grow. The cloud provides greater flexibility, scalability, and cost-effectiveness -- which are crucial parts to digital transformation. Whether you are shifting to the cloud or re-evaluating your existing provider, a well-planned cloud migration strategy is a must-have.

According to Gartner, over 85% of organizations will adopt a cloud-first approach by 2025. If you’re contemplating a new cloud environment, there are a number of options available. However, before you can move your business, it’s critical to comprehend the benefits and barriers involved.

So, why is cloud migration such a problem? The short answer is that they’re complex! There’s no simple way to get from point A to B. Here’s a breakdown of the top barriers enterprises encounter when implementing cloud migration.

Expertise

Expertise around migrating to the cloud is one thing but having the internal skills to maintain a complex cloud estate is a crucial, sometimes overlooked, detail. The nuances that come with cloud platforms can create challenges for enterprises if employees aren’t equipped with the necessary maintenance skills. Being able to successfully operate and improve your estate once in the cloud requires deep and specific expertise.

The first step to ensuring your team is successful in the cloud is making sure everybody is on the same page internally -- which means explaining why the company is migrating, how, and what the deadlines are. This also may mean reminding internal leadership that even if they know what they are doing in the cloud, most of the organization doesn’t. These simple steps should be taken ahead of the migration to ensure all parties understand the changes they’re about to undergo.

Once this is communicated, additional measures can be taken. Learning programs and workshops can help bridge the expertise gap. Investing in cloud-specific training programs, certifications, and workshops is critical to empower employees with the necessary skills to effectively operate and improve the cloud estate. Collaborating with external experts, managed service providers or cloud consulting partners who have experience in cloud migration can also provide valuable insights and guidance throughout the process.

Communications

Successful migrations require all parts of an organization to be open and communicative -- from the big picture of “what” and “why” to the minute technical details. Communication must continue throughout the entire process -- poor internal communications can result in a number of different problems that can not only negatively impact the migration, but the business itself.

A successful cloud migration is staged and sequential to ensure the business can still function throughout the process. This is particularly important when migrating platforms that are critical for the day-to-day operation of your business. Informing all members of the organization of when systems with numerous upstream or downstream dependencies are going to be undergoing transformation and migration efforts can prevent frustration at a minimum -- and can prevent disaster in some cases. Making sure everyone in the business is on the same page helps ensure a smooth transition of crucial systems while minimizing the risk of business disruptions.

Time

With most cloud migrations, there are often pressing business deadlines imposed. These migration deadlines may be triggered by a specific event or necessitated by a decision to move away from on-premises data centers. Alternatively, they may be driven by unrelated business outcomes that must be achieved by a certain date.

Alongside this, employees have to uphold their day jobs on top of the migration -- from the day-to-day operations of the business to maintaining the infrastructure. With these factors at play, technical employees may not have the time or resources to dedicate to a full-scale migration. The time component is often underestimated, which can be a huge mistake. This is particularly prevalent when an enterprise is operating from a high stress environment where it's expected to deliver in a dramatically reduced timeline -- think disaster recovery.

Enterprises must think about the time it takes to work through a migration, along with the technical work that goes into it. If an enterprise is operating on a tight deadline, they must prepare by identifying critical systems. Leadership also must understand dependencies within their applications in order to create a comprehensive strategy and architecture.

The Key To Avoiding Migration Issues

A successful cloud migration requires thorough discovery, planning, and execution. Organizations must assess their current level of expertise, communicate effectively, manage time wisely, and have a comprehensive strategy in place. By addressing potential challenges proactively and following a well-structured plan, organizations can avoid migration issues and achieve a successful cloud migration that supports their business growth and digital transformation goals.

About the Author(s)

Nathan Manning

Practice Lead, Migrations and Modernization, Mission Cloud

Nathan Manning is a Mission Cloud Practice Lead for Migrations and Modernization. He leads a team of talented professionals dedicated to helping Mission Cloud customers migrate, modernize, and optimize on Amazon Web Services (AWS).

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