Many organizations are rushing to move their estates to the cloud, expecting major cost savings and other benefits. However, this is a move that requires careful preparation, especially in terms of deep-dive analysis of your existing IT estate and the way you use the assets. If you don’t invest enough time in preparation and planning, you will struggle to realize the full benefits.
With solid preparation, you can enjoy a smooth move to the cloud and, equally importantly, continue to deliver full value months and years after the initial move.
Six Questions to Guide Your Cloud Journey
What have I got? As with any major change, the first step in cloud migration is to build a thorough understanding of your starting point. This means gathering accurate and comprehensive information about your current IT assets and how they are used. The platform should enable you to easily discover assets wherever they are – including not just conventional on-premise assets but also SaaS, cloud, mobile. Then provides you with granular, deep-dive usage metrics and profiles, right down to the level of individual keystrokes and clicks.
What should I move? Once you have answered the previous “What have I got?” question, you should have an accurate picture of the as-is estate, and of how it is used and performs. Don’t assume however that you need to reproduce this picture when you migrate to cloud. Instead, look for opportunities to rationalize and modernize the estate, taking advantage of what cloud has to offer. Retire applications if they are no longer used or if a better and/or cheaper alternative is already in use elsewhere in the organization.
Who can give me what I need? You now have an accurate picture of the as-is estate and have amended it to exploit any opportunities for rationalization and pinpoint any applications that need to remain on-premise. With a clear statement of your requirements, you’re now in a position to start approaching and evaluating cloud vendors to see which one can best satisfy your needs.
How do I move? Having defined what you will move to the cloud and which platform and configuration you will use, you are in a position to start planning your move:
Get the sequence right
Get the right versions of everything
Don’t overlook anything
Check everything’s working in a Pilot Migration format
Go-Live and monitor adoption (use)
How can I keep delivering value? Working through the previous questions carefully should ensure a smooth migration. Once you’re successfully running in the cloud, it’s important to keep verifying that value is being delivered, which is mainly a question of repeating stages 1 and 2 in our sequence to check that you have what you need but no more.
How can I manage cloud sprawl and cloud shock? Cloud migration is not a one-time project; there remain significant challenges after the move has been made. A major concern is “cloud sprawl,” where business units buy and implement apps or services without the involvement of the IT function, or even its knowledge. This of course is none other than the traditional shadow IT challenge, but it can potentially escalate much faster than a traditional environment because of the on-demand nature of cloud (which of course is a major reason for businesses to use it).