The worldwide public cloud services market is forecast to grow more than 6% this year to a total of $257.9 billion, with software-as-a-service (SaaS) remaining the largest segment at $104.7 billion, according to Gartner. Furthermore, more than $1.3 trillion in IT spending will be directly or indirectly affected by the shift to the cloud by 2022. In this environment, what must an organization keep in mind to ensure a successful cloud migration?
Fundamentally, it begins by first knowing what you intend to accomplish with the cloud. Yes, there are many technical solutions at your disposal that have far-reaching consequences on how your business can embrace high-performance computing capabilities such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotic process automation, and the like. But when choosing, the most critical and often complex consideration is understanding exactly what your organization is trying to achieve from its migration to the cloud.
Why Make the Move?
There are several reasons that might lead your enterprise to consider making the transition. Given the current challenging economic environment brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the main ones is to reduce IT infrastructure costs. And, while this has been touted since the advent of the cloud, it has become more relevant now than ever before. The cloud empowers an organization to effectively manage its computing resources according to its unique business requirements. The scalability offered through a cloud environment means your business can adjust in real-time to rapidly changing market demands, thereby easing your financial bottom-line burden.
A critical first step is to assess your current infrastructure and readiness. Understanding your current infrastructure environment and how introducing the cloud will have an impact, goes a long way to ensure you select the optimal solutions for your needs. It is also critically important to understand how adopting the cloud model will require the reconfiguring of many of your existing business processes and systems. For instance, your existing data dependencies will have to change to reflect the cloud's dynamic nature. It is not a case of simply copying and pasting to an online environment but instead will profoundly change the way your organization runs. The very nature of a cloud migration will bring disruption to the enterprise. Is your business ready for the far-reaching consequences of making a move?
Too often, organizations are pressured to embrace the latest technology trends. This results in them blindly rushing in to implement them without considering the business case or fully understanding the consequences of doing so. It is, therefore, essential to establish a cloud migration plan early on. A solid cloud migration plan will outline the migration process and data migration priorities, and how long the process will take.
Understanding Your Migration Plan
A cloud migration plan will bring attention to the scale of the move while illustrating the roles and responsibilities of your organization and the cloud services provider. A plan (or roadmap) empowers you to bring direction, discipline, and accountability into a complex process. For instance, asking questions such as what the applications are that must be migrated, how does the shared responsibility model apply to your cybersecurity initiatives, and what role must in-house data specialists play to minimize operational disruption?
The key elements of an effective cloud migration plan include identifying the workloads that need to move and the business reasons for doing so. Specific applications, especially bespoke-developed legacy ones, will likely remain on-premise until such time as they can be modernized. Another critical aspect is the migration sequence. Getting this right is especially vital for maintaining existing data dependencies and ensuring the required testing occurs before any mission-critical systems go live in the cloud.