After seeing the benefits of cloud migration, the number of companies moving or wanting to move business operations to the cloud has skyrocketed.
Cloud migration is partially or entirely moving an organization’s digital assets, services, IT resources or applications to the cloud for access through storage, software and platform services online. Almost all companies have at least one foot in the cloud, including their email platforms, CRM, inbound marketing software, payment processing software or payroll.
But as the need for remote-work capabilities and real-time access to data continues to ramp up, more companies are moving ERP, data and critical business applications to the cloud.
If you’re thinking of doing the same, avoid four mistakes that can push you off course:
1. You have no cloud migration strategy
Nothing you do should be because “everyone else is doing it.” Like other business initiatives, you need a strategy to meet defined objectives at your organization and an implementation plan.
Before you start, examine your company’s goals: what you want to achieve, your biggest concerns and opportunities with the migration, the gaps you’re trying to fill, and the impact it will have on your business and people.
Cloud migration is not a technology upgrade – it’s a business transformation. You should select and implement technology that helps your team do their jobs better and helps your organization reach its business goals.
2. You didn’t consider change management
Without buy-in from your team, any technology initiative will fail. It can be challenging to ensure everyone uses the system as designed and accomplish daily tasks without significant disruption.
When embarking on a cloud migration, dedicate as much time to managing change as you do to the technical aspects of the initiative. You’ll experience low adoption, unrealized benefits and poor employee engagement and morale if you don’t.
3. You can’t measure the success of your cloud migration
How can you make sure you completed the move with minimal disruption, drove user adoption and stayed on schedule and budget – all while meeting your business goals? To ensure nothing falls through the cracks, continually measure and track these key performance indicators during and after the migration:
- Impact on your business – Identify and document any challenges you want to overcome, as well as any benefits that came from making the move.
- Project timeline – Did the migration project stay on schedule (or not)? Why? Establish and track timelines based on your business’ situation.
- User experience and adoption – Understand how people use existing solutions and applications before everything changes so that you can measure the impact.
- Performance – Track metrics at the user, server and application levels. And don’t overlook the importance of the quality assurance (QA) process
- Security – Look at access control, vulnerabilities and security incidents. Just because a cyberattack hasn’t occurred doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen.
4. You didn’t test before going live
Don’t assume everything will go well after you go live. Your cloud partner should have a testing and QA plan in place to ensure everything works as you intended. Your role is to ensure your team participates with enthusiasm in that plan. That’s the only way to ensure the migration meets expectations.
Some of the least successful migrations did not take the testing stage of the migration seriously and found significant issues after launch that could have been caught ahead of time. Something as simple as printing a check needs to be tested; it may go to a different printer with a driver never connected to the cloud ERP. That means on check-run day, you may not have checks to print.
These mistakes are easy to make when you’re in a rush to gain the capabilities and functionality the cloud provides. They appear tangential to the whole process because they have less to do with technology implementation and more with people and processes. Yet, as implementation experts regularly caution, you won’t be successful if you leave these elements unaddressed. When you avoid these mistakes, you transform them from steps you should’ve taken into foundational pillars of your cloud migration success.
Stefan Lowrie is senior director, service delivery at Enavate. He has worked in the IT industry for nearly 30 years, leading teams that deliver high-availability IT solutions and services. Reach him at enavate.com.