Cloud technology is fashionable but also necessary today. There are businesses all around the world that will be discussing their 'Cloud Strategy', whether they need to move forward or are simply trying to get it off the ground.
Netflix, a huge success in the online streaming world, has only just finished migrating to the cloud after starting the process in 2008. To today's digital natives this 7 and a half year process might seem extremely slow but the business owners and decision makers out there might have a clearer understanding of why it has taken so long.
Put it this way, whilst the likes of you and me have been losing ourselves to new Netflix series such as Making a Murderer or House of cards, the likes of their IT, finance and senior management team have been knuckling down trying to figure out their best route to cloud.
Your business might be about to start this process, so here is some friendly advice...
Where do you start?
Make sure you have a robust plan of action. This requires teamwork as cloud migration is not black and white. Some businesses prefer to start with low-level workloads to test the solution before moving anything essential over, others will see the cloud as fundamental to being seen as a modern company and will choose to move as much functionality over as early as possible. I guarantee these people will have their fingers crossed!
Remember that moving to the cloud is needs based, don't do it simply because you 'think' you should. The cloud should add fundamental benefits to your business, it should help you reach your objectives and for this to happen the solution you choose needs to be directly based around your fundamental business needs.
Have a clear idea of where your business is now, and by moving to the cloud, where you would like it to be.
Every business has a group of key decision makers that will play a part in which direction your cloud migration goes in. Everyone will have their own opinion and it often falls into the lap of the IT director or senior to iron out the creases during these discussions.
- Some will think the cloud will solve all technical issues within the business
- Some believe that unless you adopt it immediately, you will be destroyed by your competition
- Those in security might feel nervous and will have plenty of questions
- Some may have gone into their own thought process and will start to present their own ideas
- And of course, there will be people who are completely on board and ready to go
As the IT lead, how do you juggle all of these views and recommend what is best for the business? The trick is to present the options from a cost, risk and value add perspective, and then help the team work together on the plan for moving forward.
Pick your supplier
Once your internal team is happy with how you move forward it is time to find your project partner. Here are a few tips that you could use whilst looking:
- This goes without saying but do your research
- Speak with other businesses that you know have completed the process - recommendations are gold dust!
- Look out for good service level agreements
- Don't just focus on supplier solutions, look at the people within their business as well
- Research the cultural fit, what are their team dynamics like?
All of the above are essential. Remember, you need to be able to work effectively with the supplier that you choose throughout all stages of the project.
Measure your expectations
Providing you have chosen the right supplier for your business you will be guided through your migration with professional and strategic advice.
But, after your migration is complete you need to measure your initial expectations. Here are just a few questions that you could look at answering as a starting point...
- Does the business now sell more products and services within the same time frame?
- Has the cloud helped lower the number of errors that happen in key business processes?
- Is the help desk getting fewer calls around poor performance and productivity constraints caused by IT systems?
Cost savings are one of the many attractions to the cloud but don't expect too much in the first year as the migration process can be substantial. Make sure you do a cost analysis over time to get a clear picture of the true benefits that you business has experienced.
The thing to remember with all of the above is that the cloud comes with reductions to your business costs, better use of resources and a more productive workforce. The trick is to remember that the cloud is the right direction to move in but go at your own pace, enjoy the process and see it as an opportunity to innovate your business.
If your business is looking into a cloud strategy and needs a partner to help, talk to our ACS cloud consultants here or call us on 0844 481 5786.
We are also hosting a series of events called the Cloud Academy in order to help businesses with this process. More information here.