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How to migrate your business to the cloud – part 2

It would be an understatement to say that cloud computing has revolutionized IT. In terms of costs, scalability, and performance – cloud solutions have been the impetus for bringing traditional infrastructures into the digital age. We get the fact that migration to the cloud is a must-have. The bigger question is how to embark on that journey. In the last part of this discussion we outlined some of the best practices business owners and leaders need to kickoff their cloud migration strategy. We discussed the importance of knowing the business impacts, mapping out your on-premise environment, and choosing early candidates for migration – preferably not mission-critical applications. Below we continue the discussion with where we left off . . .




4. Identify cloud vendors & make sure they meet your requirements

Once you’ve mapped out your migration strategy and identified what applications you’re going to migrate and in what order, it’s time to choose a cloud vendor. This will be a critical part of your migration journey. At this point you’re going to want to take a careful look at the provider’s track record and their data security and compliance with standard security policies. They will also need to understand your needs for scalability and the current and future plans for expansion and associated costs. It’s incumbent as well that the cloud vendor understands your specific requirements for data backup and recovery. At this point you’ll want to be crystal clear about what they’re responsible for in terms of uptime, redundancy, recoverability, etc. These points are typically covered in the form of a service level agreement (SLA). Ideally, the cloud vendor candidate will go to your site and do a full analysis of your current premise-based environment so they understand how their cloud solution will integrate with your services. At this stage, you’ll also want to understand how the cloud infrastructure is maintained and operated and what components the vendor is responsible for providing.

5. Setup the cloud infrastructure & migrate data

When you’ve chosen your cloud vendor and they’ve analyzed your environment, you need to reach an agreement on how long the migration will take. While the less important applications are moved to the cloud first, you still want to make the process as non-intrusive as possible. Think of impacts like projected down-time, time zones differences, and other possible features that may affect the end-user. When estimating the down-time of your environment you’ll need to take into consideration the upload rate for your data. For instance, if you have a 200GB email database, this might take several hours to upload to the cloud. It’s important to also conduct a test data transfer and set up a test environment before you attempt the actual migration. In addition, you’ll want to make sure your internet has the proper amount of redundancy built in. After all, you don’t want to get in a situation where applications and services are moved to the cloud and you aren’t able to access them due to poor internet connectivity.




 6. Employee readiness training

Change is never easy and so you need to set in place a proper framework for giving your employees the tools and resources they need to navigate the new cloud environment. Up to this point, you’ll want to have kept them apprised of what’s happening, how cloud migration will affect them, what potential downtimes there might be during the actual migration, etc. Now that the first adopters have been identified, keep them involved throughout the migration project and let them know that you value their feedback. Provide the impacted employees with the training and tools they need with the new cloud services. The point here is to make their lives and jobs easier and more efficient. It’s also likely that a number of these employees have already had experience in a previous job with cloud services such as salesforce.com or Google Apps. So this would be a good time to identify and leverage these employees to help you smooth the way during the cloud migration journey. Experienced users also may have helpful tips that they can share with you and others in your organization.

7. End user adoption

Once you’ve migrated all your business applications to the cloud, then it’s time to start focusing on the end-user and getting them onboard with your business-in-the-cloud. The point here is to remember that your business now has a greater amount of flexibility and features than it had with on-premise services. Leverage the benefits of cloud technology and pass them along to your end-users. One advocate suggests some creative strategies to get people fired up about your new business-in-the-cloud: “Challenge your company to leverage your new investment in new ways, develop contests, test your teams, identify power users of the new cloud platform to lead the charge and motivate their departments to use the cloud platform to its full potential.”




We’ve seen some momentous changes over the past 5 years as the cloud has spawned a revolution within IT that has spread to every part of the business. Today, organizations are lining up to migrate their applications and services to the cloud as fast as possible to save operating costs and improve efficiencies. Based on the continuing growth of ubiquitous computing, everything-as-a-service (XaaS) and Internet of Things, we can be sure that the cloud will continue to spawn new layers and models of doing business.

Cloud is today a major competitive advantage and is the channel for improved ROI and decreased costs. If you haven’t done so already, it’s time to get your business “in the clouds” as fast as possible and set some benchmarks for cloud services adoption before the end of 2015. Your employees will be glad you did, and your customers too. The future of your organization relies on it. So move to the cloud today and win!

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About Jeffrey Walker

Jeff is a business development consultant who specializes in helping businesses grow through technology innovations and solutions. He holds multiple master’s degrees from institutions such as Andrews University and Columbia University, and leverages this background towards empowering people in today’s digital world. He currently works as a research specialist for a Fortune 100 firm in Boston. When not writing on the latest technology trends, Jeff runs a robotics startup called virtupresence.com, along with oversight and leadership of startuplabs.co - an emerging market assistance company that helps businesses grow through innovation.