A Vision For Providing Experience-Based IT Transformation

Cloud Planning Lessons Learned Part 1

Lesson 1: Measure 3 Times, Cut Once

The cloud journey is an important one.

Whether you are already in the cloud and need optimization, automation, transformation or if moving to the cloud is on your to do list, evaluating the benefits the cloud has to offer your particular situation is the first step down the path. Our three-part series highlights some of the lessons our team has learned the easy way, and unfortunately the hard way through our experience with hundreds of cloud migrations large and small.​

Measure #1

Understand, Select and Collaborate

Understand Outcomes and Key Motivations

Before you move to the cloud, understand your outcomes and key motivations for wanting or needing to migrate. Some motivations may include budget, timeline, technology, innovation, and growth.

Select the Right Integrator or Professional Services Firm

Moving to the cloud is expensive and complicated, two project characteristics that are a company’s least favorite things. Therefore, choosing the right systems integrator or professional services firm is one the most important decisions you will make. There are 3 types of firms; those that operate as factories and will try to move your systems in large numbers without consideration for the impact to your company, those that have only one cloud solution and as a result can place you into the wrong cloud for your needs, and those that operate as a partner. It is critical to find a firm that is willing to partner to understand your core business, desired outcomes, and motivation with a history of success and collaboration. Choosing a partner who invests the time and energy you deserve, will pay off in the long run.

Collaborate

When you begin building plans Build them so that they foster collaboration between system integrators, application teams, infrastructure teams, management, and executive leadership. Having buy in from all areas of the company is critical and not having it can derail a migration. Holding frequent review and planning meetings with all teams to gain/share understanding, and achieve alignment is critical. An integration partner with experience working with a company of your size, industry expertise or technology environment will be able to help you navigate these items with consideration for both the technology and political landscape.

Measure #2

Choose the Right Cloud Platform(s) and weigh institutional knowledge

Choosing the right cloud platform(s) for your company is crucial before you migrate to the cloud. Each platform has advantages, and you should use the one that brings you the greatest advantage both now and in the future. Do not just choose the first platform you see, do research to determine which cloud platform(s) fits your business needs, will be the easiest for you to use, and makes sense for long-term growth.

Balance Institutional Knowledge

Institutional knowledge is essential, but it can be an impediment as well. Often, individuals don’t know what they like as much as they like what they know. Because this is generally how people think, this could lead people without an understanding of cloud to make decisions that limit your ability to leverage the cloud to its full potential and savings. Working together, cloud knowledge, a partner, and institutional knowledge will help your company go the distance when it comes to cloud migration.

Measure #3

Know the Application Requirements and Restrictions

Some applications are unique and require definitive specifications or have restrictions. For example, some database applications require faster IOPS to perform. Others have custom load balancer configurations, and some have seasonality of CPU and Memory spikes. If you don’t understand the requirements or restrictions of the applications on the cloud platform before you start, you might get stuck being unable to complete something the way you originally thought. Research or ask if there are certain requirements or restrictions before utilizing the application. Know exactly what your systems are and are not capable of doing.

Cut Once

Lay a Foundation Before Moving

One of the greatest lessons you can take away about cloud migration is to build the architecture and the foundation before you start moving your applications. If the foundation where you place your applications is not strong, it will cause inconsistent results, performance, and reliability. If you move before the build is complete, you can see significant errors and the structure could cause you to start again from scratch. Laying out Architecture, growth, connectivity, security, and governance early will play a key role in for near- and long-term success.
Migrating to the cloud is an exciting and rewarding process, but it takes time, understanding and collaboration. Review partners and cloud platforms understand the cloud and why migrating can benefit your company and overall choose the best solution for your team!