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6 Steps to Successfully Migrate Your Organization to Cloud

By | March 19, 2014 in Cloud

Migrating to the Cloud

Last week I posted a blog looking at the first 3 essentials steps that you need to take to ensure a successful migration to the cloud. We looked at how to:

  • Map your current environment
  • Consider candidates for migration
  • Search for cloud vendors

Today’s blog post will look at the final 3 steps required to build a workable 6-step plan to guide you through your cloud migration.

Step 4: Setup and Data Migration

Data transfer and validations are very critical to look at during this step; you may encounter issues with time zones, different features, etc. Make sure you conduct a test data transfer and set up a test environment before you attempt the actual migration.

Another important aspect to consider is your bandwidth for uploading. You may have excellent download speeds, but it is important to remember that upload speeds and download speeds are not the same thing. We've seen small 200 GB database of emails take several hours to upload, so it is very important to estimate the downtime associated with your data migration. Sometimes it can take hours, and sometimes it can even take several days. To estimate this effectively you need to check what your average upload speeds are.

Also, you need to make sure that your internet (which is a crucial part of accessing cloud services) is redundant, whether it’s two lines, hardware that takes care of it, or a back-up plan/line. You need to ensure that you don’t get stuck with your services and applications being in the cloud with you not being able to access them because of internet redundancy.

Step 5: Getting Ready, Training

This step is relevant in any project, not just for migrating to the cloud. You need to:

  • Expect resistance from the business
  • Set expectations – Ensure that the business knows what is happening, how it will affect them, what potential downtimes there might be during the actual migration, etc.
  • Identify key users and encourage them – Get them involved in the project from the start and listen to their feedback. Make sure they know that the knowledge they can share with you during the test period is extremely valuable, and could make all the difference as to whether the actual migration is successful or not. It’s also worth mentioning that some of your users may already have experience of cloud services such as or Google Apps (from a previous job); identify these people and work with them throughout the migration. Experienced users may have helpful tips that they can share with you.
  • Get all of management on board (at high- and mid-level) – You don’t want anybody in management complaining at any point during or after the migration, because other employees will follow their lead. Get them all in a room, set their expectations, explain new features, and give them training. Make sure that everybody is on the same page and ask them to be patient and to openly show their support to the project.
  • Revise your policies, working procedures – Ensure that everything is ready for the new work environment.

Step 6: Go Live

The time has finally arrived to officially conduct your migration to the cloud. I now suggest that you:

  • Switch your Service Desk to “War Room” mode – Prepare for a higher than normal volume of calls/requests. No matter how well you attempted to get the business ready for the migration, there will always be people with questions/issues as soon as you go live.
  • Staff your team with relevant experts – If you've been working with a partner, ensure that they are onsite when you go live to help with you any issues.
  • Monitor usage, interfaces, data migration – It’s easy to become distracted by focusing solely on your users when you go live, but you must remember to keep an eye on your systems too. Check that emails are coming in, check that transactions are going through, check the logs of your interfaces to ensure that they are working.
  • Make sure your previous service is not accessible (read-only) – This is super important, otherwise you risk going live and seeing that everybody in the business is happy and things are working perfectly, only then to discover that’s because half of your users are still using the old system.
  • Hold status meetings – On the first day these should be held every one-two hours, over time they can be dropped to daily, and then they will only be required weekly. Ensure that your team is all on the same page at all times.
  • Expect surprises – No matter how hard you've worked or how well you've followed these steps, there is always going to be the chance that you have missed something small. For example, during an email service migration project, when migrating your email accounts, there may be generic emails set up (e.g. that slipped through the net, that you were not aware were still in use, and so were not migrated. IT teams are only human, small mistakes can happen - the important thing is to fix them as soon as you are made aware of them.

And there you have it, the 6 key steps to a successful cloud migration. Are you considering a move to the cloud? Have these blogs helped? Or if you've already migrated to the cloud, did you follow a similar process? If yes, how did it work for you? If no, what did you differently? We’d love to hear any feedback that you may have, so please do get in touch.

Please share your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter, Google+, or Facebook where we are always listening.

Oded Moshe

About Oded Moshe

Oded is VP Products at SysAid, with over 15 years of experience in various product and IT management positions. Proud father of two young (iPhone/iPad-addicted) girls and one baby boy (that they're trying to keep the gadgets out of his reach). Fond of new technologies, and enjoys good conspiracy books and movies.

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