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What Are the First 3 Steps You Need to Take to Successfully Migrate Your Organization to Cloud?

By | March 10, 2014 in Cloud

Migrating your service desk to the Cloud

You can’t escape the fact that IT systems – both software and hardware – tend to get out of date and require high maintenance costs very fast. You can invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in a large project and just three years later you will have to re-invest the same amount over again. This makes migrating to the cloud a very important option to consider.

In most cases, migrating to the cloud opens a whole new set of services – like DRP, backups, better security, regulations and certifications and more – and ensures that you are always up to date without re-investing all that time and money.

So it makes sense that many of you would be considering making the move to cloud, but where do you start? To help you with this question, I have mapped out the 6 key steps that you need to take when migrating to the cloud and this blog post will review the first 3.

Step 1: Map Current Environment

This is toughest of the six steps, and unfortunately there are no shortcuts.

Some of the things that you need to look at are:

  • Business users – Who are they?
  • License costs / plan – Do you understand them? You must check what you already have in place and what your budgets are. Are your licenses on subscription or are they lifetime licenses?
  • R&D development / Maintenance costs –Are the costs internal? Are they outsourced? Are they as part of a service?
  • Integrations / Interfaces – Are you aware of all the places that your systems connect, integrate, and interface with other systems and other services (whether inside or outside of your organization)? This is something that you do no want to discover post-migration.
  • Service Level Agreements (SLAs) ­­–Make sure that you understand what your current SLAs are. You need to use these to estimate what SLAs you will need in the future.
  • Risks – Do you know what your current risks are? Many people associate higher risks with moving to the cloud, but unless you have annual audits you may potentially not understand how high your current risks are. Find out what risks you are already exposed to and determine how you can overcome these in your move to the cloud.

Other things that you will need to ensure that you look at in your current environments are: customizations, actual costs, compliance, documentation, spaghetti application architectures, growth plans, and DRP.

Step 2: Candidates for Migration

After you’ve mapped your current environment you need to find candidates for migration among those services that you have already mapped, e.g. your finance software, your CRM, your email services, or perhaps even your hardware.

You must then evaluate the complexity of the migration, and not just the change itself, you need to consider your users as well:

  • How will your users cope with the change?
  • Will your users be able to grasp and work with the new technology?

Other internal considerations are:

  • Hardware upgrades / software renewals
  • Timing
  • Team and knowledge
  • Future plans

Remember to make your selection for migration wisely, if your migration fails it is unlikely that you will get a second chance to migrate other services.

Step 3: Search for Cloud Vendors

Once you have decided upon what you are going to migrate and in what order, it’s time to determine which vendor you are going to work with. Some of the things that you need to consider when selecting a vendor are:

  • Track record – Has the vendor been successful with other customers?
  • Commitment – Does the vendor provide the option to switch to another provider if something goes wrong, or if something changes within your organization?
  • Data security – Check with your internal security officer that the vendor you are considering complies with standard security policies, and can comply with any security demands that your company may have .
  • Backups – It’s the vendors’ responsibility to provide contingency of the data, but you may also decide that you personally want to hold a back up (or outsource the secondary back up to another supplier). If this is the case you need to ensure that the vendor you are considering will allow it.
  • Scaling – Define your current and future needs. Ensure that when you enter negotiations with a vendor that they fully understand all of your requirements (and make sure that you know all the individual costs associated with them meeting your requirements).

You’ll also need to look at things such as: data transfer (the migration process); vendor data storage plans and locations; service level agreements (including upgrade and maintenance schedules). And always remember to check things with a lawyer when it comes to specific policies and the overall proposed agreement.

You may also want to consider working with local partners. It can be highly beneficial to work with somebody who has already been through the process.

The Next 3 Steps

Now that I’ve talked you through the first 3 steps what are your thoughts? Do you have any questions about any particular steps? Are the steps as you expected? Please post any questions in the comment sections and I will gladly answer them.

Next week I will publish the second half of this blog with the final 3 steps and tips, which are:

  • Setup and data migration
  • Getting ready, training
  • Go live

Make sure you check back next week, to ensure that you have all 6 essential steps to ensure a successful migration to the cloud.

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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