How to Migrate Your Business to the Cloud
Migrating to the cloud is one of the most powerful things your business can use do to increase your flexibility, resilience, and efficiency. It will provide your business with 24/7 access to key data and core work processes when you need it, no matter where you are and often times when it matters most.
The challenging part of migrating your business to the cloud is making the transition from the way you’re doing things right now to a new way of doing things.
Changes are hard, especially when you’re already good at what you do. Your team is productive because of the habits they’ve created for their day-to-day work.
Migrating your business to the cloud means a lot of planning and attention to detail.
How can you take advantage of all of the many benefits the cloud offers, with minimal disruption to your business while you transition?
We go through the 7 key steps you need to take to migrate your business to the cloud.
1. Understand the Business Needs That Drive a Migration to the Cloud
Before we talk about what you need to do, a good place to start is understanding why you need to make the move in the first place. That means looking at what parts of your business stand to gain the most from moving to the cloud.
This is, of course, entirely dependent on what industry you’re in. A good place to start is to follow the data. What information do you have, how do you access it, and where is it stored? While many businesses take advantage of off-site backups to store and protect their data, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re taking full advantage of everything the cloud has to offer.
The usual suspects for migrating to the cloud include marketing (email lists, segmentation, targeted offers), HR (payroll, benefits), finance (invoicing, finance, and customer service interactions), but there are many more. The best thing to do is take a thorough look at your business processes and data on hand to find the solution that’s best for you.
2. Start with a SWOT Analysis
One of the best, most organized ways of taking stock of where you are is to perform a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) analysis. This gives you a solid basis for understanding where you need to improve, and what migrating to the cloud can do for you.
For strength, you need to look at what your current tech deployment is already doing well. What is working great for you, and why is it working? For weaknesses, it’s the opposite. What could you be doing better?
For opportunities, figure where you could convert your weaknesses into strengths. What could the cloud change for you? Are there places where moving to the cloud could help you turn a weakness into a strength?
Finally, for threats, look for vulnerabilities that could potentially have a catastrophic impact on your business. What would happen in the event of a data breach? A natural disaster that destroys your physical location? A power outage? Plan for the worst-case scenario, and you’ll be able to weather the storm.
3. Identify Which Applications to Migrate
The main point of SWOT analysis is to narrow your focus and identify which applications to migrate. Hopefully, by now you should have a good idea of why you’re moving to the cloud, so it’s really just a question of priorities.
Where do you stand the most to gain, and how can you reap the benefits? Prioritize use cases, and figure out what will work best for your business.
4. Look at the Numbers
Once you have your priorities straight, it’s a good idea to look at the numbers of what it will cost to migrate your business to the cloud. By now you know what you want to do and how you stand to benefit from it, so the obvious course of action is to determine how much it will cost.
All of this comes down to understanding your needs more specifically. How much space do you need to get things done? What kind of data does your business generate? What kinds of service level agreements (SLAs) are you going to need to achieve your goals? Get some tangible answers to these questions, and you’ll be able to start shopping around for solutions that are a fit for your budget.
5. Choose the Right Cloud Partner
Choosing the right cloud partner comes down to a combination of your needs and your budget. You want to find someone who has experience working in a similar area or industry and understands the needs and nuances of your business. RapidScale, for example, is one such company that has experience providing managed cloud solutions in numerous verticals and assists clients with a comprehensive cloud roadmap that makes migration simple.
6. Plan Your Migration
When it comes to transitioning key business processes to the cloud, your number one priority should be to minimize disruption time for your team. Take a close look at your schedule and figure out how to best time your transition. Determine the order of migration, and set some deadlines and metrics to define success.
Finally, and this is easy to underrate, look at what changes your migration to the cloud will make to end-user processes. Is there any training that will need to happen in order to help your team hit the ground running.
7. Actively Monitor How It’s Going
As you make your transition to the cloud, make sure you’re actively monitoring how it’s going. Be ready to fix issues as they come up. Back up everything so that you’re ready if something goes wrong.
Be ready to step in if something doesn’t go as planned. Remember that even though there may be some short-term drawbacks, migrating to the cloud will benefit your business in the long run.
What You Can Do Right Now to Prepare to Migrate to The Cloud
Deciding to migrate your business to the cloud is a big step, particularly if you’re trying to execute on a budget. Here’s what you can do right now to make to the move.
- Take a close look at what works and doesn’t work about your business technology, and understand why you need to make the move.
- Be specific about which applications need to be moved, and understand the numbers behind them.
- Carefully plan your migration, and account for any training that needs to happen to take care of your team.
- Actively monitor the process, and be ready to step in as needed.
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