7 Curious Considerations for Planning a Cloud Migration
Cloud, DevOps, Big Data, mobility and social media are a mix of unprecedented technologies that have hit the Enterprise in recent years, creating exciting new possibilities for IT and business transformation.
While many organisations recognise the opportunity, their challenge is figuring out how to get started. So as more business users adopt these new models to drive innovation and growth, how do CIOs get ahead of the curve?
A required focus on operational efficiency and ‘keeping the lights on’ has often prevented them from being a true partner to the business. To that end, the line of business leaders has taken the lead on driving technology-enabled innovation. Now, with a plethora of new managed infrastructure service offerings, IT leaders can get back in the game.
Curiosity killed the cat, but keeps cloud alive and kicking
Managed service providers (MSP) offer attractive opportunities for CIOs to offload activities to focused vendors with economies of scale, experience and expertise. But there’s another special skill that can take your business to the next level - Curiosity. It’s the special sauce that rather than follow an out of the box approach to solving your IT infrastructure challenges, really gets under the skin of your business, taking a holistic end-to-end approach. Curiosity is about redefining new ways of working and challenging the status quo to allow you to focus on innovation and give your business an adaptable differentiation.
Curiosity has to be at the heart-solving IT infrastructure challenges; and it’s not just pie in the sky thinking, curiosity makes a real difference to the bottom line. Organisations that report greater revenue growth, consumer loyalty and consumer experience, are also highly curious and identify disruptive trends and changes - better and earlier. Not only that, but curious businesses are also more likely to have agile business models that enable them to experiment with new technologies and prepare for multiple alternative futures, and pivot from operations to innovative infrastructure models.
At a time of widespread technological disruption and economic, political and social volatility, businesses need to adopt a curious mindset and work with partners who are curious about identifying the crucial requirements in their business to support workload migration to managed infrastructure models. As a managed services provider that is highly curious about our customer’s business, these are seven things we are fanatically curious about, that will give your business its own adaptable differentiation:
- A clear business objective: Priority number one - your motivations. You need to be 100 per cent clear on what is important to your business in the short, medium and long term. This determines your starting point and how big (or small) your first step needs to be. Don’t lose sight of the main goal of your migration as this will help you decide what is really necessary, and what is nice to have. Do you want to improve application availability, reduce cost, upgrade operating system(s), deliver better customer experience or mitigate risk? It might be all of them. In that case, prioritise them across each stage.
- Be curious - Don’t confine your thinking to a certain route or logic, just because that’s how it’s always been done before. This could be an opportunity to fundamentally change your IT infrastructure for the better and offer a competitive advantage. By being clear about why you want to transform, you can start to explore all the different ways the journey to cloud might look but first make sure you are engaging with a vendor that will go that extra mile to listen, explore and collaborate with you. Expect ideas that may change the course of that path for the better. For example, an initial brief might be to simply migrate to cloud, but through discovery, it might be discovered that the best outcome is to move to Service Blocks on Microsoft Azure.
- Talent and expertise - Consider what talent you have internally, as expertise in infrastructure management, DevOps and migration are critical to the success of IT transformation. If there are gaps in that talent, consider what a migration partner can offer you. From single server migrations to complex migrations across the industry’s leading cloud platforms, your partner needs to have the in-house expertise and experience to help make your migration a success.
- Partner management – If you had to seek expertise outside your organisation, what would that look like? Would you have internal resources to oversee the project end-to-end? You need experts that will listen to your goals and pain points, getting to know your current architecture inside out. Then taking those goals, provide you with guidance on which clouds to use and create a roadmap to get you there. Does your vendor offer you project management capabilities that can give you an end-to-end solution, acting as an extension of your team?
- Complexity - While new models create opportunities for innovative corporate IT, they also create new operational complexity. At Rackspace, we’re confident that whatever you want to do in the cloud, chances are, we’ve already done it.
- DevOps – If you are making the move, you want to make sure you are doing it in an agile way that can respond quickly to the inevitable challenges and changes that occur in projects. If you find that the set-up between operations and development is not keeping up with what the business demands, then you might need to consider a partner that can help you to unite your development and operations teams to automate and standardise processes for best practice infrastructure deployment. This will result in faster innovation, accelerated time to market, improved deployment quality, better operational efficiency, and more time to focus on your core business goals.
- Think long term… and then even longer-term - While you may have a clear business objective, project teams can often get caught up in the short-term deliverables. The last thing you want is to outgrow your environment a year after migration. Consider the long-term total cost of ownership when making purchasing decisions. Build into your infrastructure for both scale and flexibility capabilities so you can handle unexpected demands. Ensure that your managed service provider can give you a roadmap that allows you to deliver quick wins to key stakeholders to ensure continuous momentum and a well-thought-out strategy that will grow with you over time.
Careful consideration needs to be given to the choice of a managed service provider, one who will provide not only expertise, experience and capabilities across a Microsoft Azure, but one who can enable that ‘adaptable differentiation’ and help you to shift as much focus as possible to the important work of innovation. Don’t settle for the de facto solution, insist on a partner that is going to challenge convention and thinking to get you to where you need to be - that is providing and going beyond the expectation of your business stakeholders.