Cloud migration has helped millions of companies benefit from today’s leading business technologies. Some of the success stories include increased efficiency for less cost, improved cybersecurity defences, a dynamic IT stack and better access controls for a distributed workforce.
However, that’s not to say that cloud migration is a straightforward process. The uninitiated can run into all kinds of problems. Needless to say, cloud migration is fraught with challenges.
According to Gartner, a common mistake during the club migration process is to put technology changes ahead of business strategies. The report reveals six ways cloud migration can go wrong including inexperienced team members and pressure to implement cloud solutions as quickly as possible.
If you’re contemplating migrating to the cloud, this article gives you some insightful pointers in how to navigate cloud migration challenges. Planning ahead will help to smooth the migration process but also save time and hassle further down the line.
The Cost of Cloud Migration
As you might expect, migrating to the cloud involves some financial outlay upfront. Our first tip is to be thorough about the cost of migrating to the cloud — because unforeseen errors and hidden costs can ruin your initial budget estimations.
To stay within your budget, measure the costs from day one and estimate monthly costs moving forward. It’s advisable to throw in worst-case scenarios that can severely impair your cloud budget.
Over the long run, you should find that the cost of cloud migration is less expensive than renting and maintaining on-premise servers. You should see an upturn in efficiency and lower admin costs thanks to streamlined processes.
However, measuring costs and performance to assess your ROI can become clouded if the switch is not as successful as you would like. If the foundations are faulty, you could face an uphill financial battle to resolve issues moving forward.
Of course, you can significantly mitigate the cost risks by taking advantage of IT support services that give you access to IT support professionals that have expertise with cloud migration projects.
Costing for the cloud should include the number of assets you are moving and the loss caused by potential downtime, cloud infrastructure costs, the length of time migration will take, cloud consultancy costs and post-migration costs such as application testing, administration, training and labour.
How to Navigate Cloud Migration Costs
Working with a managed IT support team will give you a better idea of costs and pricing options. For example, the experienced experts at Micro Pro help you to implement a cloud migration plan that is designed to help you recover ROI sooner.
One of the strategies we use is to calculate the costs of your existing IT infrastructure and compare the cost with cloud solutions. This enables us to determine where you can save costs from the outset.
Understanding the possibilities and potential downfalls enables you to create a flexible management plan — which should include various potentials and contingencies in case something does go wrong.
As Gartner pointed out, it’s important to put business operations first. Don’t lose sight of how migrating to the cloud can potentially impact the performance of your overall network. The knock-on effect is downtime and lost productivity.
Another option is to migrate your business assets to the cloud gradually. “Batch adoption” has the benefit of managing your finances more easily if you have a limited budget. There are also fewer things that can go wrong.
If you’re concerned about vendor lock-in costs, a multi-cloud approach is a good option. A multi-cloud approach can be marginally less expensive but gives you the advantage of minimising your dependency on a single vendor that pushes you into higher subscription fees for privileged software access.
Spreading your IT stack across different vendors can result in cost-friendly solutions, but also protects your business from potential disruptions. You may also prefer private storage for some data and public storage for less sensitive data.
However, it is worth noting that whilst some IT operations may work better in a hybrid cloud environment, some operations are less compatible with cloud software. The broader the software spread you have, the higher the risk of conflicts.
If you have applications that have been custom-built for you to perform specific operations, there is less incentive to adopt cloud software that probably has limitations. A hybrid cloud solution is the best option here.
It’s human nature to resist change. We are programmed to perform habits and naturally feel resistant to change — because it means us stepping outside our comfort zone to learn something new.
Employee resistance is one of the leading cloud migration challenges that most companies face. This is a challenge that is even harder to come if you encounter a raft of problems after the cloud migration process. Ideally, you want to avoid “I told you so” moments.
You can navigate the resistance to cloud adoption in several ways. McKinsey suggests appointing a Cloud Team that can rebuild elements that are not compatible with cloud architecture so that end-users are familiar with the user interface.
There are easier and less costly solutions, however. The obvious strategy is to highlight all the personal benefits working in the cloud offers; flexibility, autonomy, and access to advanced tools. However, the influence has to come from the boardroom — so a strong buy-in speech from executives is needed ahead of time to pave the way.
But here’s the challenge for executives. Not many senior board members understand how IT works. For them to try and explain how the cloud will benefit your company and convey that to your employees can be problematic.
What is important for executives to understand is how cloud technologies play a role in achieving business objectives. We recommend developing a vision of where your business can go and how the cloud can help you to get there.
Research shows that people are more prepared to adopt new ways of working when they grasp a shared vision which enables them to see how the business can overcome challenges, instil stability and orient the company towards future progression. Employees that understand the reason behind a change are more likely to support it.
Choose User-Centric Tech Solutions
The cloud is awash with software that overpromises and underdelivers. To build on the shared vision and dampen staff complaining, you will need to opt for cloud tools that are easy to use — and preferably that your team is already accustomed to.
Employees will want to use tools they can seamlessly work with. You don’t want to use software that has a steep learning curve. Fortunately, in most instances, you should be able to simply swap your existing tech stack for the online version. So prioritise tools that are intuitive and familiar.
If you’ve already been using a Microsoft Office Suite, for example, the logical choice is to subscribe to a Microsoft 365 package. Integrating well-known tools makes adopting club workflows easier and thus should help your teams to boost productivity and efficiency — which migrating to the cloud promises.
Selecting cloud tools shouldn’t present a problem. Challenges can arise, however, if the technologies you choose are not compatible. Sometimes software needs configuring to prevent persistent system failures because software from two different vendors causes a glitch in the network.
We also recommend executing an onboarding program to help your staff acclimatise to the cloud environment and find their way around the new tools.
As you can imagine, the layout of cloud software is likely to be slightly different to off-the-shelf tools to differentiate one from the other. This will definitely be the case if you are using an older version of software you have adopted in the cloud.
We also recommend appointing “cloud champions” that are on hand to support less technical employees — and to soothe over negativity and despondency among staff that may find it more difficult to adapt to the new environment.
Having said that, if you are using the same tools as your existing tech stack, it is unlikely that the cloud environment will be a significant removal from your existing environment.
Configuring cloud technologies will be one of the biggest challenges for in-house IT teams. This is particularly the case if your IT team doesn’t have any experience with the cloud.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that misconfigured cloud settings are responsible for a high rate of data breaches. According to Gartner, 67% of data breaches are due to a cloud security misconfiguration.
Misconfiguration is particularly a problem in multi-cloud and hybrid environments. The procedure is quite complex and presents a high error risk among IT professionals that do not have prior experience with cloud migration or using cloud-based software.
What’s more, there is a significant skill shortage in the UK’s IT industry which means a large percentage of firms will not have access to trained IT staff in-house. One of the reasons cloud migration fails is because of complex challenges that are not easy to resolve if you don’t have the skill set needed for cloud platforms.
A report published by McKinsey also indicates that 80 per cent of enterprises say around 30% of their investment in the cloud was wasted because they didn’t how to take full advantage of cloud computing capabilities.
Overcoming Cloud Migration Challenges
Before you embark on a cloud migration project, get clued up about the best practices. Creating a trusted cloud migration strategy will mean you face fewer problems on the other side.
The first place to start is to define your business objectives and determine how the cloud will help you to achieve your targets. Your vision should then be sugar-coated and communicated company-wide to get your people on board.
In the initial communication phase, it is advisable to discuss potential problems and address any concerns your team has. Carefully plot the course of your migration and devise a contingency plan you can fall back on if everything doesn’t go according to plan.
The next step is to analyse your current IT infrastructure and evaluate where potential issues can arise. Also, consider the opportunities you need to prepare for in advance. It is the latter approach where knowledge of cloud apps is needed.
You should also decide whether you will benefit from a full cloud migration or whether a hybrid solution will be a better option. This will largely be determined by your company objective, the sensitivity of your data and the apps you use.
For example, if you rely on software that has either been designed or configured to meet your business needs, will the software function effectively in a cloud environment? Most companies opt for a hybrid solution because it gives you the best of both worlds.
Addressing the skills shortage is easily resolved by taking advantage of cloud computing specialists that offer managed IT support services. Our team of highly skilled cloud specialists in London are on hand to offer consultancy and hands-on assistance should you need outside help.
And finally, once the cloud migration is complete, provide your staff with training to help them acclimatise to the new environment and feel comfortable using the apps.
Benefits of Outsourcing Cloud Migration to IT Support Specialists
Cloud migration is a complex initiative that brings unique challenges. Without the relevant knowledge of cloud computing systems, such challenges can be disruptive and costly for businesses.
Working with a business IT support partner can alleviate the burden from your in-house IT team, avoid many of the challenges you face and help to troubleshoot errors that may occur in the post-migration phase. We also ensure that your cloud security is configured correctly to significantly reduce the risk of suffering a data breach.
Understanding the challenges and the potential risks of cloud migration from the outset enables you to plan and navigate the complexities you will face. Subsequently, you will reap the rewards of the cloud immediately.
For more information about how our IT support specialists can help you to plan, execute and manage your cloud migration project, contact us today and speak with one of our knowledgeable advisors.