As the use of the traditional on-premise software is becoming more difficult and costly, migration to the cloud is seemingly inevitable for most organizations. Transferring your business applications to the cloud means you can cut down on the costs of infrastructure, storage space, and regular updates, and mitigate the risks of hosting data internally and hiring a staff to manage the servers. Software migration helps the growth of your business and improves data security, availability, and scalability.
It is important to get ahead of the game and not get stuck in the on-prem dark ages. The first step in migrating your business applications to the cloud is to pick a cloud migration partner to help you do so; however, this can be an overwhelming process. The following four tips will help you develop a stronger understanding of what to look for in a cloud migration company.
1. Prepare Your Business Applications for the Cloud
Moving to the cloud will save you time and money in the long run, but before you can do those two things, you must first consider how you can prepare your business applications for the big move. A cloud transformation can be a daunting undertaking, but hiring a reputable cloud migration company will help guide you through the process. Be sure to keep the following in mind when preparing for a move to the cloud.
Business Process Impact
Migrating to the cloud is a profound transformation for your business’s technology, and when done correctly, should help create more efficient business application systems and processes. Your migration partner must be capable of assessing how your current processes work and should be experienced in how to make them even better through a migration to the cloud. It’s possible that business application processes will change when you move from on-prem to cloud-based, and choosing the right migration partner can be the difference between navigating a process change efficiently or suffering significant process bottlenecks and mistakes. In fact, the right partner should have the experience needed to identify potential bottlenecks and prevent them from happening with ample training, process documentation, and support.
For example, if you’re migrating your on-premise payroll processing system to a cloud-based solution your cloud migration partner needs to be more than just familiar with the payroll software. Instead, they must be experts in payroll processes, intimately understand who is involved in the process, and have first-hand knowledge of how a cloud migration will impact the payroll stakeholders. This deep understanding of business application processes will play a significant role in preparing for a migration.
It’s important to consider how the migration will impact the current technology running your business such as other software and applications, data, and any custom-built internal solutions. Selecting a partner that is capable of developing a deep understanding of your unique technology and systems will result in a smoother migration.
Data is one key component of technical impact from a cloud migration and the extraction, transformation, and loading of current data to a new system can be incredibly complex. In our experience, roughly 30-40% of all project time is devoted to migrating data from the on-prem solution to the new cloud application. It’s crucial to understand how such data conversion is handled during a migration. Secondly, your cloud migration partner needs to understand which integrations are required in order for the new cloud application to function with other systems at the company and if there are specific tools or additional costs required to integrate those systems. Lastly, the system is only as good as the reports it can produce. It is vital to understand the varying reporting and analytics features to draw insights from the new system.
Lastly, it’s vital to think carefully about how the migration will impact the various stakeholders within your business. Migrating to the cloud causes many transformations within a business, including cultural ones too. Understanding how moving to the cloud will impact your organization’s culture, articulating the benefits of this change to employees, and being able to recognize legitimate concerns and address them up front are topics you should consider before picking a migration partner. For example, a large organization that has been in business for many years and has many long-tenured employees may be used to siloing information. Moving to the cloud introduces immediate change in how people will communicate and collaborate which gives way to a new operational paradigm of openness and may contest many existing habits and norms.
Remember: migrating to the cloud is not a technology project, it is a business impact project. It’s important your partner works with you to plan for the entire project in advance that way business leaders and end users won’t be dividing their time inefficiently. Your migration partner should pay attention to those stakeholders’ day-to-day roles and work around priority projects or seasonality that they may adequately plan their time and subsequently, increase the chance of buy-in due to a pain-free migration process.
2. Require Flexible Engagement Terms
Every business application differs slightly, so it’s crucial to find a migration company that is willing to adapt for your needs by providing flexible engagement terms. Your migration partner should provide support for all implementation needs, but a good partner won’t just stop there and leave you high and dry if you need long-term help. A great migration company should be willing to give you a long-term engagement, as well as a dedicated support system for your business applications before and after migrating to the cloud. Post-implementation maintenance services can provide smooth, predictable upgrades and on-going training sessions. It is vital to have flexibility and adaptability for a successful migration.
3. Search for a Reputable Company with References
When dealing with a migration of a core business system, it is imperative to find a partner with strong customer advocates. Cloud migration is still relatively new, and a company with multiple successes and customer singing their praises will help you avoid costly mistakes. Check their website and see if they make note of how many clients they have successfully helped make the cloud transition. Any company who has helped 100+ clients successfully will most likely have the experience you need. Bonus points if they have testimonials or case studies from those clients!
4. Don’t Assume a System Integrator Will Help
System integrators are not cloud migration specialists. There are subtle nuances that can only be managed by a cloud-first provider. Cloud is a new paradigm, and traditional methods of systems integration can produce horrible results such as high costs and long project duration. To guarantee a smooth migration to the cloud, a trusted migration company is the best choice.
Finding the right migration company is difficult, but keeping these four considerations in mind will ensure you find the best possible partner for your business. If you seek more in-depth decision analysis, download Drivestream’s Cloud Migration Assessment (CMA) primer. If you would like to learn more about how Drivestream approaches cloud migrations, please request a consultation.