The cloud isn’t really something a business should look to survive. Instead, it should be viewed upon as an opportunity to be seized and embraced.
By now, business leaders should be well aware of the benefits of cloud, even if they aren’t yet using it. It gives organisations greater flexibility to scale their services and customise applications with relative ease and lower costs compared to physical infrastructure. It gives businesses simple access data storage, security, access to the latest innovative technologies and allows greater efficiency and collaboration between teams.
Although the benefits are clear, businesses do need a detailed plan in place to ensure transition to the cloud is a successful one.
The first step is to loosely assess which services the organisation requires, which will help to determine the cloud service provider. Some providers may offer a complete service, while some choose to focus on a highly-targeted area of the cloud.
Once a cloud service provider has been chosen, business leaders should look to make a more detailed assessment of the tools and services needed by the organisation. Service providers will be able to assist, giving advice on information on exactly which services to go for.
Providers will also be able to advise on anything that should not be migrated to the cloud. For instance, it may not be worth moving an application used by the business that is outdated due to the potentially considerable financial and time implications of updating it in preparation for migration.
Nick Thompson, managing director of DCSL Software, said: “Migrating your systems to the cloud can seem daunting, but it’s a straightforward exercise if you find the right software development partner. Identifying the systems that would most benefit from being cloud based is the first step. If your systems rely on expensive equipment hosted in-house or in a datacentre that you are responsible for, moving to cloud and software-as-a-service (SaaS) delivery models will be a breath of fresh air. Some systems are not cloud compatible, such as legacy client-server systems; in which case finding a reliable and reputable software company to rebuild the software is an important first step.”
Don’t forget people
The operation of moving applications, infrastructure and workflows to the cloud can be a complex one. And while the process is very technology focused, organisations would do well not to forget the human element of both surviving and thriving after a cloud migration. An organisation’s employees are the ones who will be utilising these cloud services for their day-to-day jobs.
Such an overwhelming change in a business’ infrastructures and applications can often be met with complaints from employees who are used to things the way they are. Leaders need to do two key things to minimise the risk of disruption to workers’ productivity and morale.
First is to develop and provide to all staff a clear timeline of the migration process, and an explanation of how it will affect the way they work. This timeline should include necessary training on new or updated applications and workflows, and when their everyday processes will be fully migrated to the cloud. In order to buy into such an overhaul of how the organisation works, the workforce needs to be made aware and convinced of the benefits not just to the business, but to the work they do every day.
Second, the skills of team members should be assessed to identify several key employees who can assist their colleagues during the migration process. These individuals should be technologically sound and respected by their colleagues. Giving them extensive training at an earlier stage will enable them to assist the training of remaining staff and help to iron out any minor issues.
For instance, if a team member is struggling to get to grips with a new, cloud-based application, they can go to their dedicated support colleague, who should be able to explain or solve lower-level issues quickly and easily.
Regardless of size or industry, the cloud is fast becoming an essential to businesses. However, if organisations are to survive a cloud migration and feel the benefits at the earliest possible stage, leaders need to develop and implement a clear and detailed plan, working with a cloud services provider.
By Jonathan Davies, Amplified Business Content