04 Mar 13 Need-to-Know Tips for Your Cloud Migration
Over the past few years, the Cloud has become essential to many organizations’ day-to-day operations. In 2020, 92% of enterprises said their IT environments relied on the Cloud. And that percentage is only expected to grow in 2021 as 32% of IT budgets have been allocated to Cloud computing.
Which means, in 2021, many organizations are in some stage of moving to the Cloud whether that’s pre-migration prep, migration, or post-Cloud change. Wherever you are, here are our experts’ tips for each stage of your journey to the Cloud:
TIP #1 Take the time to assess.
When you’re embarking on such a big project, it’s best to start by knowing what you don’t know. Once you’ve done the work to develop requirements for a system and determine the right one, assessments will help you collect data and form insights to determine the best path moving forward for migration.
A Cloud-Readiness Assessment will gauge how prepared your organization is for migration. Often, these assessments will reveal the true scope of the project (in terms of timeline and budget), uncovering potential complexities by identifying the true volume and structure of content to be migrated, and highlighting the resources and skillsets needed to successfully complete it.
TIP #2 Choose a good project team, and (if needed) a good partner.
There are a lot of moving parts when it comes to migrating to the Cloud, so make sure your project team has the right skill set, resources, and level of availability. While an IT team obviously needs to be heavily involved, it’s not the only specialized role needed in a successful Cloud migration. You will also need information governance (IG) experts, change management experts, security and compliance experts, and possibly more.
Sometimes, it’s best to partner with a third-party firm to successfully execute the project within a designated time frame. The benefit of enlisting external help is that these firms are made up of highly experienced resources that can take some weight off your internal team with proven approaches, thus saving time and helping avoid costly missteps. But it’s important to choose wisely!
All firms are different, and it’s essential to enlist a team that will work well with your group and best support your project goals. To find the best fit for your organization, get a feel for firms’ previous work through their client testimonials, case studies, and presentations.
TIP #3 Ensure Cloud strategy follows business strategy.
Enterprise architects must ensure that the Cloud strategy aligns with and actively supports the organization’s business strategy, regardless of whether their organization provides consumer services, business services, or products. Business strategies vary significantly, and a Cloud strategy should reflect and support your organization specifically.
TIP #4 Choose the right migration tool.
Similar to picking the right Cloud system for your business, you’ll need to determine the right migration tools for your business. There are several factors that go into selecting the right tools, and if you choose the right tool set, you’ll be able to simplify the process.
The project team should determine the best fit tools by looking at (1) the source and the target, (2) content transformation requirements, and (3) scale and volume of the migration effort. For example, there are popular tools for migration from file shares to the Cloud, separate specialized tools for migration from content management systems to the Cloud, and completely different tools for database and infrastructure migration. Will you be migrating content only (working files, folders, emails, archived data) or both systems and content?
This will help pinpoint which migration tools will best fulfill your needs based on functionality and cost.
TIP #5 Start change management ASAP.
Access Sciences’ stands by the idea that behavior change management is key to long-term success for any project, especially enterprise implementations. You can’t introduce something completely new and expect broad adoption and a stress-free transition to new ways of working without a robust change management strategy that includes communications, training, and reinforcement.
The earlier you start the change management process, the better. We advise clients to sell the benefits early and achieve executive stakeholder buy-in ASAP. Communicate the state of the art, emerging technology that can be taken advantage of once the Cloud is up and running. Also, set up a demo so that they not only hear about the benefits, but they can see it firsthand.
TIP #6 Clean up so you don’t clutter the Cloud.
It’s easy to clutter any type of storage space over time, especially when thousands of your employees are using it. So, before moving everything to the Cloud, clean up and classify content of value in your current repository. You’ll be surprised at the amount of Redundant, Obsolete, or Trivial (ROT) content you can leave behind.
In past pre-migration analyses, we’ve found up to 60% of content eligible for disposition/archive. Without the initial clean-up, that ROT content would just be unnecessary clutter in the Cloud. Try to avoid “lift and shift” migration strategies, if possible.
TIP #7 Keep end-users in mind when building taxonomy.
One of the key benefits of moving your content to the Cloud is better end-user accessibility. But what about findability? We all know the frustration of not being able to find something we’re looking for, wasting time sifting through file after file. So, your IG experts should think ahead about search and make the taxonomy use search terms and labels that make sense for your employees.
A great way to do this is to involve end-users in the process of building out your taxonomy so that – in the end – the Cloud is organized in a way that’s consistent with the verbiage they use day-to-day.
We suggest hosting end-user interviews to get a feel for how content is used and searched for in each group – a marketing employee’s verbiage and search habits are likely going to be very different than a finance employee. We also identify subject matter experts (often business leaders) who are familiar with the way content is used and searched for in their area, so they can provide inputs to guide the solution design.
TIP #8 Don’t neglect change management when it gets busy.
In the Cloud Migration stage, the project team is focused on setting up and getting the Cloud live. While it’s easy to push change management to the side for the time being, don’t.
This is an essential stage, and you don’t want to lose touch with your end-users. Take the time to continue communications to maintain the excitement and create necessary training for post go-live.
TIP #9 Be prepared for a high volume of post go-live support tickets.
Whenever the Cloud goes live, there’s always a high volume of support tickets coming in. It’s guaranteed that your IT team will be bombarded with questions and/or issues. If you’ve designed your solution well, more often than not, these issues may simply be change-related.
Help your IT team during this crazy time by providing a comprehensive list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) plus their answers, and make them easily accessible.
As with any system rollout, a solid support team can go a long way in inspiring successful company-wide adoption of the Cloud. So, it’s also a good idea to add individuals outside of IT who can provide support.
TIP #10 Continue to monitor the system.
After the system is rolled out company-wide, it’s a good idea to closely monitor user activity to ensure it’s being used as intended – at least for a week or two. This time period can reveal any overlooked issues that you’ll want to address right away.
The project team should observe user activity, focusing on compliance and verifying that security and governance rules are being followed. The team should monitor for issues such as inappropriate access, unintentional sharing of sensitive information, and that data loss prevention mechanisms and other controls are working as intended.
TIP #11 Kick off your long-term change reinforcement plan.
If you want to make the change stick, initiate your reinforcement plan and then keep at it!
Providing on-the-job support is one part of reinforcing long-lasting change. This can include a solid support team (as mentioned in TIP #9) as well as easy access to training, which should be made available to current employees and all future new hires.
You’ll also want to continue communicating and updating employees through different vehicles of communication. There’s a Rule of 7 that states people need to hear a message seven times before they will act on it, so meet people with the same information in a variety of engaging ways. For example, you can host Q&A meetings, send out e-newsletters, provide how-to flyers, and other creative ideas.
TIP #12 Don’t forget to address the migration source system.
Once your new Cloud system is successfully operating, you’ll need to determine what to do with the source system. Based on your business’ needs, you can choose to:
(1) Archive content off the source system by moving it to a cheaper storage space.
(2) Apply retention policies to set to read-only, archive, and delete content within the source system over time.
(3) If no longer needed at all, decommission the system altogether.
TIP #13 Don’t stop there – add automation!
Congratulations, you’re in the Cloud and (hopefully) loving it! But getting your business to the Cloud is only the first step – there’s so much more you can do to further enhance your day-to-day operations and remind your end-users why you made the switch. And the big one is automation.
Applying process automation further takes advantage of the Cloud’s capabilities by converting typically manual business processes. This takes process management off your employees’ hands and out of their email inboxes which can ultimately lower costs, reduce errors, increase efficiency, and boost productivity.
Automation is just the start. Business intelligence, data analytics, and AI capabilities are all scalable Cloud services that you can now consume.