Your Cloud Journey: Are We There Yet?
If you’ve ever taken a long trip in a car with little kids, chances are you’ve heard “Are we there yet?” a time or two. Maybe you even used those same words yourself when you were a kid.
When executives give the green light to cloud-computing initiatives, they can seem like those children in the back seat. If only you could pop a DVD in to keep them occupied while you focus on the sometimes long and complicated process of migrating workloads to a cloud environment.
But, just as you might let your little passengers know how far you still have to go before you get to Grandma’s house, you’ll probably need to give your executive passengers an idea of where you are on your cloud journey as well.
Mapping Out Your Cloud Journey
We’ve broken down the cloud journey into five major phases. Some of the organizations we work with travel through these phases faster than others, but pretty much everyone goes through them in order. The key is to keep the wheels of progress turning, so for each of these stages, I will provide tips for moving things forward.
Stage 1: Denial – Various studies put the percentage of workloads that will be housed in the cloud by next year at more than 80%. I think it’s safe to say we’ve reached the Tipping Point where the cloud is considered a viable option that should be considered. Very few companies are still at this stage.
How to move forward: But, if you are still here, your team might benefit from talking to others that once saw things as you do. For example, if one or more of your executives is the obstacle to progress, get them involved in cloud discussions with their peers. At the very least, work on creating a business case for the cloud that puts the benefits in terms they understand like ROI, cost savings, converting CapEx to OpEx, tighter security and compliance, etc.
Stage 2: Resistance – High-levels of cloud adoption do not mean the organization is ready to take a cloud-only stance. Many executives are still very concerned about security and availability of their data and applications – as they should be.
How to move forward: Identify the “safest” workloads to migrate to the cloud, e.g., those that have minimal compliance and security requirements. If you have limited experience in the cloud, work with a cloud provider that can help you migrate these workloads with little to no disruption to the business and manage your cloud environments to ensure they meet expectations.
Stage 3: Exploration – Now, you’re getting somewhere. You’ve identified the non-critical production workloads, and you’re starting to migrate them to the cloud. Many organizations will even test more than one type of cloud at this stage. The idea is to see what works for you and what doesn’t in a relatively safe environment.
How to move forward: Don’t let this opportunity to prove the cloud pass you by. Keep working with a managed service provider that can help you ensure success by pointing out pitfalls and ways to improve. A good managed service provider will also help you build a business case for migrating additional workloads to the cloud that is in line with your organizational goals.
Stage 4: Commitment – You are all-in on cloud computing – and so is your executive team. Because different workloads have different requirements, you’re probably using more than one type of cloud. According to this Tech Target survey, over 60% of companies use two or more cloud providers; 35% use more than four.
How to move forward: With so many cloud resources, you’ll need better visibility so you can manage elements like costs, resource utilization, compliance, and security. A cloud management platform can be a big help. Also, even though a company is all-in on the cloud, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t still missing some essential skill sets. If you don’t have one already, look for a Managed Service Provider that can help you fill in some of the gaps.
Related reading: How to Choose the Right Hosting Partner
Stage 5: Rationalization – If you’ve reached this stage, you’ll have migrated mission-critical workloads to the cloud, maybe even those that need to be in compliance with regulations like HIPAA, PCI DSS, FERPA, etc. It’s time to get serious about cloud governance. With so many resources in the cloud, cost optimization takes on special significance.
How to move forward: Make sure you have workloads in the right cloud environments. If not, build a migration plan for moving them to a better environment. If you have legacy systems that still reside on-premises, e.g., ERP applications in an IBM i environment, talk to your managed service provider about migrating those workloads as well. A private, hosted cloud may be your best option. A cloud management platform with strong cost-optimization functionality will allow better control cloud costs by identifying orphaned and under-utilized resources across your cloud environments.
On-Demand Webinar: Benefits of Incorporating a Cloud Management Platform
The cloud journey is just one of the topics I spoke about in a recent webinar held in conjunction with IBM. This webinar is now available on-demand so you can watch it and download the slides at your convenience.