Gartner predicted in 2016 that “By 2020, a corporate “no-cloud” policy will be as rare as a “no-internet” policy is today”; and In 2017, IHS Markit “forecasts the global off-premises cloud services market to reach nearly $343 billion in 2021 — a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22 percent from 2016 to 2021”.
The U.S. Department of Defense JEDI Cloud contract alone could be worth $10B over a 10 years period. These yearly revenue growth and market penetration is clear evidence of how cloud service providers are delivering on promises to transform businesses by providing innovative solutions, and with proliferation of technologies like blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), quantum computing, etc., we need not look further for proof of what can be achieved with the right cloud strategy and partners.
Cloud adoption is improving agility and resiliency for businesses, and increasingly, it is becoming an equalizer for small businesses when going against larger competitions. The wave of technology-fueled disruption in finance, insurance, healthcare, etc. could be directly attributed to the rise in adoption of cloud solutions. Infrastructure that took months to acquire and implement in years past is now happening in matter of days if not hours, which in turn fuels how quickly products and services are brought to market.
The question, therefore, is not whether all businesses will someday embrace the cloud—loss of market share to competitors will accelerate the decision—instead, the right questions should be about your business’ cloud adoption readiness.
Conducting a thorough assessment of your current environment using these five cloud migration checklist items will determine the outcome of your cloud migration and whether or not you achieve your strategic goals and objectives:
1. Define future state requirements by understanding current state environment
Doing a current state assessment of the environment will allow you to develop requirements that meets your immediate need, provide you valuable information about future needs, and address your business continuity and disaster recovery needs. These requirements gathering exercise is intended to be multi-faceted and includes identifying risks and security vulnerabilities in your environment, while also providing a clear path toward remediation.
2. Identify cybersecurity gaps in people, processes and technology
Understanding potential cybersecurity exposure particularly earlier on and prior to migrating systems to the cloud will ensure you have the appropriate checks in place. For example, if you currently depend on internal IT personnel to manage both physical and cyber security operations for your business, knowing their capabilities (or lack thereof) will factor greatly into whether you train them, hire additional staff, outsource the bulk of the work to a capable third-party company, or a mix of all three. Note: On-the-job training for cybersecurity personnel, particularly early in your journey to the cloud is not a sound strategy and should be avoided at all cost.
3. Identify applications that are cloud ready and ones that require remediation
The goal here is to determine the reasonableness of your cloud strategy roadmap. Knowing what applications needs remediation and the cost could determine when the actual remediation work is done and consequently, provide insight into how long your business processes will be supported in a hybrid IT environment. Additionally, having a comprehensive list of your cloud-ready applications will drive your ability to accomplish quick wins for your business and customers by immediately migrating those applications to the cloud.
4. Identify gaps in existing processes and establish a cloud governance model
Managing and supporting cloud solutions,whether it be software, infrastructure, or platform is not the same as managing on-premises systems, and this reality should factor into your plan when updating both business and IT processes and procedures. For example, you will need to update how you grant/revoke access for customers and employees, how change requests are managed, how help desk and customer service personnel interact and resolve issues for employees and customers, etc. Most importantly,having a governance model in place will ensure you are driving the right habit across the company and using meaningful metrics and KPIs to measure performance, and ensuring valuable resources are not wasted on cloud solutions that aren’t delivering long term values to your business.
5. Identify potential cost savings and tangible short/long term benefits to be realized
Migration to the cloud by itself isn’t going to save you a lot of money but it will buy you agility and resiliency if implemented correctly. However,making cost savings, agility and resiliency the central pillars of your cloud strategy could be the key to developing objective selection criteria that guides your future cloud services procurement. This part of the assessment is intended to either validate or negate key assumptions your whole cloud strategy is built upon—Which makes it just as important as the four listed above.