You know your organization needs to move to the cloud. Most importantly, you’ve known it for a while. You even submitted a preliminary cloud migration plan…
But you’re still facing some resistance and concerns from management:
- What about security and compliance?
- What about cost & our in-house servers?
- Do we have the skills?
- Does our application design properly leverage the cloud?
- Won’t this disrupt the business?
I’ve helped my clients navigate cloud migrations and have encountered these familiar concerns. The five step approach summarized below and detailed in the email series, can help you increase your chances for success. And bolster your standing with the C-Suite.
Overview: Five Steps to a Solid Cloud Migration Plan
Following this process will help you lead your stakeholders through a meaningful migration. Each step prepares everyone for the next, and culminates in a shared understanding of the migration.
Step #1: Understand the C-Suite’s concerns and goals
If you and the C-Suite aren’t on the same page about cloud benefits, any attempt to migrate is likely to be troubling. To be sure, you must understand what’s important to them and how to frame both risk and benefit in a meaningful way.
The CFO worries about migration cost. The CEO is concerned about disruption to existing customers. The CPO or VP of HR stresses about developing and recruiting the skills necessary to migrate.
Understanding and addressing each stakeholder’s concerns lays the groundwork for developing a migration strategy — and the migration’s success.
Develop the Cloud Migration Strategy
Is migration is as simple as firing up a web app service on a cloud provider, making a DNS change and walking away? That’s rarely the case for anyone facing resistance to a cloud migration. Ultimately, you need a plan.
First, you need goals and a strategy to reach those goals.
A cloud migration strategy is a guiding document that addresses the “why and the what” of cloud migration and how taking specific strategic actions help your company reach its ultimate goals.
Step #2: Address Cloud Risk & Re-Inform
New risks create new anxieties, even if similar risks exist within existing infrastructure. To make things clear, compare existing risks with cloud risks.
The truth is, management is comfortable with the risks they already know about — or have forgotten exist — in comparison with risks that are new to them.
Some risks will increase, some risks will decrease. And there may be some non-starters. Documenting each risk and comparing the collective risk of both environments is a great communication tool.
I use a risk comparison tool to evaluate the difference in risk across different aspects of the business. Sign up for the email series and you’ll received this risk comparison template along with more detail on each step in the process!
Step #3: Address Cloud Readiness
So, you’ve aligned on goals and have informed the C-Suite of risks and mitigation plans. And now the questions have shifted toward timeline, cost, and resources.
How long will the migration take? Is it a matter of spinning up some VMs and deploying applications? Maybe so, but that probably won’t buy you much in the long term.
It’s ultimately your job to understand an application’s limitations and provide guidance on how to enable a cloud-friendly architecture. This provides the roadmap for getting the company to the most effective and cost-efficient cloud implementation.
It’s important to note: A cloud migration plan usually includes a phased approach. Taking advantage of cloud capabilities may have impact on your application architecture.
Step #4: Develop a Detailed Cloud Migration Plan
And now, it’s time to develop the plan. A well-formed migration plan addresses “how” to achieve the strategy and includes:
- Cloud vendor selection criteria
- Specific migration steps
- Process changes necessary to support migration, risk mitigation, and compliance.
- A communication plan for all stakeholders.
- Method for collecting and reporting on KPIs, including cost
- A timeline and resource plan
Also, it’s important to note that any cloud migration plan may have multiple phases. It’s usually not a one-and-done scenario if you have a complex environment.
Step #5: Iterate and Communicate
As the migration begin, communicate and report against metrics to keep your stakeholders informed.
Nothing raises the doubts of the C-Suite like silence. Communicating — clearly, concisely, and consistently — is the most effective tool you have to ensure that natural anxieties are minimal and the stakeholders in your organization know what is happening, why it’s happening, what component of the strategy you’re addressing, and what’s next.
Send a weekly update on progress. Include a summary and detailed progress against milestones. Give the C-Suite every opportunity to ask questions. Most critically, explain things on their terms and report against goals outlined in step 1.
The email series includes a sample communication plan, KPIs that are important to the C-Suite, and some sample templates that communicate updates clearly and concisely.
You Can Do This
Developing and executing a cloud migration can be a lot of work. Using this five step plan you can show early success and gain the confidence of your stakeholders. I outline each of the five steps in my Cloud Migration email series.
Complete the short form below to sign up for the Cloud Migration Series and get the detail and tools to help with your cloud migration plan. If you have any questions or comments about this topic, please share in the comments below or connect with me on LinkedIn.