Now more than ever, chief information officers are under pressure to do their jobs right. You can’t really blame CIOs for feeling that way. According to Accenture, 94 percent of C-suite employees think that the pace of innovation at their organizations has accelerated within the last three years. Most technology leaders are trying to fully migrate to the cloud in a bid to claim that they have digital transformation down pat.
But the thing is, it’s not always prudent to rush into full cloud migration. Even the best companies were able to achieve this over a long period, taking years to fully move to the cloud. Some people think it happens overnight: You choose a cloud service provider and then move your services, apps, files, and technology to that provider.
In reality, it does not work that way. Cloud migration is a complex process, and it will take time to do it right. What’s more, redesigning your cloud environments will be very costly. If you make a mistake in rushing cloud migration, you are up for a very expensive re-architecturing somewhere down the line.
What’s more, migrating to the cloud is not just a one-off activity. You don’t stop when you have fully migrated. You continue to tweak and fine-tune things. You also take note of new technologies that you can use with your cloud environment.
Moving onto the cloud
Digital transformation can make or break your business. It is said that only digitally transformed businesses will survive today’s competitive business milieu. Cloud migration is often considered as one of the necessary steps for digital transformation to happen.
What makes this move more complicated is that it doesn’t just stop at changes in technology. It also entails people issues. It will require your employees to collaborate more and form cross-functional teams. Your employees would need to change their mindsets, take up more skills, and welcome the changes. As a technology leader, you should also look at and analyze what your people and other companies are experiencing during cloud migration.
TechRadar can help with that. The technology blog often looks at how enterprises are using public cloud services. Here’s what they found:
- Close to seven out of 10 users are adopting AWS exclusively.
- Around 10.5 percent of users are using multiple cloud service providers. These users do not like vendor lock-in and would want to get the most out of different cloud providers.
If you are currently considering moving to the cloud, or have already started with that process, or if you are looking to use multiple cloud services, then you should take stock of the journey ahead of you. Keep in mind that you are using cloud services to benefit your organization, so choose the ones that will provide you with the most pluses. No cloud service is going to be a generic solution to every business problem.
The spear tip team
You should have a team that will be in charge of new technologies. They will be implementing new innovations that can help you succeed. The spear tip team will be leading when you create a new project on the cloud, or when you try out a new platform.
The spear tip team can make your IT teams agile enough to take advantage of new innovations. They also allow you to carry out daily operations without disruptions. You can also have other members learn from your spear tip team. Whatever your spear tip team learns during their testing and dealings with new technology, they can teach other teams. They can also identify features and functionalities that others can benefit from.
Having a spear tip team will also help you improve your approach as time passes. As such, your cloud migration efforts might be impeded without this team in place. For instance, if you are aiming for more business agility, you have a better chance to get that with a spear tip team.
More on the spear tip approach
One of the things that you should understand about cloud migration and digital-first businesses is that it is both a technological and cultural change. Your organization will move away from having a top-down hierarchy to one that is more responsive and team-driven. The most important decisions do not come from the CIO, but from data.
The spear tip team will do more than just trying out new technologies. The said team will also give you proof-of-concept. They will be able to demonstrate to the rest of the business that the new technology works and how it could benefit them.
There are common approaches to cloud migration that you can do.
- First is to migrate your existing applications without changing anything onto the cloud. Each service is assessed, along with the application’s code and processes. This works for flagship products that you can re-architect for the cloud. The features and functionalities can be segmented into microservices.
Secondary applications might benefit from changing it to work on a new platform with a new database. End-of-life applications might be better off kept on-premises.
- The second approach will look into adopting technologies that are already cloud-native, rather than migrating to the cloud.
So which of these approaches should you use? It depends on the data you have.
Check the data created by your application to see what’s going on. For instance, machine data will give you a thorough inventory of apps, how these are connected to one another, and interdependencies that they have. It will also show you what servers and technologies are involved. Machine data will also give you accurate data transfer information, as well as a clue of performance challenges. It can even show you hidden latencies.
All of that information can give you insights on how to protect your organization because you have a good grasp of the metrics and thresholds. You can use these to evaluate your current configurations and allow you to optimize your cloud environment. These metrics may also serve as a baseline for future metrics.
Want to take the right approach? Interpret your data correctly and don’t neglect your spear tip team.
So there you have it, the best way to ensure that you’re never off the right path when it comes to cloud migration is machine data and learning how to interpret them correctly. You should be realistic about what the cloud can do for you, and you should be able to maximize the benefits from your migration.
More than that, you should always have a smaller team that is licensed to innovate and evaluate. This team will help you get real-time insights into every aspect of your operations, customer experience, business results, and security. With these two in place, you can never go wrong.
Photo by Dominic Smith.