All salmon need to eventually swim upstream, right? Well, the same mentality applies to businesses, too. Eventually, they’ll need to leave their comfort zones behind and face more challenging waters--like leaving their legacy application infrastructure behind in pursuit of more modern technology.
But as with any new technology adoption, there will be obstacles to overcome as you integrate new services into your IT infrastructure, business divisions, and, eventually, your entire corporation. Migrating to the cloud is certainly no exception.
While each cloud journey is unique, the challenges along the way are pervasive. Uncertainty over upfront and ongoing costs, internal resistant to change, and a lack of skilled resources are all issues of major concern. That’s why businesses must prepare accordingly for a safe and controlled cloud migration.
Top 3 challenges businesses face when migrating to the cloud--and how they can successfully overcome them.
Migration Challenge #1: Uncertain Migration Financial Costs
Over time, cloud migration can save money through increased productivity, lower internal administrative costs, and streamlined processes. But getting there can still feel like a pricey, complicated battle.
Financial concerns are top-of-mind throughout the entire cloud migration process, from beginning to end. There’s the immediate cost of the migration itself, in addition to the long-term financial risks of slow adoption or required training after the migration.
Focus on planning: The best thing you can do right now is prepare. A thorough plan will help you manage the scope of the project, estimate timing, project costs, and minimize disruption. You should also carefully examine the current state of your IT operations and the cloud options available. This in-depth analysis will help you identify potential issues, opportunities, and needs that you can start planning for today. That could mean all the difference in avoiding costly surprises along the way.
Migrate your data in batches: Another way to minimize the financial burden is to migrate to the cloud incrementally. Migrating your data in batches has the advantage of breaking down what can be a financially overwhelming project into more manageable, bite-sized pieces over time.
Migrate to a hybrid cloud model: Depending on your computing needs, a full cloud migration may not be the best solution. Some organizations choose to go all-in during their first migration, while others prefer hybrid options.
Here's what you should keep in my for this one: While some IT operations would work well in a full cloud environment, others are less compatible. For example, companies that run applications with unpredictable spikes in usage could benefit from the public cloud because it scales up and down to meet your usage needs at lower costs. So in this case, a hybrid model might make more financial sense. You can migrate applications with varying usage while keeping the applications with more steady usage in your on-premises operations.
Migration Challenge #2: Company-Wide Cloud Adoption Resistance
When it comes to migration success, it’s often your own internal team who pose the biggest challenge. People tend to resist change, and a cloud migration can bring a lot of disruption (the good kind).
Bottom line: If the human element isn't addressed, you will struggle to execute a successful migration. Yes, company-wide buy-in is that critical.
Get leadership buy-in first: If you want to drive successful cloud adoption throughout your company, you have to start at the top. Your executive leadership is one of the primary factors influencing employee adoption, so you need strong executive buy-in right from the start. Make sure your leadership understands the business needs and objectives for the migration and have them communicate the business case to the organization early and often.
Choose tech solutions that are easy to use and integrate: When choosing cloud solutions, prioritize usability and seamless integration. The more user-friendly and intuitive the tool is, the better chance your employees will adopt it (and actually want to stick with it).
Additionally, applications that integrate with your current tech stack are more attractive to users because they can easily connect the new tools to their existing work. That way, you're holding on to a bit of familiarity while ushering in the new stuff.
Invest in expert resources: Although the cloud can make life easier in the long run, adoption can still be frustrating. People may find the new processes confusing, complex, and difficult to integrate. So without the proper support or resources, they’re more likely to revert back to the “old way” of doing things.
That’s why cloud adoption success hinges on your investment in the right resources. Employing experts to train, coach, and support employees on the new applications can be key to a successful migration. You might also consider external resources, too, like training seminars and classes.
Migration Challenge #3: Internal Cloud Skills Shortage
The perceived complexity of migrating alone can stop many organizations in their tracks. That’s because finding people who have the skills to manage an effective migration is one of the top challenges.
If you're hiring technology talent right now, you know that the market is highly competitive, and the pool of qualified candidates is pretty small. In fact, 50% of organizations cite a lack of skills as the top challenge they face when adopting cloud native infrastructure. And the real problem is, 70% of companies aren't quite sure what to even do about it.
Acquiring the skills your company needs to compete requires thinking beyond simply hiring new talent or sending staff to training. That's because cloud technology, infrastructure, and architecture is constantly evolving.
Cultivate cloud skills internally: IDC’s 2019 Worldwide CIO Agenda shows that 30% of high-demand roles for emerging technologies will remain unfilled through 2022, and a lack of cloud talent has the potential to cost enterprises as much as $258 million a year in lost revenues and slower innovation. A large part of this is due to the fact that many enterprise-level companies have failed to evolve their existing teams and training with cloud skills.
To address this problem, you should start investing in skill development programs that match actual demand patterns. For example, consider combining different ways to build up your team's cloud skills, such as running internal programs, encouraging self-directed training, and pursuing external education programs. Or, if you're looking for folks you already have the base to build additional relevant skills, consider tapping your Full-Stack developers, DevOps engineers, or Site Reliability engineers.
Use a third-party provider: Sometimes, it's better to just let someone else handle all the complicated work. When you choose a third-party provider to manage your cloud migration, you'll not only close the skills gap and reduce the internal burden, but also reap a ton of other benefits, too. For example, a third-party provider will give you peace of mind that your processes, procedures, security protocols, and applications are all compliant with industry regulations during--and after--your migration. You'll also
When choosing a third-party provider to manage your cloud migration, consider looking at their platform expertise, industry expertise, change management mastery, and customer satisfaction ratings.