I need to migrate my ICT to the cloud but don’t know where to start?

There are many reasons why your organisation might want to migrate its ICT to the cloud. From a budget perspective, transitioning to the cloud often makes sound commercial sense. It can allow your organisation to switch from capital expenditure to operational expenditure by moving away from physical ICT infrastructure purchases and instead use virtual resources as you need them.

If your on-premise datacentre is outdated or approaching end-of-life, moving to a ‘hybrid’ (on-premise + cloud) model will enable you to significantly reduce your on-premise environment and migrate many elements to the cloud. It will enable your to invest in smaller footprint, lower power, cloud-managed, policy-driven hardware, software and systems that integrate well with cloud-based solutions.

Migration to the cloud can also help your organisation achieve digital transformation, by giving you access to the latest technologies which unlock efficiencies, enhance communication and collaboration and boost productivity.
Whatever the reason, your organisation needs to define its objectives at the outset of any cloud migration project, so you can create the right strategy, manage expectations and identify the best solution to help you achieve your goals.

Cloud migration – where do I start?

Regardless of the size of your organisation, migrating to the cloud can be a huge undertaking. However, the benefits it can bring can far outweigh any of the drawbacks. There several questions people tend to ask when thinking about where to start, such as are you looking for…

  • Simple or complex applications?
  • Mass migration or targetted apps?
  • Legacy systems or new solutions?
  • ‘Lift and shift’ or cloud-native software and applications?

The answers to these questions depends on the organisation, its risk appetite, and the speed at which it wants to move to cloud. There is also a need to recognise the importance of building a ‘centre of excellence’ in order to ensure the right skills exist as part of the initial cloud set up.

So, before you commit to the move, you’ll need to gain a full understanding of your existing ICT environment, including the physical infrastructure and hardware, and software and applications you already own and how much they cost, from both a budgetary and a resource point of view.

Once you know how much your ICT provision costs, you can start to build a business case for moving to the cloud by identifying any potential cost savings you could make, but also the financial implications of not investing in cloud technology.

An experienced ICT consultant can be invaluable here, especially if your organisation does not possess a high level of technical expertise in-house. By acting as the bridge between your ICT department and your senior leadership team, an external ICT consultant can provide technical leadership to help your in-house team develop and deliver a fully aligned ICT strategy. They can also offer an objective viewpoint and act as a ‘critical friend’ to both your ICT department and your senior leadership team to facilitate better communication and relationships and bring about faster decision-making.

Cloud migration – things to consider

Although the concept of cloud migration is relatively simple to understand, there are many nuances to consider which will have a significant bearing on the success of your project. There are several cloud options available, including public, private, hybrid or community cloud. You should base the solution you go for on your ICT strategy and architecture requirements. You should spend time considering how to redesign your on-premise environment to accommodate and work well with the cloud.

Your focus here should be placed on considering which apps will move to IaaS, which to PaaS and which to SaaS solutions based on the cost effectiveness, resiliency requirements, ease of migration and security of the various options. It’s also worth taking other aspects, such as licence requirements, service level agreements, security and compliance, customer service, and vendor terms and conditions, into consideration.

One of the primary considerations when it comes to cloud migration is cost. Regardless of the size of your organisation, cloud migration can help reduce the costs associated with purchasing ICT infrastructure and its ongoing management, support and maintenance.

Moving your ICT environment to the cloud can also create additional efficiencies and flexibility in terms of paying only for what you need and scaling up or down easily, depending on your current requirements. It’s also a good way of helping to futureproof your organisation’s ICT – because the cloud is virtual, it enables you to update to the latest technology and software solutions as and when they become available. It also allows organisations to try something new easily, cheaply, and fail with less commercial fallout.

This is where shopping around to find the right vendors can add the most value – it enables you to invest in the technology you need, at the time you need it. How users will connect to your applications is another consideration. Firstly, your organisation may need a direct connection to the cloud environment or an increase in internet connectivity. Secondly, presenting services from cloud will require serious thought as to how your security perimeter will be maintained. Most organisations only present to the internet at a single logical location.

Introducing cloud technology potentially allows presenting at two logical locations which doubles complexity. There is also a perception that if an organisation keeps all its ICT environment on-premise, it also keeps all the risk, while moving to cloud increases the risk by splitting it and putting part of it into the suppliers’ hands. While this is partially true, it may also bring opportunities to use the suppliers’ investments in security, which aren’t available on-premise. Again, an experienced external ICT consultant will be invaluable in recommending ways to mitigate this risk, including using multiple connections and providers, along with solutions for backup and recovery.

Starting your migration

Once you have reviewed your current ICT provision, assessed all the risks, modelled your potential investment costs and created your cloud strategy, it’s time to prepare for migration.
This can pose several challenges, particularly if you don’t have the in-house technical expertise or experience of large-scale migration projects.

An external ICT consultant can provide the technical leadership need to make your migration a success. They will be able to help you detail all the tasks that need to be carried out, in the right order, along with highlighting the dependencies and processes that are key to making it happen.

Creating a detailed project plan, including a testing phase, will give your organisation clear visibility of what needs to happen by when, and who is responsible and accountable for each action. Your consultant will also be able to advise on any potential issues which may arise during the migration, how they can be avoided or resolved, and what, if any, rollback procedures may be necessary.

They will also be able to act as the bridge between your ICT function and your leadership team to help ensure communication flows both ways, relevant milestones are hit on time and decisions are made quickly to keep your project on track.

Begin your migration journey with AMDH

To find out more about our cloud service design solutions and how AMDH Services can help your organisation successfully migrate to the cloud, get in touch for an informal chat and a free consultation.