Moving to the cloud is much like moving house. When you move house, it’s simple to have someone box up all your belongings and move it all to your new home. After all, it takes much less immediate effort, particularly while you’re frantically sorting out everything else that moving day demands. But there’s a problem with simply calling in the movers – in all likelihood, you will have just paid to move a whole host of ‘stuff’ that you no longer need, use or want. You might even have invested in a bigger, more expensive house to accommodate all these old things when a smaller, more affordable home would actually have been a better fit – if only you’d decluttered first.

The same principle holds true for moving to the cloud. For many CIOs, it’s tempting – while juggling the daily business demands on the IT department – to simply ‘lift and shift’ everything from the on-premise environment to a cloud environment, and think you’ll refine it after the move. But just like that new year’s resolution to finally clear out the garage, those best-laid plans rarely come to fruition. Because of this, taking the time to declutter your IT environment first will help you save on costs and create clean, efficient systems to drive your business forward once you’re in a cloud environment.

Does your IT infrastructure spark joy?

Ever since Netflix ran its hit series featuring Marie Kondo, a Japanese decluttering expert, people around the world are ridding their homes of objects that no longer ‘spark joy’ in a bid to get organised. The KonMari approach (only keeping hold of the things which retain use to us) might, at first glance, seem to have little relevance to an IT Decision Maker’s (ITDM) state of mind. But look a little deeper, and there’s plenty for businesses to learn from using a similar approach when moving to the cloud.

Much like cleaning out the attic, ITDMs should use a move to the cloud as an opportunity to reassess their existing applications and infrastructure and determine which must be migrated, adapted, or left behind. There are five key steps to take when moving to the cloud to make sure you only take what you need:

Assess: Firstly, work with a Cloud Project Manager to assess the infrastructure on premise. Running a specially designed script on the systems will generate a report showing what is in place, the health of the various systems, and if any of them could prevent or slow migration to the cloud. This is the equivalent to looking down the back of the sofa, or in the garage, to discover exactly what’s there before making the move.

Envision: Next, that list must be analysed using a tool such as a Data Migration Assistant, to determine which of it should be kept, discarded or updated. For example, if there are systems coming to the end of their life, like Microsoft SQL 2008, it makes sense to use the move to upgrade them. Similarly, if you have a database but 20 percent of the data in it isn’t used, why pay for space for it to reside in the cloud? Much like having a keep, sell or throw out box when moving house, use this stage to identify which of your data estate is worth moving, storing or deleting – and ascertain what elements might present challenges in migrating it to the cloud.

Design: Following this, assess which third party integrators have the skills to design the ideal solution based on the findings (e.g. if you’re moving to Azure, find an Azure expert to help). For instance, remember that 20 percent of data that you need to save but don’t need to access regularly? It could be left on premise, housed in more affordable cloud archives, or in cold tier storage to save costs.

Migrate: Now, you will have your plan and roadmap to hand, and be ready to migrate. Systems can then be rehosted, refactored, rearchitected or rebuilt for maximum efficiency and minimal downtime. In short, the moving trucks are here.

Manage: Finally, once the migration is complete, ongoing management of the cloud environment is critical to ensure costs don’t escalate. Putting in place an overarching cloud management service will help to manage and optimise costs, and ensure you receive better, more affordable support. The best services will also give you regular advisory hours, with access to technical help to resolve any issues or to plan for new projects.

With Gartner predicting that the worldwide public cloud services market will grow to $206.2bn in 2019, up from $175.8bn in 2018 – the pace of cloud adoption is only set to accelerate this year. Moving to the cloud is a significant investment for any organisation, so ensuring a move delivers return on investment and meets business objectives should be top of mind for ITDMs. Taking the opportunity before any migration to streamline and declutter the IT environment will pay dividends further down the line, and ensure successful digital transformation.