As digital transformation continues to be a priority for businesses, forecasts suggest that European spending on public cloud services will rise to a total of $142 billion this year. With this number predicted to reach $291 billion by 2027, the industry is showing no signs of stopping. To handle such dramatic growth, businesses must prepare themselves with the knowledge and tools needed to guarantee a successful cloud adoption journey, and thus achieve continued business productivity and unlock the potential for innovation.

The benefits of cloud migration, and why businesses struggle

Embracing cloud technology unquestionably offers numerous advantages to businesses, notably enhancing scalability, efficiency, agility and innovation, whilst also decreasing costs and risks. While some businesses are constrained by their dependence on on-site data centres, making the shift to the public cloud paves the way for previously unattainable speed of business innovation. This, in turn, helps companies meet their goals by creating new value propositions and revenue models, opening new markets or segments, and launching new products or services. Such a level of innovation and agility is becoming paramount in a perpetually competitive business landscape and is fundamental for superior customer experience, acquisition and retention.

Despite the overarching benefits, it unfortunately is not always easy for businesses to migrate to the cloud. Companies often quickly jump headfirst into cloud migration, eager to achieve the benefits, without taking the time to consider the details needed to properly see the project through. The result? Substantial technical debt and an inadequate cloud setup, which will undoubtedly cause technical challenges and higher costs down the line.

Businesses must prioritise carefully and be thoughtful about their cloud migration journey to be successful. This includes an understanding that cloud adoption should not be a simple ‘lift and shift,’ but rather be viewed as an opportunity to move and improve their infrastructure and ensure continued business innovation and cloud productivity in the future.

Practical ways to start a cloud-based project

There are four key steps to bear in mind during a migration project: assess, mobilise, migrate and modernise, and optimise.

Assess: Assessment is required to gain a thorough understanding of your current on-premise environment. This will result in a list of the various workloads and interdependencies between them, the complexity and impact of the migration, and an understanding of who owns each workload, all of which will help prioritise the order in which they are migrated.

Mobilise: Businesses then need to build a cloud migration plan that will prioritise the workloads to migrate and how they will be migrated according to the ‘5 Rs’: rehost, refactor, re-platform, rebuild and replace.

Migrate and modernise: Companies need to follow through on the migration plan, starting slowly and going step by step. By taking time to learn from each migration, teams can continue projects with increased expertise each time. An awareness of computing costs is crucial during this phase as it’s likely that they’ll rise due to workloads running in parallel and teams learning to operate in the new environment

Optimise: Finally, start optimising the migrated and modernised workloads in relation to cost, security, performance, reliability and maintainability. This is essential to guarantee a return on investment immediately and on a long-term basis, whilst also increasing developer productivity and supporting business operations as they migrate from an on-site premise to the cloud.

The importance of a strong, reliable team

Many companies understandably focus on the technical aspects of cloud migration, but a critical part of any cloud journey is to make sure the team is along for the ride – they need to have the time to learn, succeed, fail and try again. Typically, if there are changes to the product structure, there will be changes to the organisational structure as well.

Any successful cloud migration starts with a strong driving committee and a core cloud centre of excellence. This group is made up of first adopters, who can learn, make decisions and implement changes quickly. Their initial work will focus on leading the assessment, mobilising and migrating pilot workloads.

Gradually, the cloud centre of excellence will become internal change influencers and enablers for the broader team. This is key to scaling the working team and completing the migration to the cloud within relatively short time frames.

Another key success factor is assessing the current team’s capabilities, and creating training programs accordingly. Following through on these plans in parallel with a phased migration approach will allow team members and leaders to learn about the various cloud services and best practices and implement them during the migration and modernisation phase.

Choosing the right partner

Cloud migrations are complex endeavours and choosing the right partner for the journey is critical to the success of this type of project.

It’s therefore vital that you choose a partner whose cloud architects can support the entire migration process, from assessment to optimisation, from guiding and on-the-job migration and modernisation training to finally helping reduce costs and improve operations in the optimise phase.

By doing this, your team will be able to operate and make changes to your cloud environment independently. This will help speed up innovation and reduce cost and complexity, without the usual dependency on third-party providers or a need to go through complex SOW negotiations every time you want to wow your customers.

Joel Goodman
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Joel Goodman, Client Services Territory Lead for UKI and Israel at DoiT International, has been in the tech industry for 10 years, supporting and consulting customers on building and rolling out technical solutions in the cloud. He has supported customers along this journey across multiple verticals, including media and entertainment, healthcare and energy. Over the last five years, since the launch of Anthos on Google Cloud Platform, Joel has been focusing on the world of hybrid/multi-cloud, helping customers build modern applications and implement a successful hybrid/multi-cloud solution.

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