Cloud computing has been popular for over a decade, and enterprises of all sizes have begun adopting it to reap its benefits. However, not everyone has been successful. This could be attributed to a variety of factors, some of which can be traced back to the original objectives of the organization. Initially, many enterprises moved to the cloud in the belief that it would save them money, while others did so for the rapid innovation opportunities it offered. Still, others had different reasons. According to various research data, the success rate of cloud adoption has been between 40 and 70 percent. While this has improved, there are still many reasons why enterprises may not be successful. We will discuss some of these reasons and better ways to approach cloud adoption in this blog.
Common Cloud Migration Challenges and Solutions
Challenge: The absence of well-defined business objectives
As with any other endeavor, migrating to the cloud for the sake of migrating will not yield the desired results. Enterprises must first understand the key drivers for migrating to the cloud, and then develop a roadmap aligned with their OKRs (Objectives and Key Results). For some organizations, the key driver may be accelerating innovation. For others, it may be a faster time to market. For others, it may be increased scale or cost savings. It could be a combination of these or more. The important thing is to carefully consider how the cloud can solve your specific problems.
The first step in cloud migration is to define your organization’s overall business goals. What do you hope to achieve by migrating to the cloud? Do you want to reduce costs, improve agility, or increase innovation? Once you have a clear understanding of your overall goals, you can begin to develop specific objectives for the cloud migration. Then, assess the technical, financial, and cultural implications of migrating to the cloud. This will help you to make informed decisions about potential challenges and the next steps Finally, develop a plan for measuring the success of the cloud migration. This will help you to track your progress and ensure that you are on track to achieve your objectives.
Here are some additional tips for defining your business objectives for cloud migration:
Make sure your objectives are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART).
Get input from all stakeholders, including business, IT, security, and other functions.
Be realistic about what you can achieve with cloud migration.
Be willing to adjust your objectives as needed.
Challenge: Lack of a clear migration strategy
One of the biggest challenges organizations face is a lack of a clear migration strategy. Without a clear plan, it is easy to get lost in the details and make mistakes. Unlike a decade or two earlier, the technology landscape is fast evolving, randomly adopting every technology without a strategy in place can lead your organization astray impacting your customers, employees, and investors.
Solution: A well-defined migration strategy should include the following elements:
The first step to overcoming the challenge of a lack of a clear migration strategy is to develop a clear plan. This plan should be based on the organization’s business goals and an assessment of the organization’s current IT environment. The plan should also include –
A clear understanding and documentation of the organization’s business goals.
An assessment of the organization’s current IT environment, existing investments, and business and technical relationships.
A selection of the right cloud platform vendor.
Your data and application landscape.
A plan for migrating data and applications.
A plan for testing and validating the migrated environment.
A plan for managing the cloud environment after migration and keeping it secure and compliant.
Often, starting with small, important but not critical workloads and iteratively expanding the workload and scope would help learn the technology, improve the processes, and gain efficiencies and course correct if needed. You may follow the prescriptive guidance provided by Cloud Vendors (AWS, Google, Microsoft) for a well-rounded approach.
Challenge: Lack of cloud expertise
Many organizations lack the in-house expertise to migrate to the cloud, especially smaller enterprises. This is because they may not have a thought leader (such as an Enterprise Architect or Chief Technology Officer) who can provide the necessary guidance and direction. Without this, technical staff may become directionless and explore various paths that may lead to duplication of effort, lack of coordination, and incoherence. This would drain valuable company resources or expose the organization to security and compliance risks Typically, any large technical initiative is a function of technology, people, and process. Specifically for organizations with regulatory requirements, it is paramount to consider security and compliance implications. Additionally, not all employees may have the technical knowledge or motivation to undertake this complex journey.
Solution: Hire a cloud migration consultant, partner, and/or train your employees
If your organization does not have the in-house expertise to migrate to the cloud, you can hire a cloud migration consultant with extensive industry experience and a track record of success. They can guide your team based on their learnings and help you avoid common pitfalls. Additionally, organizations should develop a comprehensive migration plan that addresses all of the potential risks and challenges. A cloud migration consultant can help you develop a migration strategy, guide you in migrating your data and applications, and manage your cloud environment after migration. In addition, they can devise a plan to train your employees to make them productive in the cloud. You could then set up a Cloud Center of Excellence, a Community of Practice, or a Cloud Incubation team to foster and develop cloud competence within your organization.
Here are some of the benefits of hiring a cloud migration consultant:
They can help you save time and money by avoiding common mistakes.
They can help you choose the right cloud platform and services for your needs.
They can help you migrate your data and applications smoothly and efficiently.
They can help you manage your cloud environment after migration.
They can help you train your employees to be productive in the cloud.
Challenge: Picking the right cloud vendor
Unlike a decade ago, there are now many cloud vendors offering a diverse set of products and solutions. This can be overwhelming, as each of these major vendors provides hundreds of services in areas ranging from infrastructure services to data services to AI services. While adopting cloud services is easy, leveraging them in a way that aligns with your company culture and existing investments in technology and processes can be challenging. Additionally, while the general concepts of cloud computing are similar, the actual implementation may be different for different clouds, which can overwhelm your technical staff. Finally, other logistical challenges such as tracking resources, billing, and consumption can make managing cloud services a nightmare.
Solution: Identify strategic and tactical needs and a strategic partner
Every company is unique, with its own culture, people, processes, and technology. They may also have existing business relationships with other vendors, legacy code and infrastructure, and vendor lock-ins. Therefore, it is important to identify a cloud partner that aligns with your long-term objectives and can interoperate with your existing ecosystem when choosing a cloud partner. You can leverage other providers for short-term tactical needs, as the nature of cloud computing allows this without the need for long-term commitments. However, you may be losing out on deep discounts. Ensure that your technical leadership or consultant is empowered to understand these dependencies and enlists prioritized options to make a strategic decision. Additional factors that go into a decision-making process may also include support and operations, geographic spread of the services, and their readiness for regulatory, security, and compliance requirements. One key thing to always consider is not to make decisions based on the features offered. There is more to choosing a cloud partner than just features.
Challenge: Security and Compliance Concerns
Security concerns are another common challenge that organizations face when migrating to the cloud. Cloud computing can introduce new security risks, such as data breaches and unauthorized access. No Chief Executive Officer (CEO) or Chief Operating Officer (COO) wants to see their company’s name in the news related to security issues. It is important to remember that security is a shared responsibility between the organization and the cloud vendor. The organization must carefully assess the security risks associated with cloud migration and operations, and take steps to prevent, detect, and mitigate these risks. The cloud vendor must also provide adequate security measures to protect the organization’s data, especially if the data is sensitive, including personally identifiable information and the organization is in a regulated industry.
Solution: Perform Security Analysis and Implement security best practices
Organizations can implement several security best practices to mitigate the risks associated with cloud migration. These best practices include:
Using strong passwords and multi-factor authentication.
If you’re leveraging Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) keep software up to date with the most recent security fixes.
Encrypting data at rest and in transit.
Implementing access control policies.
Proactively Monitoring cloud activity for suspicious behavior.
Implementing Infrastructure as a Code and Policy as code to prevent drift.
Having Good Observability tools in place with Auditing logs.
Having Prevention, Detection, and Remediation playbooks and tools.
Implement a security incident response plan.
Leveraging Partners who specialize in Security.
Educate your employees about security best practices.
Regularly backing up data and have playbooks for Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery.
These best practices can help organizations to protect their data and systems from unauthorized access, use, disclosure, disruption, modification, or destruction.
Challenge: Cost escalations
The cost of cloud migration can be a major concern for organizations. If not managed properly, cloud computing can be more expensive than traditional on-premises IT. However, with the right engineering discipline and FinOps best practices, it can also be cost-effective in the long run and help your business grow with agility. It is important to carefully evaluate the costs of cloud migration and make sure that the benefits outweigh the costs.
Solution: Obtain a thorough understanding of the costs
The first step in addressing the issue of cost concerns is to obtain a thorough understanding of the costs of cloud migration. This includes the costs of the cloud platform, the costs of migrating data and applications, and the costs of managing and operating the cloud environment after migration. Once you have a thorough understanding of the costs, you can make an informed decision about whether cloud migration is the right choice for your organization. Here are some of the key factors to consider when evaluating the costs of cloud migration:
The cost of the cloud services you will need.
The cost of managing and maintaining your cloud infrastructure.
The cost of any potential downtime or security incidents.
The potential benefits of cloud computing, such as increased agility, scalability, and cost savings.
Leveraging FinOps services either provided the cloud vendor (for example) to use a third party solution.
By carefully considering all of these factors, you can make sure that the costs of cloud migration are justified by the potential benefits.
Challenge: Navigating Cloud and Cultural Shift
Cloud computing is a major shift in the way businesses operate. It offers several benefits, including scalability, flexibility, and cost savings. However, moving to the cloud can also be a major challenge. One of the biggest challenges is change management and it can impact organizations in different ways based on the Organization’s structure and culture (Topology of Organizational Structure)
Change management is the process of helping people adapt to change. It is essential for any successful cloud migration. The goal of change management is to ensure that everyone in the organization understands the benefits of the cloud, and is prepared for the changes that will be required.
Solution: Effective Change Management
Businesses can take several steps to navigate the cloud change management process. First, it is important to have a clear understanding of the business case for moving to the cloud. This will help to build support for the change within the organization. Second, it is important to communicate the benefits of the cloud to employees. This can be done through training, workshops, and other communication channels. Third, it is important to provide employees with the resources they need to make the transition to the cloud. This may include training, tools, and support. Here are some additional tips for navigating cloud change management and cultural shift:
Gain executive buy-in. Cloud adoption is a strategic decision that requires the support of senior leadership. Make sure that your executive team is on board with the change and is willing to invest in the resources needed to make it a success.
Create a change management plan. A well-defined change management plan will help to ensure that the transition to the cloud is smooth and successful. The plan should include a timeline, budget, and communication strategy.
Communicate early and often. It is important to communicate the benefits of cloud computing to employees throughout the change process. This will help to build trust and support for the change.
Provide training and support. Employees will need training on how to use the new cloud-based tools and applications. Make sure that you provide the necessary training and support to help them make the transition smoothly.
Celebrate successes. As you make progress in your cloud adoption journey, be sure to celebrate your successes. This will help to keep employees motivated and engaged in the change process.
By following these tips, you can increase your chances of success in navigating cloud change management and cultural shift.
Cloud migration can be a complex and challenging process, but it can also be a very rewarding one. By carefully planning and executing your migration, you can reap the many benefits of cloud computing. If you are considering migrating to the cloud, we encourage you to contact us for a free consultation. Our expert consultants would be happy to discuss your specific needs and help you develop a migration plan that meets your business goals. We help many customers address these challenges and accelerate cloud migration. If you need assistance, please reach out to us and our customer teams will be glad to assist you.