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    September 1, 2021

    How to Measure the Success of a Cloud Migration

    Every Cloud migration is different.  

    You may be moving one application into the Cloud – or your entire infrastructure.  

    But how do you know if your migration was a success? And how do you define success for your organization? Many companies have a misperception that when the migration work is complete, it’s a success. 

    Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as simply declaring “Mission Accomplished” when the last file has been migrated. You must set goals for your organization at the onset of your migration and measure your success against those predefined goals. 

    What Makes a Cloud Migration Successful? 

    Measuring your progress toward your goals during and after a Cloud migration can ensure no stone was left unturned to minimize disruption, to drive user adoption, and to come in on time and on budget. 

    Start by identifying the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) relevant to your situation and what you’re trying to achieve. Common areas businesses assess to measure migration success include: 

    • Business impact 
    • Project timeline 
    • User experience and adoption  
    • Performance  
    • Security, such as access control, data integrity and network protection 

    Business Impact 

    The biggest question on your mind may be related to the migration’s impact on your business. Have you noticed any benefits? After all, isn’t that why you wanted to move operations to the Cloud? Ask yourself: 

    • What challenges did you want to overcome?  
    • What features or functionality did you want to see?  
    • What risks did you face if you didn’t make these changes? Do you feel confident those risks have been mitigated? 
    • Have your costs aligned with expectations? 
    • Do you have peace of mind related to disaster recovery and backups? 
    • Is your team now able to work productively wherever they are? 
    • Did the migration occur with minimal impact to productivity? 

    Project Timeline 

    You need to establish and track timelines for your journey to the Cloud and determine if they were met and why. These include a target go-live date, delays, and any specific time periods to avoid (e.g., retail operations may not want to migrate during a busy season such as the holidays).  

    Your Cloud partner can build milestones and goals around that timeline, including preliminary deployment, QA (quality assurance) and testing, and a tentative go-live date.  

    When it comes to timelines, every situation is different.  

    • We may have five users in one ERP with an unsophisticated company structure or an organization with thousands of users with a complex system, including subsidiaries and all ERP modules in use. For the latter, we may not move the entire organization at once and instead implement a staggered migration to minimize the impact on the organization.  
    • We look at which databases are tied to the business functions and how well we keep those systems in sync with a partial versus a complete migration.  
    • We implement an extensive project plan that times each component in a staged migration. Steps may include getting the relevant data from an on-premises or remote location, staging it in deployment, and running it through QA and testing. 

    User Experience and Adoption 

    User adoption is critical to any migration to the Cloud. When you move applications to the Cloud, you get the benefits of having a backup in case of a disaster and lowered costs. But if your users are frustrated with their experience using the applications, maybe the migration wasn’t successful. Frustrated users may not fully adopt the new environment, and productivity may suffer. 

    You want to give users the same or better experience than they have today. They are the lifeblood of your business. 

    The good news: It’s easy to measure user adoption. If people use the Cloud solution, that typically means the migration was a success. Users will always find a way around something if they don’t like it. 

    But we all know that buy-in is not guaranteed. To increase the chances of strong user adoption, you should monitor the user experience from the start of the migration process to post-migration. You need to understand how people use a solution before everything changes, from how applications are accessed to how tasks are performed in the Cloud if you’re upgrading or implementing a new solution. Without a baseline, you can’t measure the impact of the migration to your users. 

    Performance 

    Performance metrics should be tracked at the user, server, and application levels. These could include memory and CPU usage, network response times, processing durations and application availability 

    One area of a migration that helps measure performance is the quality assurance (QA) process, which involves all the departments that will work on the platform. QA helps identify whether the system is running as well as it was before by testing it. For example, if you’re migrating an ERP solution to the Cloud, the QA process can determine: 

    • How long does the system take to launch an application? 
    • How long does it take to run a particular process, such as running a monthly report or creating a purchase order? 

    Your team must test the application experience and report back on what they find with complete transparency. Any adjustments that need to be made – such as adding resources or tuning databases – can be done before the migration is complete. 

    Test, Test and Test Again (aka Take QA Seriously) 

    You can’t just assume all will go well; you must make sure everything works as you intended. That’s the only way to ensure the migration meets expectations.  

    Some of the least successful migrations did not take the QA and testing stage of the migration seriously. For example, printing checks is a common way companies pay their vendors or team members. If they can’t do that, they’re in trouble.  

    You’d be shocked how many times we’ve heard companies move an ERP to the Cloud and never tested printing an actual check; it may go to a different printer with a driver that was never added to the Cloud ERP. If they didn’t test for this and the system goes live, they may get to the check-run day and find they can’t print checks.  

    To effectively conduct QA testing, you need a team of people who will set time aside and perform their business functions as if they were running the business live.  

    Just because a task may take a couple more seconds than in the old system, extra time may be offset by other benefits of the new Cloud-based system, such as remote access and backup. 

    Security 

    Security is often an afterthought for some companies because a cyberattack has never hit them, so they figure it can’t happen to them. But it can, and if it did, the consequences could be devastating.  

    When we do a Cloud migration, security is at the forefront of what we’re tracking from the start to after go-live. We know there are bad actors out there trying to do bad things. 

    Security-oriented metrics may include: 

    • Access control 
    • Vulnerability 
    • Security incidents 
    • Time to detect, resolve and contain 
    • Vendor security ratings and response 

    We start from a position of least privilege and least access and gradually open access to those who need it. That’s a safer approach than granting open access to everyone at the start and then tightening it down. We may have migrations where we hit roadblocks, and something doesn't work because the security is tight, but that is part of building a secure and trustworthy Cloud deployment. 

    Value of Working With a Trusted Cloud Provider 

    Ideally, you will engage with a trusted Cloud partner such as Enavate with expertise and a reliable process based on years of experience with Cloud migrations. That partner will work with you to ensure the process runs smoothly, and checks and balances are in place to meet your expectations for the move.  

    At Enavate, we can provide a proof-of-concept (POC) deployment of clients’ applications before pulling the trigger on a complete migration. In that POC, you can see the differences and determine whether the migration will be successful from the users’ standpoint. 

    A partner can help you build a roadmap that will migrate your data and applications from on-premises to the Cloud and improve on what you’re already doing. We also collaborate with our clients to work through the migration process and address any issues we find. 

    Learn more about partnering with Enavate for a Cloud migration. Schedule a Whiteboard Session with one of our Cloud experts. 

    Tag(s): cloud

    Stefan Lowrie

    Stefan Lowrie is Senior Director, Service Delivery at Enavate. He has worked in the IT industry for nearly 30 years, leading teams that deliver high-availability IT solutions and services. With a background in business management, sales, and hands-on IT support, Stefan uses his experience to transform businesses and the lives they touch. When not working with clients and his team, he enjoys spending time with his wife and three kids traveling and discovering new things to do in his hometown of Tampa, Florida.

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