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People are taking a different look at Cloud after all the disruptions in 2020.
Organizations thought “they had an idea of how they were going to handle this. And then all of a sudden, what was typically an in-person business became a remote business.
“And what typically became employees going into the office and working, or working in a retail presence or working physically in a factory or a distribution center became remote workers, working on various devices in a way that they had never had to work had to work before,” said Kevin Armstrong, Enterprise Strategy Leader at Enavate.
Forward-thinking businesses that leveraged Cloud technology as a means for growth, adjusted quickly. “They weren't struggling to try to figure out how they were going to keep the business moving. They were looking at how they were going to take market share,” he said.
However, a lot of organizations “thought or hoped they were in a position to go somewhere to deal with these things,” said Russ Riley, Director of Cloud Services at Enavate. If they even considered migrating to the Cloud, it was likely something put off to the following year.
If you know you’ve got to migrate, BUT you’re going to wait until Q3 of 2021 to decide how and when you want to do it …. that’s NOT a Cloud migration strategy.
That’s HOPE as a strategy and it’s delaying the inevitable and the costs associated with it.
You’ve identified you know you need to migrate.
You’ve identified that you’re at risk.
You’ve identified it’s been a challenge to do business with your current solutions.
You’ve identified you’ve got a problem.
BUT …. If you find yourself saying you’re going to wait because you can’t even fathom having to deal with this right now, that’s a REAL problem.
“We get so many people who are like, ‘I hope I have time to do that next year. I hope I have time to do it.’ Hope is not a strategy,” Armstrong said.
A successful Cloud migration doesn’t take hope. It takes a solid plan.
“How do I plan properly for this? How do I make sure that the decision doesn't surprise me because of things that are going on in the world or things that are happening in my business? How can I have a plan that leads me to a strategy of getting all of my systems into the Cloud properly and really keeping my business moving at the right pace?” Armstrong said.
What companies need to do is “bring the data together back to where it's meaningful for the business.” Riley said. And a Cloud strategy can achieve that objective, even though it may take time.
“I think we all know that doesn't happen overnight, but a Cloud strategy can be part of the glue that brings the data together to make better business decisions,” he said.
Before you do anything else, start by examining your organization’s goals.
You’re undertaking a business transformation, not merely upgrading or implementing new technology. At the end of the day, you want to “build the technology such that it serves your users in a way that makes their jobs and their day better, but that has to happen when you have a plan and a way to deliver on it,” Armstrong said.
Begin the process early, as it will take a while. “Start getting it into your budget. Make it a recurring cost that you can plan for over a period of time,” Armstrong said.
“If it ends up being this half million-dollar project in the middle of a difficult time, you're never going to do it. But if you make it a process that where you're setting money aside for that, you're investing in that over time and you're planning for it very well in your budget, then it's easy to do because you've already had a plan.”
Assess what you’re doing with your existing tech stack. Are you already working with Cloud applications? (If you’re using Office 365, ADP for payroll or a point-of-sale system, chances are they’re on the Cloud, according to Armstrong.)
What should or shouldn’t be migrated? Not everything is “Cloud worthy,” according to Riley. “There will be workloads that reside on-premises or may reside in the Cloud over here. You may have applications that reside in another cloud or your own private Cloud,” he said.
Do you need to migrate everything at once? Not necessarily. It’s worth taking the time to determine what your organization needs right away and what you may eventually grow into.
When it comes to Cloud technology, there are numerous options such as private Cloud, public Cloud (e.g., Azure), virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), hybrid Cloud (combining private and public options) and others. Determining the best course of action calls for finding the right technology partner.
“If you're talking to a partner and you're talking about a large scale implementation, ask them how they're going to get you there, ask them how they're going to interact with you,” Armstrong said.
“Ask them what that looks like, because I think you'll find, you'll learn a lot. You understand whether they're focused on their own activities or whether they're focused on your success.”
Having a technology partner, however, does not mean shirking an organization’s responsibility to determine a successful migration. “It’s everyone's role and responsibility in determining what success looks like at the end of any given milestone, much less the end of a project and going to full production,” Riley said.
A successful transformation requires comprehensive planning and preparation. This visual can help your organization create a process and a critical list of call to action items.
“I think it comes down to embracing it, making sure that you have a plan, making sure that you have a strategy, making sure that you have a partner that can help take away some of that risk, give you the comfort that you're going to get there and know that you're going to navigate that process as seamlessly as you possibly can,” according to Armstrong.
Ultimately, looking forward should be the primary consideration for any transformation effort. “When you're taking a look at your technology, you really need to be as forward thinking as you can possibly be. Because if you're not, your competitors are,” he said.
Want to learn more? Watch the video presentation with Kevin Armstrong and Russ Riley, “REAL TALK on Your Dynamics ERP Migration Strategy.” No matter where you are in your Cloud journey, if can use some REAL TALK about Cloud, connect with one of our experts to set up a free whiteboard session to help you map out your path.