The journey of cloud migration — Chaos to Order

The cloud migration journey, the new world that everyone wants to be part of, but where do you start?

I have learnt that no two migrations are the same, the journey to get you there will differ from organisation to organisation, each will have a different starting position, but all usually start with chaos.

There are lots of common factors that drive success throughout the cloud migration experience to help restore order to your world…


7 things to consider as you set out on your Cloud Migration journey

Over the years I have been involved in a number of large-scale transformation cloud migration deliveries in partnership with my customers. One of the key learnings is this: Introducing new technology is relatively easy but driving change and adoption is much harder.

So how can we effectively manage that change?
Change often feels a bit like chaos. It’s a common feeling in large scale messy projects. But there are ways to counter that chaos and turn it into order to ensure a smooth transition into a new world that will modernise your business and make it ready for a scalable and flexible future.

I’ve outlined 7 fundamental starting points that typically work for us. Considering these should help ease you towards that brave new world and ensure that stakeholders are all aligned and your people are united around a clear goal and objective.

Are you ready?
Undertake a maturity assessment so you know where the gaps are in your current capability. Then you can move forward with confidence and make smart decisions on your cloud migration and also consider post migration targets so you understand what is needed to operate effectively.

Define the ‘why’
Define the reason for the migration, define the outcomes to support your business and use this to drive the benefits case you have laid out — nobody wants to aimlessly walk into the wilderness with all the dangers out there, understand where you are going and why, then you can make sure you get to that destination.

Agile planning
Agility and smart planning is about the right blend, they’re not mutually exclusive. Agile allows us to embrace and be ready for the inevitable change we expect — so Agile Planning is iterative and incremental. And planning is not just about the migration itself of course, you need to be forward thinking with an eye on how you are going to run once you have modernised.

The right strategy
Think longer term, each application will have different requirements and you need to review independently to know what the right strategy is, use the 7Rs to support the decision making — retire, retain, relocate, rehost, repurchase, replatform, refactor. It’s easy to say let’s just lift & shift it (rehost) but this isn’t always the best approach as you will not get to realise all the benefits of the cloud or the potential cost savings out there. Strategy is about the future — define where you want to be and then decide what is right for you.

Wade through the treacle
There is organisational ‘treacle’ everywhere — it’s sticky and it slows things down. You want change to be as frictionless as possible but there are processes that don’t fit, knowledge gaps, tech silos, change disruptors etc

You are going to need trust and influence to make the changes and wade through the treacle, so build the relationships early across teams and departments. Ensure you do things like Stakeholder Mapping, a powerful human-centred approach from the Design Thinking toolkit. This will help you know who to keep informed and who the movers and shakers are.

The right people for the right jobs
Choosing the right team for the job is very important — experience matters.
People that come with the successes & battle scars of doing this before are invaluable. But it’s not all about the old pros — you need to blend the team with some more junior members, they can bring the extra vim, vigour and new ideas and they will become the experts of the future so your next migration has a greater chance of success.

We’re only humans
Maybe it’s obvious but digital transformation (of which cloud migration is a key part) is not just a technical challenge, it’s fundamentally about people. At Daemon our recent research report showed us time and time again that the thing that causes digital transformation projects to fail are almost always human factors: misalignment of key stakeholders

Start by uniting people around a movement within your organisation. Allow people to express their hopes and fears for this big change in a candid, open and inclusive way right from the outset. Set your ‘North Star’ together, not in siloes of the most senior stakeholders. Then communicate often and clearly as you go on the journey so ALL stakeholders know what’s going on and you gain and build trust across the organisation. Celebrate your successes and make sure you learn from your mistakes — because you will make them!

This list is clearly not definitive, but I hope this gives you an understanding of how to put some fundamental components in place when you start out on your cloud migration journey.

A cloud migration needs more than just a plan; think about the chaos and how that will impact you, build a clear path to regaining the order so you can push forward on a successful cloud migration journey.

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