Are you considering a move to the cloud? In our recent survey of data center professionals, respondents indicated their top priorities for 2017 were private cloud (27 percent) and migration to public cloud (24 percent).

However, trends also indicate that the cloud decision-making process is no longer exclusive to the IT team. Business factors play an important part in the decision. It’s not just because of pressure from users to improve availability and speed up development of new services. Business executives are looking at the potential of cloud to improve key drivers of success such as agility, mobility, collaboration, innovation and time to market.

A Joint Journey

As a result, commentators suggest that cloud migration decisions should take the form of a joint business and IT journey to realize greater value from technology expenditure. A joint approach ensures that IT and business strategies are aligned. It also reduces the risk of ‘black IT’ where individual departments bypass IT, order cloud services directly and threaten governance.

So, a good starting point for your migration planning team would be a review of business priorities to see how cloud migration could meet the organization’s challenges and goals. By then assessing the costs, resources requirements and practicalities of migration, the team can calculate the potential value and ROI of a project.

Review the Drivers

Looking at migration drivers, cost reduction is a common goal for both business and IT. Cloud migration can reduce the cost of doing business by giving wider access to applications that improve productivity or automate critical processes. And, migration can help IT reduce the cost of delivering those services.

Cloud access is essential if your business wants to increase mobility and ensure employees can work and collaborate efficiently from any location on any device. Legacy solutions may not support that level of mobility.

Innovation and time to market are also critical for business success. Cloud can provide scalable resources to support faster product and service development, while reducing the risk of project delays.

If new market opportunities open up, business executives want the flexibility to increase IT resources and the agility to adapt the enterprise quickly. Mergers, acquisitions and restructuring place similar demands.

Plan the Right Fit

IT teams faced with these challenges struggle with the limitations of legacy infrastructures, reduced budgets and lack of investment funds to deliver change. The cloud therefore offers an attractive alternative.

However, before rushing into the project, it’s important to look at practical considerations, particularly if your business is subject to regulatory compliance or SLAs with stringent security requirements. That could impact the applications and services you can migrate and the type of cloud you adopt. And, some applications may have dependencies with others that you need to retain on-premise.

You also need to consider the way users will access cloud-based applications and services, as well as the level of training needed to ensure a smooth transition. It can be helpful to identify applications and groups of users that would benefit from early migration to the cloud. These pilot groups can help demonstrate benefits or potential obstacles to cloud adoption and prepare the way for larger-scale migrations.

Next Stage

In future blogs in this series, we will look in more detail at the migration process from an IT perspective, but, as a starting point, it’s essential to create a plan that takes account of the wider issues around cloud migration.

For more information, please check out the articles and infographics on our website.