Part one of our series on driving a successful cloud migration, discussed the concept of the ‘guiding coalition’ which is a team of experts from units across the organization – IT, infrastructure, business, marketing, etc., - as the optimal leader for navigating a cloud journey.
We also discussed how important establishing this coalition is for taking into account the needs and goals of various towers.
This post discusses three critically strategic assessment processes that need to be conducted to ensure the migration is focused and aligned with the organization’s business objective, technology resources, and skill sets.
Application Assessment. What’s the score?
How can a service provider decide which apps to move to the cloud and which to leave on prem, and in what order to migrate the apps?
The difficulty in setting the prioritization lies in achieving agreement regarding the parameters for decision-making. Clearly, different stakeholders across the service provider’s organization will have their own preferences around prioritization. So, how do you get all teams aligned around the migration strategy?
The key is to adopt a methodology for scoring the value of migrating each app. To do this, first you will need to come to an agreement on the criteria for evaluation. These should include parameters such as the technical complexity of the migration, business value, the risk involved in executing the migration, and the cost of operation on prem vs. on cloud, among others.
Next a weighted scoring system for the criteria should be agreed on, and a scorecard should be constructed, which can be populated with the results of the application evaluations.
Scoring will likely not be a simple task – considering the different objectives and agendas of the various stakeholders who will be weighing in on the assessment parameters. But an objective methodology that has gained consensus will go a long way to achieving broad agreement and acceptance of the outcomes.
Migration approach assessment. The 6Rs of the migration strategy
For the sake of the prioritization, it is not sufficient to determine only which applications to migrate or when, but also how to execute the migration. This is where the ‘6R’ strategy of cloud migration come into play.
The six “R’s” represent six options for the migration of each app or system, and include:
- Rehost, aka “lift and shift” – which means migrating apps to the cloud as-is with only the minimum essential modifications;
- Re-platform, aka “lift, tinker, and shift” – requiring a few modifications, though not in the core architecture (yielding limited benefits);
- Repurchase a new product or service to incorporate a few changes in the cloud architecture;
- Refactor or rearchitect the application as cloud-native to add new features and scale for improved agility;
- Retire or ‘turning off’ IT assets that don’t impact productivity, and which – in time, may be permanently retired;
- Retain or ‘keep as-is.’ Applications that are retained on-prem today may be candidates for migrating to cloud in the future.
For each app, you need to consider the most effective migration path in terms of cost-benefits. Depending on a particular app’s function or architecture, it may make most sense to choose a particular route like retire or retain. However, where there are multiple viable migration paths, the cost-benefit picture may change significantly. Note that replatformed or repurchased applications often deliver the fullest benefits of cloud.
Skills assessment. Putting priorities to action
Once you have assessed your apps portfolio and cloudification priorities have been mapped out, the next step is to perform a skills assessment, namely, to identify the skills you need for both executing the migration as well as for maintaining a cloudified organization. Next map the skills you need with the skills you have in-house today.
Ensuring success then will require closing the gap with training relevant employees on the cloud-related skills that are needed or hiring talent that comes with the requisite skill set. A third and complementary option to accelerate your migration and which yields highly effective results is engaging with vendors and/or integrators who can augment your staff with their own people who bring to the table well-honed cloud expertise.
And, stay tuned for the next installment of our series on how to succeed with your cloud migration, in which we will discuss how to communicate the cloud journey within the organization to gain buy-in and engagement of employees.