Moving from On-Premise to the Cloud? Here’s What You Need to Know
By now, it’s pretty obvious that cloud computing is more than just hype. Today, 70% of organizations have at least one application in the cloud, according to IDG’s 2016 Enterprise Cloud Computing Survey. However, 56% are “still identifying IT operations that are candidates for cloud hosting.”
This is likely to change rapidly. In a survey of 2000 IT professionals, Intel Security found more than 80% of IT budgets will be committed to cloud apps and solutions in 15 months.
If you’re in the early stages of considering cloud solutions – or more specifically, considering migrating your on-premises communications systems to the cloud - here are a few things to think about:
Clarify Organizational Priorities
Digital transformation is a high priority for many organizations, but what’s the best way to put pursue it? CIOs and their teams should fully understand organizational priorities and the expected outcomes for the associated technology solutions that support them. For example, if increasing customer satisfaction is at the top of the CEO’s list, communications technology should be a top priority in the move to the cloud because of its ability to streamline customer support processes and integrated with applications like your CRM to deliver more personalized customer experiences.
Many organizations start their planning in a “cloud-or-bust” state of mind. But your move to the cloud doesn’t have to be all-or-nothing. Because cloud solutions inherently make it easier to scale and add new users or locations, a phased rollout is a popular migration path for many organizations.
Effective planning also will keep costs down. At the recent Enterprise Connect 2017 conference, Chris Abrams, director of corporate systems at Yum! Brands, said: "When you simplify what you deploy out there and you deploy specific services, and the business justifies that specific service, the cloud in some occasions is cheaper to do." A technology audit can help you pinpoint exactly what applications you need and which teams or locations are the best fit to migrate first, ensuring that your cloud solution fits your needs, timelines and resources.
Assemble the Ideal Team
Every successful rollout depends on three things: buy-in across the organization, technical expertise, and alignment with organizational objectives. Having the right team in place is essential to starting your migration project off on the right foot to address those needs. At its core, your team should have three critical people participating: a C-suite executive who can authorize and evangelize your project at all levels of the organization, a technical expert who understands the ins and outs of your existing technology but is also up-to-date on newer tech (this may be you), and a business advocate who understands your business workflows in detail and the human elements behind them. Use this team as the basis for establishing the foundational project plan and identifying additional team members for supporting roles around research, training or integration needs.
Know What to Ask Your Vendor
Before evaluating vendors, put together a list of questions that you’ll ask each provider. Some questions to ask include: “How easy is it to add and manage users?”, “How does your architecture ensure system uptime and reliability?” and “What support services are available?”
However, perhaps more important than basic feature checklists, is taking the time to develop questions specific to your current and preferred business processes. Do you need to integrate with a specific CRM or email client? Do you need mobile apps to support remote workers? Is there something your current solution is not delivering that would help to improve productivity? If you could make your collaboration tools work exactly the way you wanted, what would they do differently? Remember, bells and whistles mean nothing if the solution doesn’t meet the needs of your users.
While there is more to consider in any technology transformation, these core requirements will help to set your team on the right path for prompting internal discussion and selecting the best solution for your business.