15 Ways To Ensure A Move To The Cloud Achieves Its Maximum Potential Value

There’s no doubt cloud migration has been a hot topic for businesses across industries in recent months, with countless articles on the benefits that come with it. However, once set in motion, cloud migration may not provide all of the productivity and security improvements or cost savings that many companies were expecting—but that could be because of their own mistakes.

There are many reasons businesses fail to achieve the full value of a move to the cloud, ranging from unforeseen costs and responsibilities to leaving valuable services and capabilities on the table. If your business is contemplating or beginning migration to the cloud, make sure you achieve the maximum potential value of the move by following the tips shared below by members of Forbes Technology Council.

1. Begin With A Comprehensive Strategy

Where most companies fail is in not adequately preparing for such a big transition. To achieve a digital transformation and create substantial value as a differentiated and innovative player, it’s essential to first set the foundations for change. Businesses must begin by developing an optimal cloud strategy that aligns with their goals and clearly identifies opportunities and risks along the way. – Avani Desai, Schellman

2. Clearly Identify The Business Case And The Services Needed

While the value in the cloud is very clear, failing to identify which cloud services you want to adopt for a specific business case is the primary cause of missed ROI. Clearly identify the need. It could be access to a software as a service business function—for example, shipping, collaboration, lower storage costs, seasonal scalability and so on. Seeing the cloud as a series of different tools with different ROI levers is critical. – Ashok Balasubramanian, Open Weaver Inc.

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3. Calculate All Applicable Costs

Evaluate the precise cost and create a comprehensive plan before considering any cloud implementation. Cloud infrastructure is complicated, and each of its aspects affects the final cost—particularly the CPU power your solution requires or any cached data on a hard drive. Though the move requires calculation, the cloud appears to be secure, flexible and adjustable, so it should be able to reflect all changes in your business. – Slava Podmurnyi, Visartech Inc.

4. Ensure Proper Security Safeguards Are In Place

If companies migrate to the cloud without the proper safeguards in place to protect against security threats, the full value of cloud adoption could be overshadowed by the cost of a security incident. The costs of accidental misconfigurations and undetected vulnerabilities can add up very quickly if discovered and exploited by a threat actor. – Daniel Schiappa, Arctic Wolf

5. Eliminate The Need For Redundant Infrastructure And Upgrades

The changing business environment puts more of a spotlight on the value of cloud adoption. Organizations make the mistake of not eliminating the need for redundant infrastructure and expensive system upgrades. To drive the greatest return on investment, a company must ensure that the cloud service model it adopts aligns with current and future business needs. – Perry Menezes, MorganFranklin Consulting

6. Establish A Modern Observability Strategy

What can’t be seen can’t be fixed. Monitoring and observability strategies that worked in the past aren’t adequate for the visibility challenges that distributed cloud applications bring. To benefit from improved performance, cost reductions and increased productivity, businesses need a modern observability strategy that addresses the unique requirements of modern distributed cloud architectures. – Erez Berkner, Lumigo

7. Understand Shared Responsibility Models

As companies transition to the cloud, they might prioritize speed over security. But a big mistake is not understanding the shared responsibility model with cloud providers and thus not protecting their data properly because they assume that’s the cloud provider’s job. Compromised data security reduces the ROI of the data’s value in financial losses, potential regulatory fines and reputational damages. – Ameesh Divatia, Baffle, Inc.

8. Define Key Performance Indicators For User Experience

A lack of well-defined KPI targets for end-user experience and accurate ways to measure them is often the reason why expected productivity gains are not achieved and costs go up. It’s even worse when there are lots of legacy apps to migrate. Setting clear goals for end-user experience and properly benchmarking them before, during and after cloud migrations ensures productivity gains and cost targets are met. – Patrick Ostiguy, Accedian

9. Make Sure User Satisfaction Doesn’t Come At The Expense Of Security

Where many businesses struggle in migrating from legacy systems to modern cloud platforms is balancing consumer experience and security. End-user satisfaction directly impacts business success and provides a competitive advantage, but it cannot come at the expense of robust security measures that keep sensitive data out of the hands of bad actors. – Andrés Irlando, Zayo Group

10. Modernize Your Technology Stack

Companies—particularly big companies— usually accumulate a lot of legacy and technical debt over the years. In many cases, modernizing a company’s entire technology stack and applications is necessary to realize the cloud’s native benefits. Productivity gains and cost savings are always an outcome of the choices one makes across the aspects of architecture design and process harmonization. – Maciej Kranz, KONE

11. Make Sure The Team Is Fully On Board

There are three reasons cloud integrations might fail. The first is that the functionality is not understood or not complete enough to support your applications. The second is when the team has not bought into or isn’t excited about the success of the migration or integration. And third is inflexibility—there has to be learning and experimentation in the project. We have all reached a point where technology is becoming an art form. If you want the cloud, you have to love it! – Jim Parkinson, North American Bancard

12. Develop A Strong Incident Alert And Management Process

Although the cloud offers many benefits for teams, its adoption comes with its own share of operational risks. Geographically dispersed teams using hundreds of tools on the cloud further challenge cloud incident response workflows. Organizations that fail to adopt a solid incident alerting and management process jeopardize their opportunity to maximize the value of the cloud. – Judit Sharon, OnPage Corporation

13. Adopt Modern Security Postures

One mistake CIOs make during cloud migration is failing to sufficiently rethink how to assess and monitor for cloud vulnerabilities—for example, putting too much pressure on developers to push out new code or underestimating the impact of complex multicloud architectures on misconfiguration risk. Investigating and adopting more modern security postures can minimize risk and improve investment value. – Anna Frazzetto, Tential

14. Continue To ‘Move Up The Stack’

Cloud migration that stops at moving physical servers to cloud virtual machines is missing out on 80% of the upside. The real productivity (and opportunity to save costs) comes from continuing to “move up the stack”—adopting higher-level cloud primitives and real platforms and swapping out internally managed infrastructure for SaaS. – Josh Koenig, Pantheon Systems, Inc.

15. Take Advantage Of Cloud Agility

Many companies fail to understand the agility and IT democratization the cloud can bring. Enterprises fear cloud sprawl and security because of a lack of awareness of how to implement checks and balances. They end up having rigid, process-oriented infrastructure setups in the cloud, simply using the cloud as another infrastructure as a service data center and failing to take advantage of automatic scaling, the serverless economy and more. – Thurupathan Vijayakumar, Aventude


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