Modern enterprises need cloud-first strategies to stay competitive in today’s business environment. It’s no surprise that according to Gartner, by 2022, cloud shift across crucial enterprise IT markets will increase from 19 to 28 percent. Furthermore, IDG found that organizations have invested an average budget of $3.5 million on cloud applications, platforms, and services.
There are many compelling reasons for this, including a fundamental need for organizations to be more agile or to minimize costs. With cloud solutions, companies can also take advantage of quality, scalable, elastic storage. By contrast, an on-premises solution requires sufficient investment in hardware, software, and IT staff to cover peak storage requirements. Cloud offers more flexibility for redundancy and elastic scalability for compute rapid roll-out of new applications, and ready access to advanced cloud-based services like Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Even when considering these benefits and available budget, there are still concerns around cloud migration. The main issue: cloud migration has traditionally been a complex and risky process. Depending on the size of the migration project, it can become a labor-intensive process and a drain on internal IT resources. So, how do organizations minimize the complexity and speed the time to return on investment (ROI)? By having a holistic view of the current legacy systems and a carefully mapped plan for implementation.
Reviewing internal infrastructure
Migrating to the cloud provides both application and cost advantages. However, the process must be properly planned. As part of the migration process, it is important to understand what makes up an organization’s existing content, including unstructured data, metadata, and custom components.
When it comes to migrating to the cloud, a basic 'lift and shift' strategy of moving an existing Enterprise Content Management (ECM) platform can be ineffective and risky. As a result, organizations will need to adopt an approach that provides an uninterrupted service, while also de-risking the overall migration. Although there is no such thing as 'a push-button migration,' a programed approach that kick-starts the migration process can enable businesses to continue the migration at their own pace.
Outlining a clear strategy for migration
To help enterprises successfully move off outdated, legacy platforms, while mitigating the risk of migrating content to the cloud, organizations should follow a step-by-step approach that comprises three key components:
1) Plan for needed tools: To make the most of data from multiple repositories, organizations should have access to certain tools that allow them to plan and execute moving ECM systems to the cloud. Key instruments include dashboards, analytics, content services connectors, and migration servers.
2) Enlist experts: Utilize experienced consultants, who have planned and delivered many large-scale, legacy system migrations, and integrate best practices and transformation initiatives during the migration journey. They can help lift the weight off an organization’s IT team and provide needed direction.
3) Establish a robust process: Adopt a robust migration process that's focused on efficiency and risk-mitigation. Audit the existing system, set up the migration tools and processes, and educate users on how to manage the migration.
Setting a firm timeline
As an enterprise builds a migration plan, it is important also to understand the migration timeline. For example, are there specific applications that must be migrated by a set date or is a phased migration an option? To adopt a phased, step-by-step approach, organizations should prioritize migrating recently accessed content first and leave content that has not been accessed for some time to a later phase. Grouping data by last time accessed or by application/department and then phasing the program is also a good approach to support user adoption of the new system, as well as de-risking the migration. One definite recommendation is not to let the timeline wavier too much as you risk the process extending far longer than originally intended and delay the ROI.
Ensuring a complete migration
Typical migrations can incorporate billions of documents that are stored across a multitude of repositories, databases, and file stores. As organizations start to analyze their content, methods for moving content from on-premises to the cloud should also be reviewed. For small content migrations, this may include being able to stream the data over a high-speed Internet connection; however, this will not be sufficient for large scale migrations. For larger migrations, physical appliances, such as Amazon Snowball, for example, are often preferred.
Both techniques come into play as organizations consider the initial migration and any content deltas after the initial migration is complete. While many enterprises still see migration to the cloud as a daunting process, careful planning, and a strategic approach help ensure success. Making the move the cloud will not only simplify employees’ daily workload, it’ll further an organization’s digital goals while providing a better experience for customers.