Understanding how to optimally embark on a cloud migration journey – part 1
Willem Conradie, CTO and Technical Director at PBT Group
The cloud has certainly shown itself as something that is here to stay. However, embarking on a cloud migration journey for any organisation is not without its obstacles, nor is it something that can be done as a once-off. Instead, moving to the cloud requires an iterative and agile approach with a clear focus on delivering business value.
The real value of a migration is only unlocked when a user can access their insights from a cloud-based data platform. Yes, there may be preliminary steps that are lacking at this point, but rather than working from the beginning, start with the end in mind.
Focusing on one use case at a time enables data professionals, business users, and the cloud infrastructure teams to have clarity and laser focus on the task at hand. This in turn enables all involved to plan the best route to reaching that goal. After delivery of the first use case, the second one is implemented. After the second, the third and so forth. In this manner the data management capabilities and cloud data platform are built iteratively while continuously delivering business value as they mature.
If an organisation is to successfully make the transition, it needs to consider adopting a cloud migration framework. This provides a best practice, practical, business focused, sliced approach, with an iterative, agile migration process essential to ensure success in the cloud.
There are three main components to the cloud migration framework:
1. Define the cloud migration strategy
2. Conduct a cloud proof of value (PoV), or implement a minimum viable product (MVP)
3. Iterative and agile approach to implementation and optimisation for the cloud
In this, the first of a three- part blog series, I will unpack the first component – define the cloud migration strategy.
This step entails several activities that can be managed on an ‘as-needed’ basis. However, it is important to follow the thinking around these to ensure the process aligns to the capabilities and technology maturity of the organisation.
Cloud adoption realisation
This function is typically performed to align the cloud strategy of the company to that of their business and IT strategies.
Defining cloud adoption objectives and guiding principles
Clear and concise objectives must be in place to enable a unified understanding of what the end goal must be. The guiding principles are critical to ensure short-term decisioning is aligned to the long-term objectives. The company must include all the stakeholders that will be impacted by these changes to bring about a collective understanding of the reasons for it and facilitate collaborative decision-making throughout the adoption process.
Data and analytics portfolio discovery
This component is critical not just to provide an understanding of the current landscape, but also to document the various workloads that will or will not migrate to the cloud. The information collected here will be used as input to the base and target architecture as well as to decide which application migration strategy is best for each of the workloads.
Define target architecture
The target architecture provides a blueprint for the future state cloud data platform. Having the end goal in mind is important if the company is to ensure that the architecture enables future business requirements.
Cloud migration roadmap
Pushing applications and services to the cloud in a disorganised or unplanned manner is a recipe for disaster. This is where a migration roadmap comes in. It provides the period needed for the completion of individual sub-projects as well as the critical transition points. This ensures the migration is planned, purposeful, and direct.
Throughout this, the importance of an iterative and agile approach with a clear focus on delivering business value cannot be overstated. Focussing on iterative delivery of business value ensures stakeholders receive continuous value from the migration throughout the process, and avoids too much focus on the technology aspect of the migration.
In my next blog I’ll explore the second step in more detail, conducting a cloud proof of value.