Often, enterprises come up with the requirement of migration to the cloud. But only a few of them traverse obstacle-free cloud migration. Technology is believed to be the major roadblock but to everyone’s surprise, it is a minor and resolvable issue. The actual blocker is the people. Whenever a client asks for something, the answer is ‘yes’. What is missing is the feasibility check and affordability factor. While there are many small issues, here are the major obstacles that are frequently becoming major hindrances –
1. Lack of Actual Reason for Migrating to the Cloud
Moving to the cloud is more of a hasty decision now than a wise one. Many organizations want to shift to the cloud but only a few of them actually have strong and valid reasons to do so. If you don’t know the reason for moving to the cloud, you should take your time to ponder upon the reason. There may be chances where you don’t need to move to the cloud.
Some of the good reasons to shift to the cloud are:
- The idea of scaling of the application manifolds during peak season and events.
- Reducing operational burden by judicious use of available service. It will allow you to focus more on your products and services rather than worrying about fixing the patches and learning to set up database replication.
- Because of the auto-scaling feature that would optimize your servers and save database space.
- Other reasons such as agility, disaster recovery readiness, and increased security.
While these should be the major reasons but for many organizations, major reasons are:
- Probability of saving money by implementing the cloud.
- Implementing it because it is the trend. (That’s what your competitors are doing.)
How to migrate to the cloud is as important as why you need to move to the cloud? Selecting a suitable strategy would save costs and efforts. Cloud must not become your other database to dump everything.
2. The need for a Top Management Person
After knowing why you should migrate, there comes the need for a top management person. Without a decision-making person, the effort is doomed to fail. Migration is a large activity that people don’t often realize. The consequence of migration may be as big as an entire organizational transformation. The person will take ownership of the task and will remove the possible roadblock. Ownership of the migration will lead to a successful migration. The person will align the complete hierarchy so that everyone is on the same page. When everyone is in sync with the decision, migration will become smoother.
3. Insufficient or Blocked Developers
Before starting the migration, the organization must check for the executioners of the task. Are they ample to achieve the task? Do they have the required skill set? Do they require any training? A dummy system (or Sandbox environment) must be provided to the developers for the following reason:
- To learn the best practices, otherwise directly implementing them in a live project may mess the architecture. It will save the amount of rework required afterward.
- To learn, experiment, test, and build things in the Cloud. That is how good solutions are developed.
Such a sandbox system must be not be narrowed down due to security. A wide range of options will help developers to come up with the best solution. Security and cost are major concerns while granting developers broad access to the system. But these can easily be resolved. Make sandbox environment completely isolated from the actual production environment & client’s data. Make automated billing alarms to keep a tab on the costs. Many tools are available which will tear down the environment when not required. Such tools will also curtail the costs.
4. Mandatory Technical Leader
Someone from the top management is required to buy-in. Often these people either don’t have the technical background or are new to the new world of the cloud. This makes a technical leader or cloud architect mandatory. The technical leader may be a person or a group of people who can support the needs of the organisation and guide others in the right direction. A technical leader will:
- Answer to questions arising in developers’ minds.
- Develop or make the decision on which architecture to follow.
- Help in integration between systems
- Check for security policies and standards that need to be followed.
- Define a set of global standards to be followed by everyone. It will bring operational and maintenance costs down.
5. Unorganized Organizational Structure
It is one of the most challenging aspects of cloud migration. It may require a complete organisational transformation that is complex in case of large organisations. With transformation of the technology, your organisation must transform too. A thought must be given on how existing organisational structure could be modified to support the migration. Teams must be structured considering the result enterprise is aiming to achieve. Some departments may continue to exist while some have to be broken in new to resolve the overlap of functions. It might be a painful task at the start but once established, it will make a smooth way for the development of the migration projects. The organisational design mirrors the communication structure. A more organised structure leads to more effective communication.
6. Communication Gaps
With the involvement of many people, ideas, and information, a good and effective communication flow is essential. Communication is required to achieve the goals set at the start of the migration. Consider a scenario where the purpose of migration was scaling that is not communicated. As a result, applications and services would not fulfill the purpose and lead to a large amount of rework.
The key to effective communication lies in the ease of communication. The communication channel should be simple enough. Otherwise to keep oneself updated with recent information will be a burden in itself.
It is necessary to create a safe environment where everyone can express their idea freely. One must create an open environment where there is no expectation of being fully prepared. In such a place, people will learn more, will grow more, and will enjoy their work.
7. Underdeveloped Project Management
There is a lot of variation in how projects are managed, tracked, and reported. Week by week execution of the task requires strong project management capabilities. It is the right time to adopt a completely new approach to work itself like scrum. It will be a great learning opportunity in terms of technology (Cloud) and methodology (Scrum). Some of the pain-points of the organisations are:
- No project manager, product owner, or anyone who owns the complete migration process.
- Project managers only reporting the current reports to higher people rather than helping and guiding the team in the right direction, resolve blockers.
- Breaking work in large tasks which leads to a lack of visibility in progress.
- Not having an idea of who is working on what part of the migration.
8. Unclear Prioritization
Organizational priorities and time allotted for each must be clear. One must keep an eye on what work everyone was doing before the migration started so that migration is achieved within the deadline and without over-burdening anyone. Always keep buffer time that will allow people to switch to high-priority tasks.
Make sure that everyone has enough time available to give the attention the migration requires.
How to resolve these issues?
Firstly, identify the issues with which your organisation is struggling. You won’t know them until you start the migration work. Identify the blocker during the migration. Analyse the root cause of the blocker to identify the actual problem. Once identified, apply corrective measures. One could start with a proof of concept (POC). It will help in checking the technical feasibility of the solution and revealing potential obstacles that may show up. Though migration to the cloud is a technical task, these organisational pieces need the most attention for a successful transition. If in case you are struggling with any/all of it, feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.