Enterprises across Canada—and the globe—are increasingly choosing to migrate to the cloud. The trend has grown considerably in the past decade due to the many business benefits of moving to the cloud. 2020 saw an exponential leap in cloud migrations as COVID-19 forced business to re-evaluate workforce management, IT jobs and resources and other processes. Close to 90% of IT decision makers globally said the pandemic accelerated their plans for implementing cloud resources.
Cloud migration offers a number of benefits. They include long-term cost savings, more efficient collaboration, potential for enhanced data security, and workforce and process flexibility.
A Deloitte Insights survey noted that three specific drivers rose to the top:
- 37% of organizations rank security and data protection as their top reason for cloud migration, and 21% said it was second.
- 22% said data modernization was their first driver, and 22% said it was their second.
- 15% said long-term cost savings associated with IT operations was the main reason for moving to the cloud, and 17% said this was their second-most important reason.
7 key considerations before migrating to the cloud
Tapping into the benefits that drove you to consider cloud implementations in the first place does require some work, including staffing up appropriately for the effort. Randstad IT Solutions suggests that you consider these seven factors before migrating to the cloud.
• what does your current IT infrastructure look like?
Define who is on your team and what physical resources and investment strategies you have already established. Understanding your current infrastructure is key to mapping your future cloud state. This helps you determine how you can leverage your existing infrastructure and what areas you might need to invest in—people, architecture, processes and cloud software or servers.
• what will you use cloud services for?
One of the biggest mistakes businesses make when launching technical initiatives is setting out without a specifically defined scope and scale. You need to know what you're going to use the cloud services for so that you can make the right choices when creating your target architecture, implementation plan and hiring cloud talent to support you.
For example, do you need cloud services simply for storage and backup services? Or, are you going to integrate workflow processes into the cloud? These are just two of the almost infinite options, and they come with very different requirements.
• what are your technical requirements and storage needs?
Once you understand the purpose of your cloud migration, start defining technical requirements and storage needs. This is a foundational element of managing a cloud project and might require you to fill IT jobs with experienced business analysts and IT project managers. Whether those are temporary or permanent IT positions in your organization depends on your business needs and unique-to-you hiring processes.
• compare and contrast potential partners
Armed with knowledge about your requirements, start comparing potential cloud migration partners. At this stage, you want to narrow the field to partners that can meet your needs so you can get demos and quotes.
Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google GCP are the top three contenders in this niche. They cover the majority of the market, but there are also smaller cloud companies serving specific needs, so take some time to do your homework and consider all potential partners.
• do you have the right skills to manage cloud migration in-house?
You can choose to handle moving to the cloud in a number of ways:
- 100% (or as close to it as possible) in-house
- 100% (or as close to it as possible) outsourced
- A split between in-house and outsourced (or vendor-provided) services
- Integrate an outsourced team to build competencies and momentum for your internal efforts, and shift back to an in-house effort as you gain proficiency
For most enterprises, the third option is the best answer, which means you may need to hire cloud developers and others to hold up your end of this endeavour. Find out the types of pros you need to hire to manage in-house parts of a migration.
• do you need to hire talent to fill in the gap or retrain existing staff?
Once you know what in-house resources you need, you can work on a hiring plan. Start with your existing IT staff. Who has the skills to handle a cloud-related job or task, and who can be retrained to do so? After you map existing staff to your new business and technical needs, look for gaps to understand what types of IT talent you need to hire.
• how will you handle ongoing maintenance and upkeep?
Don't just look at the process of moving to the cloud when considering IT hiring. Create a plan for maintaining the solution. You may need a full-time cloud developer to continue to tweak and build solutions as additional functionalities are required, and your business grows. You might also need security and systems administrator resources to maintain the technical solutions and ensure they support the business as expected.