This is part of Solutions Review’s Premium Content Series, a collection of contributed columns written by industry experts in maturing software categories. In this submission, Infinitely Virtual‘s Founder and CEO Adam Stern offers eight essential keys to mastering enterprise cloud adoption.
To migrate or not to migrate – that’s less of an existential question these days, now that cloud computing is part of almost every business’s vernacular. That said, just because SMBs no longer trip over the lingo, it doesn’t mean everyone’s comfortable with what cloud migration actually entails, tactically or strategically.
Even tech-savvy organizations need to start somewhere. My counsel is to isolate your aspirations and then tie them to what your business needs the transition to accomplish. After all, cloud migration can’t be about tech for its own sake; it needs to be tech for the sake of the business problems you need to solve. So consider these eight essentials a framework for problem-solving, a starting point from which you can make well-grounded decisions about appropriate technology.
Here are the eight essentials, the to-dos that should inform your cloud migration:
- Planning IT strategy
- Bringing applications into the cloud
- Enabling a remote workforce
- Helping avoid downtime
- Lowering IT costs
- Identifying and vetting a quality cloud provider
- Hosting apps (e.g., Quickbooks) in the cloud
- Simplifying secure file sharing and backup
Clarity going in is fundamental to extracting real value from cloud migration. Moving critical applications to the cloud should be a smart business process that reduces IT costs, facilitates remote work, and improves availability, security, and performance.
A smart business process, but not one without its tradeoffs and potential pitfalls. DIY is definitely one of those pitfalls; while some elements of the migration process have become easier/more accessible, the constant is that users typically don’t know what they don’t know. Hoping for the best doesn’t cut it. In the real world, details matter
So does an experienced provider, one who’s totally independent of big box players and a service-less, “set it and forget mentality” that treats customers as commodities. Migration means vetting tech-savvy potential providers who “get” your business and can work with you to tailor a cloud solution to specific to your organization, application, data, and user requirements. To improve your odds, embrace those providers with a proven track record for customer satisfaction, pegged to metrics on uptime, performance, security, and scalability.
Before making that move to the cloud, what do you really need that you currently lack? What are your aspirations as your business moves to the next level? Saddled with an aging infrastructure that’s overdue for a major upgrade? Does your team require more sophisticated remote work capabilities? Looking to improve uptime and security?
Acknowledged or not, “migration anxiety” is a thing. You certainly don’t want to settle for less, and you may have heard, anecdotally, that migration can be either painful or time-consuming or both. You fervently want your IT headaches
to be over but there are no guarantees. Looming large are fears of things like outages, subpar performance, security incidents, unresponsive support, or out-of-control costs.
You may worry about choosing “wrong” – that the provider you select will be more trouble than it’s worth. If the IT status quo has you struggling to provide high-quality service to users, the uncertainty of the new might outweigh the upside of making a change. Without question, before you switch, you need to see a clear pathway out of your current situation and into a better one. Hence, selecting a provider can be fraught.
Here’s a tip: you can judge a cloud provider by the quality of the questions the organization poses. Is a pre-configured solution lurking behind the sales pitch? Are hefty migration and set-up charges, on top of your monthly hosting fee, in your future? You need a cloud provider that will devise a cost-effective solution tailor-made for your business — and stand by that solution over time, freeing you to focus on things other than IT. What happens after you sign? Will that provider be standing behind you or standing aside?
Be certain that your potential provider is right-sized for your business. Don’t buy more, or less, than you need. Eschew glitz and certain popular brand names; be Goldilocks in quest of a consultative approach tailored to your goal of enterprise-level performance on an SMB budget. Perform in-depth discovery as you vet your would-be provider; thoroughly internalize your requirements while determining opportunities for cost savings and efficiency gains. Can you, in effect, take a no-risk, no-obligation test drive? And if things don’t work out within 30 days, can you be migrated off the platform at no additional cost? Don’t take the obvious for granted. In 2022, a cloud hosting solution worth its salt should deliver a 100 percent uptime guarantee, superior performance and security, and unlimited scalability.
Remember this, above all: a provider needs to regard growing with your business as an unqualified win-win. Viewed in this way, think of that organization less as a provider and more as a partner.
- Eight Essential Keys to Mastering Enterprise Cloud Adoption - April 4, 2022