Migrating to the cloud offers both cost and application advantages. However, it is important to plan the process appropriately.

In the business environment of today, modern enterprises need cloud-first strategies to stay competitive. According to Gartner, cloud shift across critical enterprise IT markets will increase from 19% to 28% by 2022. Moreover, IDG found that firms have invested an average budget of $3.5 on cloud services, platforms, and applications.

There are a ton of compelling reasons for this, comprising a major need for firms to reduce costs or be more agile. With cloud solutions, firms can also leverage scalable, quality, and elastic storage. In contrast, the on-premises solution requires adequate investment in software, hardware, and IT staff to cover peak storage requirements. Cloud hosting provides more elastic scalability for rapid computing rollout of new applications, flexibility for redundancy, and ready access to advanced cloud-based services like artificial intelligence (or AI) and machine learning (or ML).

Even when taking into consideration these advantages and available budget, there are certain concerns regarding cloud migration. The main issue is that cloud migration has conventionally been a risky and complex process. Based on the size of the migration project, it can become a drain on internal IT resources and an overall labor-intensive process. So, how do firms reduce the complexity and amplify the time to ROI (or return on investment)? By having a carefully mapped plan for implementation and a birds-eye view of the existing legacy systems.

Reviewing Internal Infrastructure

As part of the migration process, it’s vital to understand what makes up an enterprise’s current content, including custom components, metadata, and unstructured data.

When it comes to migrating to the cloud, a typical ‘life and shift strategy’ of moving a current ECM (or enterprise content management) platform can be risky and ineffective. As a consequence, firms will need to adopt an approach that offers an uninterrupted service, while also de-risking the overall migration. Although no such thing as a ‘push-button migration’ exists, a programmed approach that kick starts the process of migration can allow businesses to go ahead with the migration at their own pace.

Outlining a Clear Migration Strategy

To assist enterprises in successfully moving off legacy, outdated platforms, while reducing the risk of migrating content to the cloud, firms should follow a sequential approach that consists of three main components:

  1. Plan for needed tools
  2. Enlist experts
  3. Establish a robust process

Setting a Firm Timeline

As a firm developers a migration plan, it’s important also to understand the migration timeline. For instance, is phased migration an option, or are there particular applications that must be migrated by a set date? To adopt a sequential, phased approach, enterprises should prioritize migrating recently accessed content first and eliminate content that hasn’t been access for some time to a later phase. Grouping data by department/application or by last time accessed and then phasing the program is also a decent approach to support use adoption of the new system, along with de-risking the migration. There is an important suggestion though, don’t let the timeline wavier too much as you risk the process extending far lengthier than initially intended and delay the ROI.

Ensuring a Complete Migration

Mainstream migrations can incorporate millions of documents that are stored across a plethora of file stores, databases, and repositories. As enterprises begin to analyze their content, methods for moving content from on-premises to the cloud should also be assessed. For small content migrations, this may comprise being able to stream the data over a high-speed internet connection. However, this will not be adequate for large-scale migrations. For bigger migrations, physical appliances, like Amazon Snowball, are usually preferred.

As enterprises consider the original migration and any content deltas after the original migration is complete, both techniques come into play. Although numerous organizations still witness migration to the cloud as an uphill process, strategic approach, and careful planning assist you in ensuring success. Making a move to the cloud will not just simplify the daily workload of the employees; it will advance the digital goals of an organization while offering a better experience for customers.