Thinking of Migrating Data and Analytics to the Cloud? Planning is Everything
Is The Cloud The Magic Bullet Companies Are Seeking? Maybe.
I’ve worked with many companies in the last two years struggling to understand and adjust to rapid disruptions in almost every facet of their business. Supply chain issues, pivoting to primarily an online experience, employee and customer re-officing, negative social media attention, among others. Companies are under increased pressure to respond quickly to these conditions, and those that can are the ones making headway in this tumultuous market.
Does Cloud Deliver What It Promised?
A recent 451 Group survey found that a key reason organizations are moving to the cloud is to gain agility to respond and deploy quickly to meet changing market conditions. But, another survey from Accenture/MIT states that over one third of executives view data initiatives as expenditures and don’t understand how they bring value to the business. So, there’s a big disconnect.
Cloud Migrations Need to Propel Your Business
Migrating to the cloud is not always cheaper. So, it’s important to understand and agree on business goals before starting. Do you want to reallocate IT staff to more high return activities, or gain faster time to market? Are you looking to improve analytics so you can adjust marketing campaigns in real-time or change pricing models based on supply chain issues or competitive activity? Answering these kinds of questions are the most important step in planning a sensible business-focused migration which gets you where you want to be.
Data Integrity Is Key
Data and analytical applications are fundamental to becoming a disruption-resilient organization. And the cloud has become the ideal platform for rapidly allowing businesses to respond to events affecting the business. But operations in the cloud will only work if the data has integrity and the applications are relevant.
Security is another important consideration. Massive re-officing of employees (and customers) to home environments increases penetration points into the network. Ransomware attacks and other sensitive data breaches are commonplace with sometimes catastrophic consequences.
A sound cloud business case and migration roadmap are critical for success. Without such planning, surprises are likely to extend migration efforts and tie up resources intended for making the business more agile.
The Lift and Shift Myth
I’ve been involved with several companies that decided to skimp on investigation and simply re-host everything to the cloud, often referred to as “lift and shift”. Within a short time, their cloud usage is skyrocketing, and the costs of maintaining this technical debt mitigate any agility they’d hoped to achieve. According to a Gartner forecast more than 50 percent of data migration projects will exceed budget and/or result in some form of business disruption due to flawed execution through 2023. So, it’s no wonder many executive teams aren’t seeing the business benefits.
Profile Your Analytics and Data Usage
To create a prioritized migration roadmap, it’s critical to profile and identify which organizations are accessing your data, how frequently they use which applications. Analyzing your data and analytics usage can quickly determine which are best left on premise and which high value analytics that need to take advantage of cloud features.
Analyzing usage can also identify technical debt that can delay cloud deployment, increase costs and slow adoption. Do you know which data is really important to running your business? Various analysts estimate the usable data in organizations today is on average between 22-28% of hundreds of terabytes. Which BI and analytical applications and reports are used most frequently and which almost never? Are any analytical applications so inefficient they will drive up cloud consumption costs? Answers to these questions are critical to building a roadmap that speeds migration and improves your ongoing business operations.
As the old saying goes – “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will do.” In IT, this approach has generated massive technical debt which demands our resources and prevents us from becoming as agile as the business needs. Let’s learn from our past and plan a smarter migration to our cloud future.
Gale Persil has decades of experience building successful products in software companies such as Precisely, Pitney Bowes and CA Inc. where she took on leading roles in operations, product management, marketing, development, and customer support. For the last 15 years, she’s been following her passion to capture valid and relevant business data to help organizations make high impact business decisions. Gale holds a BS in Information Systems and a BA in Broadcasting from the State University New York Collage at Buffalo.