Any company can move critical systems and business applications to the cloud, but that’s half the battle. Jumping on the cloud bandwagon without giving serious consideration to how you’ll succeed in the cloud is shortsighted. Here are our best tips for making the cloud transition work for you – both now and in the long run.
1. Don’t make it all about money – Yes, the cloud is lauded for its affordability compared to on-premise software. But if you make the transition all about money, you might be selling yourself short. Think first in terms of features and functionality – the system has to work for you or it’s not worth much. Cost is important, but it should never be the only consideration.
2. Rethink your strategy – Don’t just transfer all of your existing software and applications to cloud versions. Think about how you would design your IT infrastructure if you could start from scratch. Transitioning to the cloud is a great time to think about what might work better. What apps and features do you need? Are there some that aren’t working or others you would like to have?
3. Pay attention to security – Security should be a major consideration when transitioning to the cloud. Most established vendors offer a very high level of security, but you shouldn’t take their word for it. Get a copy of their security policy and review it in detail. How is your data stored and protected? Is it encrypted? Who is allowed to access your data and when – both internally and on the vendor side?
4. Think about your customers – These days, IT is not just about making things work internally. It’s also about making the customer experience seamless. How will cloud technology improve the customer experience? How will it enable your employees to provide better and faster service? Technology should always strive to improve the customer experience, not hamper it.
5. Prepare for a learning curve – Any sort of IT transition comes with a break-in period. Despite the benefits of cloud, almost no transition goes off without a hitch. Plan for and expect this. Perhaps you staff extra IT employees during the transition or offer overtime. Discuss with the vendor what challenges could possibly come up, and don’t make the transition until you’ve decided how to address them. Decide in advance what business tasks might be put on the back burner to free time to address issues that arise.
6. Prepare employees for the change – The more educated your employees are on why you’re making the change, the more invested they will be in making sure you’re successful. Educate employees on what the new technology will bring and how it will ultimately improve their work experience. Simply deploying the technology without much communication as to why can make the transition more difficult. Employees should be part of the process, not an afterthought.
7. Choose vendors wisely – Before you start searching for vendors, decide what kind of partners you want. The values and ideals of your partners should be closely aligned to your own. What is their mission, and how do they go about achieving it? What are their future plans for growth, development and product improvement? You want a technology partner with similar goals and standards. Trust your instinct on this one. If the vendor doesn’t seem like a good fit, they’re probably not. You many also want to avoid very niche players or less established vendors that haven’t proven their reliability.