Planning is over—it’s time to actually move to the cloud


It’s a new year. We’ll soon have a new president in the White House, tax returns due in four months, and a bunch of resolutions that we’ll have failed to keep by February. But there is one more thing to do. 

Most enterprises have spent the last few years determining the what of cloud computing: What is it? What does it do for you? What does it cost? By what dates do your applications need to be in the cloud? They’re all good questions to answer, but now in 2017 it’s time to get to work — that is, to move from the what to the how.

As part of that move to the how of cloud computing, enterprises need to take care of a few points in planning:

  • Get a prioritized list of application workloads that will be moved to the cloud. This lets you determine the resources you’ll need to make the move, both human and cloud-based. Once you have the schedule done, it’s a matter of matching the budget with the work and resources.  
  • Get a project manager. You’ll need a project manager for this effort, and more likely a project management office (PMO), to provide the operational guidance and keep track of things. I often find that enterprises burn too many resources too fast when the project initially kicks off. That initial burn needs to be factored in as well, including its effects on the project timeline.    
  • Plan for learning. You need to ensure there are feedback loops that let you adjust schedules as needed. You’re learning this cloud thing, so your plans won’t be perfect. As you progress, you’ll find that some tasks go faster than expected but most go slower. Make sure you can detect those deviations as they occur, then adjust the schedules as needed and keep going.
  • Plan for people. The biggest reason that cloud migration projects go off track is they lack enough people to do the work. Make sure you plan on acquiring the cloud skill sets well in advance. Even if you’re looking to outsource the work, it can take months to get the contracts in place. Hiring people is even slower, and now there are too few qualified candidates chased by too many cloud job openings.

None of this is much different than most platform migration projects. There are some different technical considerations, of course, and some new dynamics to consider. But that’s par for the course.