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How to transition to the cloud

Despite all the business turmoil caused by the pandemic, one silver lining is that it has accelerated the shift to the cloud, particularly among enterprise IT solutions companies. As businesses emerge from the pandemic, cloud adoption will continue, with Gardener predicting that 51% of IT spending in key markets will move to the cloud by 2025.

Those are encouraging numbers, but it still leaves a significant number of organizations that are reluctant to take the plunge. In fact, Gartner reports that only 41% of spending will shift to the cloud by 2022.

Aside from concerns about security compliance, the most cited hesitation for the move is cost.

Fortunately, the expense has become less of a deterrent due to the number of different providers and solutions now available.

Instead of letting concerns and questions derail your decision to consider a move to the cloud, do your research thoroughly starting with these three steps:

Make an inventary

When planning a move or expanding your cloud presence, the first step is to understand what you have and what you want to move. It may not be wise to move everything to the cloud initially, so take inventory and set your goals.

A word of caution here: I’ve worked with many organizations that never get beyond this step because they get caught up in “analysis paralysis.” They are so caught up in cataloging everything to the nth degree that they never actually do anything.

Rather, determine what is mission critical and what will give you the most bang for your buck.

An important point to remember is that IT is no longer the sole owner of the technology once it moves to the cloud. In most organizations, other departments can bring in tools. Therefore, there may already be multiple cloud solutions out there, either built in-house or purchased off-the-shelf. This can be a challenge when taking inventory because departments can be isolated. However, this is an even greater reason to take the time to get a complete picture of what you have, where it is, and where you want everything to ultimately live.

Next, determine who will “care and feed” your operations once they’re in the cloud. Do you have people on staff, or do you need to hire?

Choose your provider

Choosing a provider can be a daunting task for those who don’t know what data they have and what to move. This is because technology providers tend to focus on a specific area or service. Knowing what you’re trying to build towards can help narrow down the field.

Another consideration when looking for providers is how much of a partner they will be to you and your organization. Will they help you build your new systems and processes or let you manage them? Will they help enable your team members to create newer, more innovative solutions in the future?

Which Cloud Approach Is Right For You?

When it comes to different cloud approaches, you’ll need to determine whether a distributed or hybrid approach will best fit your organization’s needs. Hybrid cloud refers to a cloud deployment model that enables public and private clouds simultaneously.

A hybrid approach is a good option for organizations that want to have their systems and applications in the cloud while keeping all of their data in a private cloud that they control. However, this approach is challenging because implementing and maintaining such a system can be cumbersome. It requires organizations to continue to maintain dedicated hardware without taking full advantage of all that the cloud has to offer.

A distributed cloud approach refers to systems, applications, and data that can be accessed from geographically distributed locations or data centers, but managed through a single orchestration layer. The benefit of the distributed solutions approach is that it gives those closest to the process the ability to assess which solution works best for them.

How should the decision be made?

Organizations must resist the urge to control the entry of technologies into the corporate environment. Instead, work with your IT department to review and understand the cloud technologies you want to implement. Laggards are at risk of being left behind, so prioritize your organization’s agility to stay competitive.

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