DCN July 2017 - Page 21

virtualisation & cloud computing Let’s say that a business is regularly using applications that are outdated, for instance. If these applications are to be successfully transferred to the cloud, they would have to be re-developed or re- architected, and this takes far more time and effort than it is usually worth. Instead these applications could remain locally, or they could be moved to a server that runs these applications to the cloud. This example shows that the process of reaping the benefits of cloud is not always so straightforward. This is why it is vital to find the best candidates for migration before formulating a plan to enable that move.  People Technology This first step involves identifying how your business looks in terms of infrastructure, applications and workflow, to more clearly determine the overall cost and the benefits of migrating to the cloud. Then, while working alongside the chosen cloud provider, your business should gather all the insightful data it can on how these components are used within the larger network, when they’re used and also how frequently. The end result will be a cost model that provides far greater transparency on what can be moved and where it can be moved to, as well as anything that should not be migrated at all. While the cloud is ultimately a change in technology, it also forces an alteration in the way staff conduct their work. While the long- term benefits of increased agility and ease of operation are almost always worthwhile, there is often short-term resistance from staff in going ahead with the migration, and the only way to counter this is with strong, executive sponsorship that will help drive the journey forwards. With many different functions moving the cloud, the impact on workflows can really be felt across service, support and operations. This can understandably lead to uncertainty among employees, but this is where the cloud readiness assessment is so important. It helps businesses clearly identify the current strengths of staff members and the skills or training that might be required for all staff to feel competent and satisfied with a cloud infrastructure.  To put this point into context, imagine you are a cloud service provider. If your staff fail to understand the day-to-day workings of one of your customers, or they’re not familiar with the people who manage the operational process, a cloud migration can often be slowed down or halted altogether. With this in mind, it is not simply a case of extolling the benefits of cloud, but accommodating staff every step along the migration journey. ‘Before even beginning the process of migrating to the cloud, all businesses should ask themselves what their aspirational goal is.’ Process Process change is an inevitable consequence of any cloud migration, and while the final cloud solution itself is likely to simplify your IT infrastructure, the operations and processes involved are likely to become more complicated. This is particularly true when talking about hybrid cloud environments, where you are responsible for tangible assets as well as something that is remote, including third-party companies who provide some of this management and monitoring as well.  Every single process is deliberated over during a typical cloud readiness assessment, which can help massively when determining your business’ willingness to change. The aspects that should be included within this include access, security and the change process. Conclusion A cloud readiness assessment is absolutely essential for any business thinking about making the leap and migrating to the cloud. Alongside the business itself, the chosen cloud provider should always work closely to ensure that expectations are managed, and that the migration itself allows the business to gain maximum value from the process. In order to make the migration as smooth as possible, it should be appropriately phased and carried out in a way that considers the people, assets and the processes involved along the way. If all of this is taken into account, there is no doubt that the cloud readiness assessment will prove to be the perfect launching pad for businesses to start their cloud migration from. July 2017 | 21