Three key challenges to overcome to deliver successful cloud migration

Last year saw digital transformation accelerate dramatically. The public cloud has quickly become universal, with multiple vendors offering robust and competitive solutions, and on-premise deployments now even being deployed as part of cloud models and software-defined infrastructure. Hybrid cloud solutions are enabling enterprises to quickly and easily position their infrastructure where it makes the best sense for the business, taking advantage of the latest innovative cloud offerings and competitive pricing. However, challenges remain when it comes to cloud migration.

The ‘cloud’ itself is slowly edging towards becoming a ‘buzzword’ term – and as a business you are often flooded with recommendations on the subject. This bombardment of content and advice typically leads to questions such as “where do I start with cloud migration?”, “what are the risks?”, “what type of deployment works best for me?” and “how do we measure our progress?”

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But what if you yourself are an enterprise providing cloud services? The changes experienced by your organisation can be as important for your customers as it has been for your employees – or even more so in some cases. This change requires a complete rethinking of how you operate, from the way you approach your customers, to your back office and billing system, including the value proposition you bring to the cloud world. The move isn’t always easy – so we’ve outlined our three key challenges to overcome when attempting a successful cloud migration.

Adopting the culture

The success of any cloud migration project largely depends on the culture of your corporate team. If your internal teams are not 100% mobilised, the task will be significantly more difficult. Therefore, it is firstly imperative to ensure that all employees are ready and well informed about the move. This is particularly true as you draw closer to any radical change – in this case, when it comes to realigning your business around cloud solutions and services.

The question is no longer if, but when the cloud will become a reality for your organisation. After this assumption is taken on board, then the next aspect to consider is how this change will come to fruition – along with ensuring your employees look forward to the change instead of dreading it.

Reviewing the back office processes and systems

For a distributor, the biggest changes brought about by a move to the cloud often don’t result from the migration of technologies from internal data centres to external clouds. The biggest challenge is typically back office, as other systems – such as billing – must also undergo a transformation when your customers switch to a model of services accessible on subscription, instead of investment on assets.

This change also concerns the supervision and operating tools used for customer environments. These tools must now connect with the APIs provided by, among others, Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure. Systems, platforms and applications must integrate with the data centres of each customer, by conforming to their constraints and specificities while taking into account compliance and risk management obligations.

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Rethinking customer engagement

Moving to the cloud often also involves reviewing the relationship with your customers. This concerns all areas of interaction, from project financing, to the various stakeholders involved and the modes of interaction. From a financial point of view, the transition to an operating budget requires new tools and approaches, but has the advantage of bringing the supplier closer to its customer.

Some customers may have very tight budgets for their operating expenses, which requires being creative in the approach taken. Others may be completely convinced of the relevance of a consumption-based model, which allows you to take the leap quickly without having the restraint of fixed assets.

Whether you are at the very beginning of your transformation or you’re working through the smallest details, ensure that you seeking the most up to date information and advice, on key factors such as performance measures and best practices, in order to overcome these challenges, and set your business up for a smooth migration to the cloud.

Written by Darren Fields, vice-president, networking EMEA at Citrix

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