Cloud Migration: This is what the move to the cloud means for your company - and the IT team!
The digital transformation is in its full progress! A fundamental building block for this is cloud migration. The pandemic has once again fueled this transformation: More than 80 percent of German companies now rely on applications in the cloud.
The advantages are obvious: modern services, efficient processes, more flexible working or higher availability are just some of them. However, the journey to the cloud is no walk in the park, but fortunately it's no magic either. However, what may initially appear to be a simple shift of business processes, applications and data into the digital space is associated with a profound cultural change within the company. It is therefore not surprising that a cloud migration does not just happen overnight. It is a project that is associated with many a challenge and - if the cloud strategy is inadequate - also with considerable risks.
The complexity of cloud migration is felt above all by the IT decision-makers in a company. They usually not only bear the main burden of the project, but are often also responsible for strategy development.
What does cloud migration mean for your IT team?
IT managers need to be prepared for the fact that everyday working life will change as a result of a cloud migration. Even though it should be clear by now that digital transformation will not cost IT jobs, the aspect of the journey to the cloud must not be forgotten.
Giving up control and having to change one's own job profile can trigger fears among those responsible. Only open and transparent communication can counteract this. After all, this change of role is first and foremost an opportunity. It creates exciting opportunities that expand the job profile rather than narrow it.
And it is also a fact that the move to the cloud will only be a success story if the company's own IT department is on board right from the start - after all, no one knows the company's individual IT requirements better than its own specialists. Their input, as well as a continuous view of the cloud environment, is essential throughout the journey.
IT is not the only part of the team
Don't forget, however, that the impact is felt company-wide. Therefore, the management level should also be heavily involved in the planning as well as implementation. Not only does the technical side play a role in a cloud migration, but it is also a challenging task from a strategic and organizational point of view. However, the integration of executives in the digital transformation is obviously still expandable.
According to the current "Cloud Migration 2021" study*, 26 percent of respondents describe the lack of support from management as a possible obstacle to a move to the cloud. Incidentally, this point is in second place. Only the complexity of a cloud migration represents an even greater challenge for the respondents (32 percent).
In short, the results clearly show that IT professionals would like to see greater involvement of the business level. Take this into account!
In fact, six out of ten companies in the survey also confirm a cultural change in the IT organization, for example by switching to agile operating and development models such as DevOps. To ensure that this change can be successfully implemented, smart change management is needed.
Your dream team for a successful cloud migration
If you have decided to move to the cloud, you first need a strong core team to make the large-scale cloud migration project a reality. The roles and responsibilities should be clearly distributed and a constant exchange ensured.
Often, however, the focus when putting together a team for the cloud move is still too much on the technical skills of the team to be set up. However, the technology is the rather "easy" part of the project. It's more difficult to find employees with the right soft skills and to use those skills effectively.
These soft skills are essential for your cloud team:
Curiosity & Ability to Learn
Cloud team members don't just need to know their own jobs. They must also be willing to learn about their team members' jobs and develop some understanding of others' areas of expertise.
Willingness to collaborate
Willingness to collaborate is also critical to success in a cloud migration. If everyone only cares about their specific task to meet milestones, the project will fail. The pace of development and change in the cloud is simply too fast for that.
The ability to see the big picture - systems thinking - is also an important soft skill component for the cloud. Really everyone - from security experts to server staff to architects - needs to be able to think and work this way.
Flexibility is another important soft skill when it comes to cloud, especially once the new technology is in use. Once released, cloud applications require extensive and ongoing support. Cloud team members must be able to understand, adapt to and quickly implement constant change - both in cloud capabilities and business requirements.
Don't expect everything to be instantly faster, better and cheaper with the cloud. Only productive handling of errors offers the chance to achieve a high beat rate in digitization while designing secure and reliable processes. Agile development methods such as Scrum, Design Thinking and DevOps have proven this. Because here, productive handling of errors in the development process is simply part of the system.
These key positions are usually essential for a successful migration to the cloud:
The executive sponsor is responsible for the success of the project! He or she makes sure everyone is working together and staying on track. Every company is different, of course, and so the role of the executive sponsor varies individually. But what must be present in any case is a passion for the cloud migration mission. After all, it is by no means just a technology initiative!
Just as buildings need architects, teams involved in data migration to the cloud need an architect. They design and coordinate migration strategies, create a working as well as viable cloud structure for the business, always have an eye on all cloud requirements and cloud applications. Therefore, one of the most important soft skills that good cloud architect absolutely need is the ability to communicate with others.
The cloud engineer manages the cloud computing systems and storage. For example, he writes the software that allows users to access, store and retrieve data. But he also keeps a constant eye on the performance of the entire system to identify potential problems in advance.
Cloud System Administrator
A system administrator is responsible for managing the cloud computing environment. He or she monitors the performance of the network and servers. Thus, the system administrator is primarily responsible for the day-to-day management and support of the cloud environment in the company.
Cloud security manager
The security risk in particular is a factor that still causes companies a lot of headaches. 30.9 percent of German companies fear for data security during a cloud migration. That is why a security manager is essential in the team. This specialist analyzes security policies and assesses compliance to ensure that applications and services meet the highest security standards and best practices. He or she also manages authentication, authorization and access rights for cloud resources.
Data protection plays a role hardly less important than data security: at 28.9 percent, this item appeared in the survey just behind the security factor. So a data protection expert who works closely with the cloud security manager is also important to the team. He or she is primarily responsible for ensuring that your company meets the data protection and DSGVO requirements for your industry.
Once you have such a core team together, nothing really stands in the way of a successful cloud migration. Actually! After all, it is rare to have this group of highly specialized experts sitting in your own ranks. But where do you get them? Particularly in the IT sector, finding the right employee is almost like winning the lottery.
But there is a successful and popular solution.
Rely on external service providers
You don't have to master the journey to the cloud on your own - and you won't be alone if you get help. In the "Cloud Migration 2021" study, almost two-thirds of companies said they employ external service providers. 37 percent even rely completely on outside support, and 26 percent outsource at least partial tasks. In fact, only 27 percent carry out such a project on their own.
External cloud experts have these advantages
The company retains control over the entire IT, while the specialized service provider is responsible for operating the infrastructure and applications. In addition, the company's own IT can concentrate on its core competencies and innovation capabilities. Overall, this saves costs and the security of your data is also guaranteed at all times.
Moving a business to the cloud is a big project that will take your business and especially IT to a new level! With the right planning, clear communication and a well-positioned team of in-house as well as external employees, there is actually nothing standing in the way of a successful cloud migration.