In the midst of the hype, companies were led to believe moving to the cloud was simple and easy. Sure, there are proven advantages, but there are also things you need to watch out for. Since these impact every corner of your network and organisation, the repercussions of not properly implementing a cloud solution are huge.
The “Cloud Hangover” is a series of side effects of moving into the cloud. It consists of increased costs of maintenance and support, incompatible applications and infrastructure, misunderstandings in the Service Level Agreement, and inexperience leading to snags that can drag your business down. Unplanned spending related to the cloud has cost European businesses over £2 billion, according to a Sungard Availability Services study.
It’s actually possible to avoid these issues, as the following strategies prove how.
1. Take the Time to Plan
Some cloud providers have made it seem like moving to the cloud can be done overnight. Rather, you need to devise a structured plan. This takes time, but if you work with cloud providers and other experts, this process can make the transition smoother. Down the road, you’ll also avoid some of the major problems companies have faced in the past.
Cloud suppliers are experienced and should know what the cloud can do for your business. The right one will guide you through the migration process, so you know what to expect. A roadmap should include a timeline and list of the costs, risks, and rewards. Don’t be afraid to voice your concerns with potential suppliers. Remember to assess the costs and efforts in deciding if your business is ready to move to the cloud.
2. Understand Why You’re Switching
There are different types of cloud infrastructures and the one you choose depends on many things. The data your company creates, collects, stores, and analyses represent the core consideration when making the move to private cloud solutions. Some industries must follow stricter security requirements than others, for example. An alternative security strategy than originally planned is often necessary. Also understand all the benefits may not be immediately obvious; it might take as long as three years before you see ROI.
3. Train Your Team Thoroughly
Your current IT team knows your business. That’s why they must be informed and trained on the differences before you switch. If they are provided with experience and some technological understanding of cloud IT, then it increases the chances of a successful migration. Supplier, change, and project management skills are essential and have given many a cloud company an edge.
4. Cost Management
Identify the up-front expenses. By being transparent with service providers, and vice-versa, you can expose all obvious and hidden costs. The provider should reveal any operational expenses you will incur and those associated with spikes in activity and increased use of resources. Define how billing will work and choose the appropriate platforms for the applications you depend upon.
5. Define Your SLA
Considering all factors in the initial Service Level Agreement can avoid the Cloud Hangover. It should include all expectations in regards to availability, capacity, security, performance, and any other factor relevant to your business. Ask potential cloud service providers how they measure their performance to know these numbers are being met. Be as thorough as possible to avoid falling for loopholes hidden between the lines.
6. To Automate or Not
Automating business processes or not doing so has become one of the most common dilemmas in IT. You can reduce many costs by streamlining IT operations as you move to the cloud. Whether or not automation is right for your organization, you should at least consider it. Have IT leaders determine what operations can be successfully automated, and those that would be better off not.
With these insights, the risks of developing the Cloud Hangover are much lower. Planning, cost management, training, time, and committed decision-making between your teams, cloud suppliers, and industry experts are absolutely necessary. Pacing it may mean you reap all the benefits of moving IT infrastructure and data to the cloud.