Cloud Readiness Assessment – How to Determine if Cloud Services Will Work for Your Organization

Cloud computing services are growing at a rapid rate. Some project roughly 83 percent of data center traffic will be cloud-based by 2019. Interestingly enough, according to Business Insider, 36 percent of companies pay for cloud services that they do not need.

Cloud services can offer many benefits. It can lower overall costs and add additional flexibility. This does not mean, however, that the cloud is the right solution for your business. A cloud readiness assessment can offer your business a tool to determine if cloud services will work for your organization. 

Technology Assessment 

A cloud assessment analyzes in great detail how a migration to the cloud will affect the current organization technology. Technology includes the current organization infrastructure including hardware, applications, and workflows. 

The assessment gathers information on how each aspect of the technology is used in your organization and how often. This will help to determine which if any of your current services should be migrated to the cloud. 

During the migration, some legacy services may require redevelopment which can be cost and time prohibitive. It may be better to keep legacy services local to avoid this expense. In some instances, the legacy server itself can be moved to the cloud in its entirety to avoid re-engineering. Moving forward to quickly can potentially break technologies so it is important to move with a plan. 

The technology assessment begins with an inventory of physical and virtual servers within the current on-premises network. A complete inventory of servers with metadata for each will assist in building a proper cloud migration plan. In addition to utilizing a general inventory review, some cloud readiness assessment providers utilize a toolkit such as the Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit. This type of software can collect information on existing resource workloads and technological infrastructure. Analysis is both quantitative and qualitative and includes cost, time, and difficulty of migration as well as any perceived business improvements. 

Personnel Assessment 

The second aspect of a cloud migration is its impact on people. A cloud migration may affect the way personnel conduct business. People are inherently resistant to change so this may cause some strife within an organization. Strong executive leadership can help to aid in the broad-spectrum change. 

Migration to cloud services affects not only employees but also customers. Your organization’s clients have their own business processes that will need to continue to be met during cloud migration. Appropriate support will need to be in place during each phase of migration to ensure that client needs continue to be met. Changes can be risky and ultimate result must still continue to work for the client in their environment. It is key to ensure that customers have realistic expectations during the change. 

In addition to changes in the way employees conduct their daily tasks, there may be personnel changes as a result of the move from the cloud. In many areas, functions can be more efficiently conducted from the cloud. This may mean that personnel need to be let go or positions changed to support the cloud. Employees will fear unemployment and may be apprehensive about supporting the new technology. A training program may offer a way to develop the appropriate internal skills to handle new technology. This is especially important because a cloud service provider will not organically have the knowledge of how your business operates. Internal staff will be critical in this process, but the staff will need a helping hand to get through all of the changes. 

Process Assessment 

The third aspect of a cloud assessment is an examination of the process. Interaction with the cloud may make day to day operations more complex. This is especially true in a hybrid cloud infrastructure where maintenance staff will be responsible for the oversight of both physical and logical cloud equipment. To aid in process changes, it is helpful to undertake the migration as a phased approach. Each step in the process should be discrete. Each step should also include concrete steps to encounter success with the migration. A quantifiable roadmap is paramount to each step of the migration. 

Migration to the cloud may not have a positive impact on all process areas. A key part of the assessment is to scrutinize each process area individually to determine which will be improved with cloud services. Key areas of process examination include an investigation of whether teams are willing to change their current routine and whether cloud services will improve overall technology infrastructure. 

One final concern when addressing process is an examination of how migration to the cloud will affect the security of a given activity. With cloud technology, data storage and management will be outsourced ultimately affecting the protection of data. In some instances, a cloud provider may be able to offer better security protection than what can be offered in house by a small team. 

Overall, the cloud can provide many benefits to a business organization from reduced costs, improved scale and flexibility. Migration to the cloud can be an opportune way to add the latest technology and computing equipment to a dated environment. 

However, migration to the cloud has extensive impacts on people, processes, technology, and security within an organization. An assessment can help an organization create a cloud migration plan to ensure a more successful migration.

If you have a question about moving your data to the cloud, chat with a HostLabs Sherpa today.