The Cloud Industry Forum (CIF) has discovered that a third of organisations find moving to cloud services a very difficult process. The study of 250 UK private and public sector senior IT and business decision-makers discovered that the step change to the cloud had been much more complicated than originally anticipated. The shift to could often involves changes in business process in order to succeed and hit the optimum levels of efficiency gains. A third of research respondents said that they felt improved early support from providers would help, while only 10% said their migration could not have been improved; 38% said the transition to cloud was difficult and 30% found difficulties due to data sovereignty. Before the migration, 27% of businesses said they had contractual problems such as clarity of liability. While during the process, 28% encountered an initial, but small, drop in employee productivity. The results of this survey demonstrate the challenge that moving to the cloud poses. Businesses need to be fully prepared for the change, the benefits and challenges it brings with along with it. Getting it Right For organisations migrating to the cloud, it is absolutely crucial to get the basics right. The first thing to check is that the reseller partner has the right credentials. A great place to start is adhering to the Cloud Industry Forum (CIF) Code of Practice as it has just been recognised by the European Commission. The next point that needs to be considered is ensuring that the cloud migration is robust and transparent. The business must be completely aware of what is happening during the transition and be comfortable that there is minimal disruption to day-to-day business operations. Alongside a low level of disruption, ensure that business goals are being supported by the cloud services the reseller delivers. The CIF has found that 35% of businesses said they did not have the necessary skills to achieve this aim. While knowledge is crucial, so is consultancy and collaboration from the reseller. Businesses must ensure they play a very active role in helping them to unravel what can be incredibly complex IT arrangements. The result of this collaborative learning process is that the company should receive cloud migration strategies that fit their needs. No migration is going to be the same – so it is important that the business and reseller work closely together to achieve the most effective strategy for migration. The transition to cloud is not an easy process; and depending on which cloud services are involved, staff will need to be trained on the way things work and data will need to be transferred, etc. In this case, businesses must make sure that the reseller is alive to their needs. They must ensure that the reseller adapts to provide the level of support in order to ensure a first-class cloud service deployment. Deployments of cloud services can be beset with problems for a variety of reasons. For example, the cloud provider could possess a dearth of knowledge about the existing organisation’s IT estate – making migration more challenging. This makes collaboration and understanding very important aspects in easing the cloud transition. There must also be clear lines of responsibility, so that if something does go wrong - the issue can be identified and resolved as quickly as possible. The Perfect Cloud Just as transition to the cloud is a maturing process – so the cloud industry itself is developing. However, it is moving in the right direction and the CIF’s research found a 90% satisfaction rate and 70% of IT leaders intend to raise their use of the cloud over the course of 2016. The pressure is on the resellers to ensure that they can cater to rocketing interest in the cloud. Businesses need to make sure that resellers hit the basics and ensure that their IT services face minimal disruption during the transition. Moreover, companies must make sure their resellers clearly understand their IT needs and provide the requisite knowledge and staff training. Problems must also be solved as rapidly as possible. Overall, seek a reseller which understands, is insightful, flexible and thorough in deploying the cloud. If that is achieved – then migration to the cloud can be a much smoother process.
About the Author Tim Patrick-Smith is group CIO of Getronics and has been working in the IT industry for 32 years covering application development and support, service systems, Unified Communications and more lately Unified IT solutions. A strong believer in the need for IT support to be more proactive as IT becomes integral to everything we do both at work and outside of work.