Jun 28 2017

Cisco Live 2017: A How-To Guide to Make Your Cloud Migration Idiot-Proof

Here are some common missteps to avoid to smooth your journey into the cloud.

What does legendary Japanese industrial engineer and manufacturing expert Shigeo Shingo have to do with cloud migration?

During a session this week at the Cisco Live 2017 conference in Las Vegas, Eric James, cloud client executive with CDW, noted that Shingo is widely credited with revolutionizing Toyota’s production process and inventing the concept of Poka-yoke.

Poka-yoke refers to any mechanism in a manufacturing process that helps an equipment operator avoid mistakes. It was created as a way to limit product defects due to inadvertent human error. A sign that reads, “If you hit this sign, you will hit that bridge” — an almost fool-proof method to ensure that trucks do not hit the bridge — is a real-world example of Poka-yoke today.

The concept of Poka-yoke is useful when thinking about moving to the cloud, which can be complicated. According to CDW’s Cloud 401 Survey Report, 40 percent of businesses that have migrated to the cloud have decided to reverse course (or wish they could). Shifting back to on-premises infrastructure after a cloud migration is often costly, James noted. As with Poka-yoke, if businesses could limit the common missteps IT professionals make during cloud migrations, they might lower the number of cloud U-turns they take.

6 Common Cloud Migration Missteps

James described the six common mistakes businesses make when starting a cloud migration:

  1. Failing to involve lines of business in planning: James advised business and IT leaders to ask if there is a learning curve for the end user. If the user experience is going to change, companies should provide training for the new user experience. Otherwise, they risk losing buy-in for the cloud project.
  2. Failing to analyze the strategic and technical fit for cloud: “What is the reason you are moving to the cloud?” James asked. “Do your applications support a move to the cloud? What about legacy applications?” Businesses must make sure that whatever they are moving to the cloud, it makes sense for the data or applications to be there.
  3. Failing to approach cloud adoption incrementally: James urged companies to start small. After they have a few cloud wins and have grabbed the low-hanging fruit, they can move to larger, more complicated projects, such as Disaster Recovery as a Service, he said.
  4. Choosing a suboptimal delivery model: The Software as a Service model “is the easiest,” James said, and he advised companies to start there.
  5. Forgetting to plan for failure: Cloud is built for failure, but that just means the infrastructure will come back up, James said. “You have to make sure your application is brought back up as well after the failover,” he added.
  6. Going it alone: What’s best for the company: public, private or hybrid cloud? Having an expert knowledgeable in a variety of cloud solutions will allow organizations to find the right cloud product and the right strategy for implementing it, James said.

Why Businesses Should Trust Cloud Experts

According to the CDW 401 Cloud Survey, 59 percent of responders would make more use of the cloud, but the complexity of migration and integration is holding them back. Additionally, organizations struggle to make accurate financial forecasts, as 53 percent say their models are off by more than 10 percent.

That’s where cloud planning services come into play, James said: “They help determine the optimal IT delivery model.” Some examples of cloud planning include consulting and diagnostic services, combining fixed-services offerings and customized, flexible engagements.

Businesses need to be optimized throughout the entire cloud migration process, James said.

In the planning stage, businesses should build financial modeling across traditional and cloud solutions and have a blueprint for delivery of IT services, he said. During the migration itself, businesses must integrate security policies and practices, and build and test for failure.

“Once the project is complete, optimize your management with proactive monitoring, remediation and patching, and by conducting ongoing architecture reviews,” he said.

Read articles and check out videos from BizTech coverage of Cisco Live 2017 here

Denis Isakov/ThinkStock

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