While moving your data to the cloud may sound complicated and risky, it is a process and with proper planning and the right resources, moving to the cloud is easy as 1-2-3.
At the early stage in the assessment process, you have likely identified what you want to move and why. Most migrations involve moving email, moving content, or moving servers, and the “why” is typically because it will save money, decrease support needs, and/or provide new and improved functionality and performance.
Be clear about what you’re moving and all of the areas that need to be considered before you can put together your migration plan. Here are some questions to consider:
- How much data do you have? 30GB or 6TB? The amount of data is a large factor in determining your migration plan and path.
- What is the source system? Is the data easy to access or will it require tools or personnel with specific training to be able to extract the data?
- Are there any 3rd party tools or systems that are integrated with the data and, if so, will those integrations need to be moved or will they no longer be needed?
- How will the data be moved? In many cases, there is more than one way to move the data. Look at the options and determine which one is best for your organization.
- What is your timeline for the migration? Are you facing an expiring hardware, software or support contract?
- Does your team know how to support the new cloud system, like Office 365? If not, consider your short- and long-term support needs and build that into your migration plan.
- How many of your end users will be affected by the change? Consider the impact a migration will have on them, both during the migration and after. Change management and user communications will be critical to the success of your migration.
Reach out for help
One of the most important things to consider is whether or not you have the right resources to perform the migration. Because moving to the cloud is not something you do every day, you’ll want to consult with someone who has experience with cloud migrations and DOES perform migrations every day.
With the right help, you will get the benefit of knowing what the potential pitfalls are and how to avoid them. More importantly, the right service provider will “teach you” along the way so you can gain valuable knowledge for future migration projects.
Planning is the most important part of your migration project. With thorough planning, the data migration itself will be relatively easy and, more significantly, you will avoid surprises that could negatively impact your end users or business operations. Below is a checklist for planning your migration:
- Make sure you have the right resources lined up and engaged in your project
- Define the source and destination environments (for example, Exchange 2010 to Exchange Online)
- Define the migration process and path (how will the data be moved?)
- Confirm the destination environment is set up and configured
- Include thorough testing in the plan, and the testing should not affect your production environment and end users
- Build in plenty of testing time to allow for retesting after issues are discovered and resolved
- If any downtime is required (like needing to restart a server), plan that during an approved change window that minimizes impact to end users and business operations
- Define a calendar-based communications plan that provides multiple communications to end users regarding any changes that will affect them – be sure to include training and user guides as needed
- Set up and perform a pilot migration to validate the end user experience and provide an opportunity for further testing (for example, a pilot migration for email is usually 5-10 users)
- Meet with your migration project team and key stakeholders to review the results of your testing and pilot programs, your migration schedule and the end user communications plan – if everyone is in agreement that the plan is solid, move forward with your migration
You’ve probably heard the business motto that success is 90% planning and 10% execution. This is also true in the word of cloud migrations. If you’ve done the planning outlined above then congratulations, your migration project is going to be a success!
This doesn’t mean there won’t be any issues but the issues you do encounter will have a limited negative impact.
Be sure to follow through on the end user communications you developed during the planning stage, and solicit feedback from your end users to identify any additional training needs that may not have been discovered during the planning phase.
Okay, I’m ready to migrate but I want help!
Of the more than 350 cloud migrations Strategic SaaS has helped organizations of all sizes with, we have NEVER had to “roll back” a migration. That’s because we put our experience to work for our customers and never cut corners with step 2. Thorough planning really does result in a successful cloud migration.
We’d love to help you with your project! Just request a free consultation with one of our migration guides.