IT leaders sit around a conference table to plan a cloud migration while others join remotely on camera

Establishing your organization’s hybrid cloud strategy is the first step in planning for a migration. This strategy will make or break your project. Identifying the elements to be migrated and who will own them at every step are crucial actions before taking any steps forward. 

Ideally, this planning and work go unnoticed. If it’s done successfully, there’s little or no downtime, and apps and staff can continue to work without interruption. If the strategy is not carefully planned, however, application accessibility and performance suffer. End users grow frustrated.

Understanding how a hybrid cloud environment will affect applications and users is one of the most necessary — but often overlooked — elements to successful cloud migrations.  

A hybrid cloud strategy isn’t glamorous, but it’s necessary

Noticing that things are going wrong during or post-cloud migration is too late. System failures and lags in performance are already affecting your business at that point. A methodical approach to cloud and application migrations will keep your business operating successfully and keep customer and employee satisfaction high.

Where do you start a successful hybrid cloud strategy? Tackling any cloud migration calls for a top-down look at an enterprise — specifically what it needs and doesn’t. Documentation, consistent updates, and open communication in executing this process will make everything easier throughout the migration.

Questions to ask at the start of your migration

The first step for planning a hybrid cloud setup is to focus on the basics. Without plans that compare and contrast each element of your environment accordingly, you run the risk of increasing costs, decreasing application quality and performance, and increasing the probability of future complications. 

Here are four important questions to answer:

What apps go where and why?

Over a third of responders to a recent Gartner study reported that resolving where to put certain workloads is one of the biggest challenges to a successful public cloud migration. Charting out which applications will benefit most from cloud migrations can give your team a good sense of where to move them to. Resolving the questions of which applications will move to the cloud — and where they will go when they get there — is vital to successfully managing the workload in this new environment. 

Organizations often do not have clear guidelines on what should be in a public cloud or a private cloud. It is also rare to see a defined model for managing multiple cloud vendors. These issues often lead to workload placement issues that give everyone a poor cloud experience. Setting these rules in advance — based on a detailed understanding of risk management, compliance, and security issues at play — lets you make one, good, decision, instead of constantly assessing on an individual basis. 

Which teams will have access to the cloud?

Cross-functional collaboration is very important for maintaining optimized cloud environments. Cloud adoption generally prioritizes self-service capabilities, which work great for various teams, but can lead to unnecessary costs and risks if governance and access controls are not defined and managed throughout the organization. In the Gartner survey, 28% of respondents said improving coordination of cloud governance and cost optimization were the top three most concerning to their ROI. A further 22% said governing cloud costs was a top challenge for their overall business. 

Maintaining collaboration between teams working in the cloud is an ongoing challenge. These collaborations and business processes should be re-evaluated quarterly. 

How will our team continue to grow cloud skills?

Improving internal cloud skills is critical for every organization. No matter how strategic you make the cloud, the skills needed to successfully operate there are constantly evolving. Growing the knowledge gap in cloud services will be a linchpin for companies that want to stay competitive. According to Gartner’s strategic trends research, by 2025 more than 95% of new digital initiatives will be through cloud-native platforms. 

Fostering a culture of continuous learning — one with a specific focus on cloud skills is imperative for tech leaders to meet this trend. It is also imperative to retain existing team members and attract new ones in an increasingly tight IT labor market. 

How are we planning for the biggest integration challenges?

One-third of the respondents to the survey said that integrations for both applications and infrastructure were one of their top three challenges relating to cloud strategy. Even more (53%) said that harnessing more cloud agility, scalability and flexibility is top-of-mind for their growth. 

Integrations are such a large part of planning your hybrid cloud strategy that no elements of it can be taken for granted. All stakeholders, both and technical, need to share their insights on the applications and infrastructure elements proposed — or under consideration for — migration. The knowledge gaps between these two teams will cause problems.

By collaborating with all the stakeholders affected by cloud migration, you can choose the best migration techniques, plan for migration waves that reduce downtime, and better convey the true extent of migration and modernization investments that are required for success. 

Survey shows hybrid cloud strategy imperative to IT leadership

Gartner’s Public Cloud Initiatives study shows that you can never plan too much for a cloud migration. Between attracting the right talent and continuing your team’s cloud skill education, knowing what applications and infrastructure to migrate and what to keep on-prem, and managing cross-functional collaboration throughout, there’s a lot to keep track of. If you’re looking for guidance or a migration team to manage these needs for you, Deft can help.

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