The first step to moving your business to the cloud is to do your research. Consider your options and find the right partner. Cloud computing can have huge benefits to business, but without the honest advice of the right IT partner, you could end up being sold down the river.
Once you’ve established that cloud is the right direction for your business, your chosen cloud provider should support you with your move to the cloud, offering as little or as much help as you need to be up and running in the most efficient time-frame possible. So what steps should you take?
Analyze your existing infrastructure
Consider your business strategy, both short and long-term goals, look at what’s working for you, and what is not. How do you need your IT to work for you? How do your employees need their IT to work for them? Could you boost productivity with a different approach? Could cloud give you the competitive edge you’re looking for? What needs to change technically in order for these goals to be achieved?
Consider a trial
Any cloud solution provider should be able to offer you free trials or demonstrations of how different cloud options would work for you. Choose key members of your team to manage these trials – they’ll be the people using the solution after all, so ask them to analyze and assess the trial giving full feedback and most importantly, asking the right questions. Look at how they adapt to the new system. How much training will be required? How much more efficient is your team going to be using the proposed services?
Migrate with care
When we migrate a customer over to the cloud we follow four carefully timed process.
- Prepare the existing environment
- Set up the synchronization of data
- move over to using the new services
- Deliver training
If you’re moving more than one area of the business to the cloud, migrate them one at a time to make the transition easier for the end user. Remember that some services are easier to migrate than others. Putting your emails into the cloud is one thing, but migrating a full CRM system is quite another. Prioritize, plan and progress with care.
We can’t emphasize this point strongly enough. Businesses often implement all singing and dancing IT systems, then leave staff to fumble their way through it. They’ll figure it out, right? Wrong. If you’re going to maximize the return on your IT investment, you want employees to be using the software to full capacity. Speak to your chosen supplier about training programmes. They should be able to deliver training remotely to minimize business impact but remember, training is an investment too.
Your people are your biggest asset and you want them to be comfortable with the technology they’re using, confident in their work, and as productive as possible.
Get the support
You might have an IT manager or even a small IT department that’s fully capable of supporting your new cloud infrastructure. Even so, most businesses benefit from some level of external technical support. If you’ve opted for a fully managed cloud solution your teams may not have access to restricted areas. You might need additional support troubleshooting or assisting with network design as your business needs change and your cloud infrastructure grows.
In short, be prepared. Financially, technically and strategically. Prepare your business, prepare your employees and support them through the transition. Use your provider to manage your cloud deployment for a seamless evolution to your new environment.
If you’d like to find out more about how to move your business to the cloud, get in touch here.