We love change. Said no one. Ever.

As cloud technologies continue to assert market presence, the pace of change accelerates, and competitive pressures rise. Public clouds offer answers – enabling organizations to actually embrace change and at the same time drive value faster across every dimension of their businesses.

Wherever your portfolio companies are in their journey to cloud and no matter their business, adopting a cloud-first strategy will undeniably help them accelerate organizational flexibility and agility, but also create new opportunities for innovation. No surprise, then, that today’s most forward-thinking organizations have adopted and transitioned to cloud in some way or other.

By now, most organizations have recognized the many benefits of moving their on-prem infrastructure to cloud – from unifying ecosystems for increased infrastructure coherence, adopting a user and internet-centric digital workplace, to cutting CapEx ascribed to on-prem operations for the benefits of OpEx and a pay-as-you-go model.

Yet, many organizations’ efforts to journey to cloud typically decelerate or even stall over time. Therefore, remember, as you assess businesses and their approaches to cloud, it’s simply not enough to identify and navigate common pitfalls – you should also reaffirm the importance to follow a proven approach and industry best-practices to create a roadmap for a successful cloud implementation consistent with their needs and future objectives.

Neglecting proven ways of working and industry best-practices can – and probably will – at some point result in unfavorable circumstances as the complexity continues to rise together with business growth. This can lead to unplanned expenditure ascribed to inefficient infrastructure management overhead but can also in extreme cases even require complete deprecation of previous efforts. Notwithstanding, here is a handful of common pitfalls, remediation possibilities and best practices:

Pitfall nr. 1: Failing to attract key executives and secure buy-in

Failing to secure buy-in and a clear mandate from key executives can negatively impact the amount of visibility and consideration needed for a successful journey to cloud. Appointing a sponsor who’s capable of spearheading and shouldering the initiative, communicating the rationale and outlining business benefits and strategic goals are directly integral to a successful journey to cloud.

Pitfall nr. 2: Starting a cloud initiative without doing your homework

Cloud adoption can be a time and resource-intensive process. This usually stems from a lack of knowledge and relevant competency skillset and can be outright disastrous, not to mention cost-inefficient, when migrating mission-critical systems. Before any migration takes place, look beyond the current business goals – your portfolio company might be migrating one (1) system today, but intend to eventually lift everything to the cloud. Therefore, understand what is being moved, why it’s being moved, and how it’s being moved.

Pitfall nr. 3: Not fully realizing and understanding cloud security

Legacy-oriented monoliths have typically been conservative around security, and rightfully so. The same monoliths also grew accustomed to storing data on-site to retain full control over their ecosystem. This is now changing with cloud-based, secure-by-design infrastructure that ensures built-in protection to keep information, identities, application, devices, and much more secure and in-warranty, while leveraging customer-centric data residency options as well as endless scalability and redundancy. Failing to realize and adapt to the new can further manifest the business as a monolith and consequently a thing of the past.

Pitfall nr. 4: Only considering a “big bang” approach

Some organizations are under the impression that a journey to cloud is an all-or-nothing approach. This is the furthest thing from the truth – a common scenario is that organizations opt for a hybrid model (on-premises and cloud) during an extended period because of the difficulty, cost and risky elements of moving critical workloads too quickly. The key objective here is to understand that “easy does it” and that discretion is the better part of valor.

Pitfall nr. 5: Underestimating the importance of application rationalization

Chances are that organizations seldomly know exactly how their applications are interconnected. They think they know. In reality, they have half the picture and a dream. Knowledge, skill, and a solid migration strategy is integral to successfully decompose and move application workloads to the cloud. Note that “lift and shift” is commonly mistaken for “pressing a button, migrate, and then it's in the cloud”. This is a classic misconception – any migration attempt must always be carefully considered before being initiated to avoid breaking application dependencies.

Ending notes

As we’ve seen here, journeys to the cloud can be complex, and there are many potential pitfalls. Failure isn’t just theoretical – it happens in all organizations, every day. No matter the complexity, you should always be clear about what you want to achieve and what is involved to ensure a smooth, successful migration.

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