So, you’re thinking of moving your business to the cloud? Welcome to the big leagues! The majority of companies (94%) are using cloud services today, with a big jump (61%) who moved in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If you’re contemplating the move, you probably aren’t surprised by these statistics, but you likely still have a few questions. First and foremost, where do I start? Let us walk you through what you can expect when migrating to the cloud.
Before we get started, we have to point out that like most things in life, the answer ‘it depends’ applies. Your migration to the cloud depends on several factors because no two businesses or cloud solutions are alike. Where to start or what to expect is a complex question, and again… it depends, but we can get you there by asking five (5) very business-specific questions.
1. How much do you want to spend & what is your mental budget?
The costs of typical cloud migration can range anywhere from $5,000 – $ 15,000 for small workloads and $20,000 – $ 500,000 for medium/large workloads. What’s the ballpark figure you’re envisioning for cloud migration? This answer lays the foundation for the subsequent questions, and is easily the most critical question, and often the least fun to answer. However, it must be asked. There are one-time project costs associated with the physical migration, plus ongoing costs of managing the cloud (like system updates, upgrades, number of licenses, etc.).Unlike the on-premise model, these management costs are paid monthly rather than one large expenditure where servers and hardware equipment are purchased. So, make sure you budget accordingly. Are you able to shut servers down for long stretches of time, perhaps overnight? Then you can also consider a pay-as-you-go payment structure to help cut down on costs so you’re not paying for unnecessary things when no one is using them, for example.
2. What is your end goal?
If this question stumps you, try visualizing where you see your company in 1, 3, or 5+ years from now. Are you wanting to get rid of your IT computer hardware and host your own servers in the cloud? Are you okay with the ongoing monthly costs of renting from Microsoft Azure so you don’t have to take care of servers yourselves or spend resources searching for ways to improve connectivity? The answers to these questions will help us determine what type of system setup will help you reach your short and long-term goals.
3. What does your current system look like?
This question is often best answered by a partner conducting a full site assessment (with your permission of course) for your cloud migration so nothing is missed. What solutions do you already have hosted in the cloud that you might not want or need to move? Some people use programs that are hosted on the provider’s cloud and that might be a better option than moving it to Azure. For example, if a client is using Sage Intacct, that’s a great solution that doesn’t need to be migrated.
Consider reviewing your current Microsoft365 licensing commitment: umbrella-type licenses like Business Premium or the Enterprise-class E3 and E5 licenses already include valuable services like OneDrive, Teams, and SharePoint Online. Leveraging these solutions becomes a simple matter of data migration and access training.
4. What do you want to move to the cloud? Is it the whole thing or just parts of it?
After assessing your current situation, we must determine what exactly you want to be moved in your cloud migration. This is best discovered by creating a list of your systems and analyzing all the programs you’re using. During this analysis, decide what you want to be moved and what you what to keep where it’s at. You might only want to move certain applications. Here is where you’ll sort out and document your thoughts on this.
5. How do staff currently access your system?
This is an important but often overlooked question. Is everyone onsite in the office, or do you have a lot of remote employees? If your employees are all office-bound, are these offices in one single location, or are they spread across multiple locations that all need to be connected?
If you have remote sites and employees, then some form of remote access is required for server-bound applications, either a VPN connection or virtual desktop -type platform. Globally, 16% of companies are fully remote with about 62% of workers claiming to work remotely at least occasionally. In today’s world, offices most likely do a hybrid approach, which needs to be considered.
You can go ahead and prepare answers to these questions before contacting a reputable and experienced partner, perhaps BT Partners. That’s the point of our post. However, because these are very multifaceted questions, one depending on the next one, etc., we also recommend discussing them with a potential cloud partner, so they can help walk you through them and ask any follow-up questions that your answers might inspire.
There are many benefits to hiring a provider to run your cloud, and one is definitely having someone help you through these tedious but critical questions. This is simply so we can ensure a successful cloud solution that works for you today and tomorrow. Talk to our Managed IT Services team today and start the process. What are you waiting for?