"It's complicated." Why so many cloud migrations end in failure

Email migration is specialised. It’s difficult. According to Bloor Research, 38% of cloud migrations end in failure. So, clearly, cloud migration isn’t something you take on without either knowing exactly what you’re doing, or knowing someone who does. Here are three simple tips to help make sure your organisation runs with the other 62% of successful cloud migrations.

“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated."

~ Confucius

Email migration to Office 365 – don’t learn the hard way

Too many organisations are learning the hard way that moving your business data, systems and applications to the cloud can be a hideous experience. An experience that – two out of five times – ends in failure. It can be an incredibly complicated task if you don’t have the advantages of knowledge, experience and resources.

Here are three critical reasons why most cloud migrations fail.

  1. Poor planning

    As Alan Lakein said, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” So, here’s what you need to think about during your planning process.

    • Work out your project delivery lifecycle

    Organisations that don’t plan the entire project delivery lifecycle are just looking for trouble. You need to work out who needs to do what and by when. Write a plan. Specify tasks and allocate the people responsible. Make it timely.

    • Plan how you’re going to support your employees

    You’ll have a terrible time if you ignore this part. Employees need to be supported during the changes. Think about business requirements in terms of training and technical support. Have you planned how cloud migration will fit in with existing business processes?

    Be very confident that your data will be secure during migration and afterwards. Understand your service provider’s business continuity and disaster recovery plans. Make sure they have all the accreditations necessary to protect you from breaching the Data Protection Act or contravening your own industry compliance requirements.  Which brings me on to…

  2. Not knowing your cloud service provider

    When you selecting a service provider, you’re effectively entrusting your business to them. You need to know they’re worthy of this responsibility.

    • Make sure your provider is ISO 27001 certified

    You must have confidence in your cloud service provider. I mentioned accreditations above; make sure your provider is ISO 27001 accredited. This certification is an independent audit of a business’s ability to ensure the security of systems and information – for both its own and its customers’ information assets.

    • Make sure you have a robust service level agreement (SLA)

    With a Microsoft Office 365 Service Level Agreement (SLA) you have a legally binding commitment from your cloud services provider to achieve a specific level of service. If this target is not achieved, your service provider must commit to compensating you based on previously established penalties. So if a vendor is willing to commit to an SLA, you should be assured of their ability to do what they say they’ll do.

    • Make sure you understand your cloud provider’s processes and communications

    You need to understand exactly how migration will work. You need to know that you and other key stakeholders will be kept informed, and that your provider gives you regular project status updates.

  3. Testing

    Failing to test can have your entire organisation pulling their hair out. You can avoid this by following these two tips.

    • Test your migration process

    Detailed steps surrounding testing should form an integral part of your planning document. Following those steps should help avoid future problems and benchmark for successful migration. Your service provider should provide plans for end-to-end service testing that includes testing both before and after migration. Without that benchmark, you won’t know if your cloud migration has been successful.

    • Test your bandwidth

    Testing your current bandwidth should, again, form part of your cloud migration plan so that you understand how your service will perform over a wide area network (WAN) as opposed to your existing local area network (LAN).

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