Understanding app dependencies. Assessing whether migrating an on-premises app to the cloud is a feasible option. Actually migrating and managing the environment post-migration. These are just some of the top 10 challenges associated with cloud migration projects. For the most part, it seems a lack of specialist expertise is a key blocker in a successful cloud migration.
So, where can you find this expertise? Cloud migration services partners! They specialise in taking businesses to the cloud and the best ones will have a team of high-quality experts, experienced in working with companies of various sizes, sectors and requirements. Here are six tips to help you choose the right partner.
- Are they experienced with the cloud platform you want?
- Are they familiar with your industry?
- Will they understand your business objectives?
- How happy are their other customers?
- Do their SLAs revolve around customer priorities?
- Do they have relationships with other vendors?
1. Are they experienced with the cloud platform you want?
If you’ve already got a cloud platform in mind, you should find a cloud services partner that specialises in migrations for that platform. A good way to find top partners is to search the partner registries. For example, if you were interested in Microsoft’s Cloud Services, you can look for partners in their CSP (cloud services provider) directory.
If you’re still narrowing down your cloud platform options, a great partner can help you find the right one for your business needs.
As a whole, your partner should be capable of taking the initiative in supporting your internal teams through the migration. By following structured frameworks and best practices, they should be able to help you:
- Assess your existing applications and workload
- Rewrite, rearchitect or replace applications that can’t be lifted into the cloud
- Choose the right cloud migration approach (e.g. lift-and-shift, cloud-native, software-as-a-service etc)
- Establish baselines and KPIs
- Monitor your cloud environment post-migration to ensure it’s still working as envisioned
Tip: Find out how the partner plans to continuously adhere to industry best practices. Certifications go a long way but great partners will also have on-the-field experience to help you solve problems.
2. Are they familiar with your industry?
Rules and regulations can vary between industries. So, it’s important to find a cloud partner that has experience in working within your industry and configuring your cloud environment to keep you compliant.
Here are some questions you should ask:
- What other migrations have you completed within my industry and were they with businesses that are of a similar size to mine?
- What challenges have you experienced with these migrations and how did you overcome them?
3. Will they understand your business objectives?
It’s not just technical expertise you should look for. Your cloud services partner should also align their migration strategy with your overall business goals. For many businesses seeking to move to the cloud, enhanced speed, agility, scalability, availability and resource utilisation are some key objectives.
But these can mean different things to different businesses. Your cloud services partner should accommodate for that - they should work with you to understand what (for example) improved agility means for your business. That means getting to know your industry and company values.
Tip: The best partners will also help you understand the best order of priority when it comes to goals for your migration.
4. Can they help you align strategy to business value?
In addition to helping you set goals for your migration (the above point), the right partner can also help your organisation build value as part of your strategy. There are three main ways to create value:
- By creating new value - e.g. launching a new product/service, entering a new market
- By creating better value - improving something you already have in place
- By creating more value - improving something you already have by creating more of it
The right cloud migration services partner will be experienced in value creation and help build it into your migration strategy.
5. How happy are their other customers?
The easiest way to assess the reputation and expertise of a cloud partner? Read their case studies and client testimonials. What are their customers saying about them? What kind of customers (e.g. sector, industry, challenges) are they?
This can give you valuable insights on how this partner has navigated past projects, particularly ones most similar to yours.
6. Do their SLAs revolve around customer priorities?
You want a clear definition of the service and associated deliverables. Complicated service level agreements (SLAs) can hint towards a lack of processes and control which will most likely affect service delivery later down the line.
The kind of SLA you want should feature:
- Time to respond, not just acknowledge the problem
- Time to fix - e.g. will a temporary resolution be required before a permanent fix is rolled out?
- Escalation path and timings
There will likely be other SLAs that are important to your business. Talk to any potential cloud migration services partner and discuss how they can be added into their standard SLA set. The right partner will accommodate for this.
7. Do they have relationships with other vendors?
Some cloud partners will have relationships with other vendors and this is important to understand these. Why? Because knowing your potential cloud partner’s organisational structure and delivery mechanisms can indicate whether they can effectively meet your needs.
Consider the following:
- Accreditations and certifications (for the business as a whole and staff)
- Technical capabilities
- Whether they can support multi-vendor environments
Finding the right cloud migration services partner can make or break your project
Your choice of migration partner might be just one part of the overall migration project, but it’s a very important one. Considering all the risks associated with cloud migration projects, the right partner can help you stay on track and meet your goals.
In our step-by-step guide to cloud migrations, we cover what you need to consider before, during and after your project. From how to develop a cloud migration strategy to the importance of testing, find out more by downloading the guide below.