Willem Conradie, CTO and Technical Director at PBT Group
Welcome to the second of my blog series where I examine the steps companies should consider taking to optimise their cloud migration journey. Previously, the spotlight was on defining the cloud migration strategy. In this article, my attention turns to conducting a cloud proof of value (PoV) or implementing a minimum viable product (MVP). And building from here, the importance of an iterative and agile approach to implementation and optimisation for the cloud.
Even though the steps suggested in these blogs follow one another, it remains important to stress that they enable the data management capabilities and cloud platform to be built iteratively while continuously delivering business value as they mature.
Conducting a cloud PoV or implementing a MVP requires the organisation to create an initial plan and cost for the migration. The PoV or pilot MVP implementation can be used to assess and validate critical success factors for the migration. In turn, the organisation can then update the plan and costs based on the outcomes and lessons learnt.
The critical activities performed
As part of the ‘conduct a cloud PoV or implement a MVP’ component, the following activities are typically performed, and on an as needed basis, to ensure the process aligns to varying organisational capabilities and maturity.
Initial cloud PoC – the PoC enables organisations to validate, in a low-risk environment, the architecture and other critical success factors of the migration. It also provides the opportunity to better understand what cloud computing has to offer and how best to use it. The PoC delivers an environment where mistakes can be made (and lessons can be learnt) without any material impact on existing production systems.
Logical Data Architecture – during this activity, the design for the Logical Data Architecture is performed. This design will include a lower level of additional information compared to the conceptual architecture. This layer includes data flow, integration points and integration patterns. This information is critical and used to enhance the cloud migration plan and associated costs.
Establish a cloud foundation – when the organisation completes the PoC, their attention can then shift to the cloud foundation. This is when teams that own the development of the foundational elements kick into gear. Things to note include creating reference architectures for use as blueprints, setting up identity and access management, dealing with cost governance, and establishing the development life cycle environments.
Initial cloud PoV, or MVP – conduct a cloud PoV or MVP implementation to validate the success factors for the migration. These success factors typically include, to name a few, architecture patterns, implementation effort and associated costs. It is very difficult to predict cloud expenditure accurately upfront. Implementing a representative workload as a pilot or MVP enables organisations to better manage risk and plan better going forward. As such, we strongly advise all our clients to conduct a PoV or MVP as part of their cloud migration journey.
Iterative build and migrate
Once the first two main components of the cloud migration framework are done, or at least in a usable form, the cloud environments are available for the cloud migration project teams to start moving workloads to the cloud. This is done by iteratively creating data platform capabilities as per the migration roadmap and deploying the business use case on the platform capabilities as they become available for widespread use.
Optimise for the cloud
Organisations have found that it is easier to optimise their applications after they have migrated them to the cloud. They can then realise the cloud’s true potential by optimising solutions to make full use of its high-performance computing capabilities. With cloud services continually evolving, this optimisation is an ongoing process.
Understanding the changes needed
Given the monumental changes associated with moving to the cloud, any organisation will need to put a comprehensive change management strategy in place. This will incorporate every aspect of people, processes, technology, and data that will be impacted by the shift to the cloud. A transition to the cloud cannot be successful if change management is not implemented.
I hope the experiences shared over these two blogs is of value and assists you to move forward with your cloud journey in a practical manner.