Want a seamless transition to the cloud? Here are some key questions to ask.

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It seems that everywhere you look these days, businesses all over are executing a “Digital Transformation Journey” as part of their strategy to move to the cloud. Don’t’ get me wrong. I’m not saying that it shouldn’t be there. It needs to be, and with good reason. If a Business is not on a Digital Transformation Journey in today’s day and age, then they will eventually be outperformed by their competitors and will lose any competitive advantage that they currently may have, and it will happen to them pretty quickly.


However, what I’m a strong believer in is, that if they are doing “Digital Transformation”, then do it right. Digital transformation which focuses on the ‘data’ is paramount. Regardless of which industry sector or the size of the organisational, a business that is leading their is doing so by understanding and leveraging their data. It allows them to be dynamic and responsive. They notice and act by looking at the data trends and they deliver better products and services because of it.


There are plenty of articles and evidence outlining the benefits of being data driven. I’m not preaching anything new here. It is widely known. So why, even with this information being available at the touch of a couple of keystrokes in their search engine of choice, do many organisations struggle with it. Have they just failed to address the ‘big data” elephant in the room? Do they not understand it? Or is it that they just don’t value it. Whatever the reason, the sad reality is that by not putting data at the center of it, then unfortunately their Digital Transformation is setup to fail.


I recently came across an article that asked some key questions when embarking on a data-driven digital transformation and migrating to cloud. It’s aim was to avoid the pitfalls and ensure a positive outcome to the “road trip”.


Those questions are worth sharing.

 

How well do you know your data?

Having deep knowledge of what the data is, where the data lives and where it is headed allows for the elimination of poor data practices. It also helps to turn the focus more towards the customers because they free up time by minimising back-end administration work.


Data integration mistakes cause a large chunk of cloud migration chaos. These can be traced back to a flawed understanding of what data precisely lives in the source and target systems. But, by thinking this through and understanding it results in better data analytics and in turn, it presents the business with meaningful insights and places immense value in data.  This also starts to set the foundation for technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to commence.

 

Are you leveraging data management solutions to manage the cloud investment?

Enterprise applications are usually large and complex beasts, but with hybrid cloud solutions making their way into the eco systems these days, these applications are being carved up and usually have a number of components spread across a SaaS cloud or two, as well as their on-prem data platforms.  To manage this complex, multi-cloud and multi-platform data, a robust data management solution is required and there are plenty of these solutions readily available to help with the migration..


Just as long as the data management solution can manage and maintain the business’ internal data and can be extended to step above and look after third party data in the vendor space as well, then it’s a massive tick. Look for easy jacking-in of third-party solutions and seamless integration into the organisation’s own data as a key feature. The more extensive and complex the supply chain, the higher the need for the seamless on boarding and integration.

 

How well governed is your data?

They say nothing is certain except Death and Taxes. Well let’s add Regulatory Requirements to that as well. Regulations are always sprouting up, and because of that, data governance is amongst the most significant priorities and yet challenging things that an organisation faces into when considering the migration.


Consumers don’t usually wish to use services if their personal data is not protected and at risk. Let’s face it, it makes us nervous. Businesses must appreciate that the customer data they have is not actually theirs, but it is under their care. They just do not own it. They are however expected to protect and safeguard it. Regardless of where the data is located, a sound data governance strategy is required.

 

How well have you prioritised the data and cloud integration?

Most, if not all business applications require access to data and they need it to perform optimally. So, when migrating data to the cloud, IT Ops and Data Management teams need to work together to ensure that data can be easily and securely accessed. An internal protocol that allowed for the data to seamless flow through may be “tightened up” when shifting an application to a cloud based solution. The same goes for interfaces, data formats etc. Basically if you ensure the data integration toolsets meet all the different requirements and can scale across their IT infrastructure, then you are covered.

 

Does your organisation have the right skills to succeed in the cloud?

I’ll say it again, Data is one of the most important assets an organisation has available to it. But equally important are their employees.

Investment in upskilling the staff to be “in the know” will reap rewards. To implement any technology successfully, staff must be clear on how best to approach the implementation. For digital transitions to be truly successful, this includes having the skills needed to plan, strategise and execute available in their staff. With best practices, companies stand the best chance to succeed.

Digital Transformation is now a board-level mandate; CEOs are being asked of it. It is a part of scorecards and annual appraisals, and sometimes it’s tied to remuneration and bonuses. If the boat of digital transformation is missed, organisations can be left behind. If executed well, i.e. it’s Data Driven, then organisations can rapidly outperform competitors and gain a significant advantage in rather short time frame.


Has your journey started?