Quay’s Michael Bolton gives us seven of the critical elements that will help organisations to deliver successful lift-and-shift outcomes.

The impetus to move IT infrastructure and applications into the cloud have been given a turbo charge by COVID, though the trend toward cloud-based technology was on a steep trajectory well before the pandemic arrived. There are numerous examples of how organisations have approached their migrations – some successful, many not so much.

How can you set up for success in lift-and-shift projects that will facilitate successful delivery?

Consider this your cheat sheet of the best approaches and disciplines that can set you up for success and we will explore these in greater detail in upcoming editions of the Bulletin.

Have a Strategy

It may seem obvious, but it continues to amaze us just how many organisations still wing it when it comes to migrating their platforms to the cloud.

Taking the time to write a strategy helps the organisation identify the change impacts of the lift and shift and plan a structured migration. It’s not simply a technology shift but introduces new capabilities to manage the new platform and some previous capabilities retired.

Think of it like taking a hike in the bush: you need to know where you are in order to plan the route to your destination and plan for what to pack as well as how long the journey will take.

Cataloguing the current state applications and infrastructure and capabilities are critical to understanding all the touchpoints that will be impacted through the process.

Rationalise your applications

We’ve seen two approaches to deciding what to shift to the cloud – move the lot across or rationalise first.

The overwhelming evidence to rationalise first is clear, the reason being that the organisation can take the time to understand the business processes supported by its applications, the roles and responsibilities, and the data and information streams that run through them.

Often on-premises applications require remediation in order to function in the cloud or the cost-benefit of bringing them across is prohibitive. Moreover, when cataloguing systems, it becomes apparent in many cases that a number of applications provide more or less the same functionality and as such rationalisation and simplification opportunities present themselves.

Platform selection

We are big believers in adopting fit-for-purpose solutions. Taking the time to do a market scan of platforms that are in the market, what they’ve developed for your industry, and understanding their strengths and weaknesses is a sensible approach. Too often, platforms are selected based on market penetration.

It could be true that in time all of the major players will leapfrog each other and that any point in time, one will suit better than the rest, however understanding the roadmap and what services they provide – and will provide – from infrastructure through to the applications layer will help drive an integrated and holistic approach and fit for purpose platform selection.

Of course, it goes without saying that you need to understand the cost models. Making sure that your CFO budgeting and portfolio funding processes accommodate a shift to service-based pricing and projects can often be solved by understanding where they fit into capex or opex expenses.

Data and Information Strategy

The explosion of data has given us a lot of opportunities to develop insights from our organisations, however, the reality is that not all data is created equal and not all data needs to be clean.

Taking the time to understand the data and how it is used, managed and sourced is critical to making informed decisions on archiving, cleansing, and normalising data will save a great deal of time and pain (not to mention cost) downstream.

Ensuring fit for purpose data governance and stewardship is paramount to ensuring the adequacy of your data ecosphere.

Operating Model

As mentioned above, we need to understand the capabilities the business leverages both in the current state and the future state. We have seen vendor management and cyber security roles either formed or enhanced to support cloud-based environments whilst some legacy roles retired as now redundant.

Shining a lens on the end-to-end business processes and what IT services are called to support them helps to provide a workable support environment, with appropriate SLAs to manage not only vendors but user expectations and the skills needed in the IT team.

Change Management

Lift and Shift will affect almost everyone in your organisation in some way. Whilst the impacts may be small for some, they may be significant for others, such as the loss of their job or significant re-skilling.

Being focused on the change impacts and building and delivering a change strategy will be a key component in your success, don’t leave it to manage by feel!

Project Manage it

Migration is kind of like scuba diving: it’s a dive into the deep and as the saying goes, plan your dive and dive your plan. Never dive alone and always have a buddy that’s got your back.

Having a well set-up program with appropriate governance, assurance, and project management will lay the foundations for a successful migration. Understanding dependencies, milestones, risks and issues and resource requirements are key enablers in delivering your success as well as managing the change. Getting the right people onside from the outset will significantly aid in minimising the risk and maximising the business outcomes.

Go deeper

We’ll be exploring the seven critical enablers for lift and shift success in upcoming editions of the Bulletin. Stay tuned for more insights from the team.

As project specialists, we develop fit-for-purpose architecture project support.  Contact us here to find out more about how we work with your teams or call 02 9098 6300.

We believe that quality thought leadership is worth sharing – click on any of the links below to share with your colleagues. If you’re interested in republishing our content, here’s what’s okay and not okay.

About Quay

Quay Consulting
Quay Consulting is a professional services business specialising in the project landscape, transforming strategy into fit-for-purpose delivery. Meet our team ...