We Moved to the Cloud!
Moving to the Cloud
Office 365 – 6 reasons to do it and 4 things we learnt
Like thousands of other organizations around the world, we made the decision last year to move our email from Exchange into the cloud. We did this for a number of compelling reasons:
- Our servers and software were becoming outdated and desperately in need of modernization and an upgrade.
- Like many companies, we wanted to move from a Capital Expenditure model towards an Operational Expenditure model. This would allow us to more easily manage cash flow and invest in our future over time, and with predictable investments that could be aligned with budgets and forecasted spend.
- We wanted to digitize and modernize the way we do business, with email being central to our internal and external communications and operations. We also wanted to give our employees a digital communication experience comparable with what they are increasingly familiar with and have learned to expect from using their mobile devices and other connected hardware and applications.
- Like almost every organization, we have built up a repository of information and we wanted to make accessing, searching and sharing that information easier.
- We wanted to maintain our appeal as a place where people want to work and realize that this means staying relevant, particularly with technology increasingly defining workplace and social culture.
- Build upon our internal expertise, knowledge and skills of Office 365 to better serve our clients who are on or plan to move to Office 365.
Several months on, here’s what we learnt on our journey moving to the cloud:
- Source and use expert advice right from the start. This will help you:
- Set the project framework
- Ensure that you go to the cloud with a well-defined plan
- Identify the internal and external value of the project and ensure this is both communicated and leveraged – engage in internal marketing activities
- Engage with an internal stakeholder who recognizes and understands the business and strategic value of the project and doesn’t simply see it as a change of technology
- Employ a phased approach – perhaps even more importantly when migrating users from one platform to another, adopting a phased approach ensures little or no disruption, allows for effective communication and, perhaps most importantly, secures ongoing confidence and buy-in from your users
- Take people with you on the journey because moving to the cloud is not simply an advancement of technology or a more effective of efficient way of doing things. It is recognizing the way people engage with each other both at work and socially and moving your business via that technology and infrastructure to make it more relevant to both your employees and your customers. It is a step forward that should be celebrated.
At systemsGo we recognize that a move to the cloud (whatever version or flavor of the cloud that may be) is similar to many other IT projects. It should be understood, however, that a cloud migration represents a significant step-change within an organization.
This is the transformation of your IT function from less of a transactional and process-driven operation into a function that becomes more strategic and elevates the role of IT upstream towards the value-add areas of consumer (and employee) experience and the potential for greater digital engagement and collaboration throughout your organization. Your IT department grows into a true strategic partner rather than simply an enabler.
That’s not to say that, for a few years at least, some more familiar and traditional ‘IT considerations’ will still need to be looked at. These include:
- Network reliability
With cloud comes a greater reliability on network connectivity be that fixed-line, or wireless. Whilst the speed and reliability of connectivity is something we just think is getting better all the time, there are still numerous challenges associated with specific locations and applications meaning network considerations remain paramount.
- It’s still technology!
Whilst the Cloud is claimed to be the next best thing since whatever (and it does, of course, make huge sense in many cases) it’s still technology and, as such, needs governing, monitoring and designing. It is perhaps reassuringly familiar to some that the following will still need to be high up the checklist:
- What tools will be used for migration and what will be used to support the environment after migration?
- What will be the governance policy for the new environment?
- What are the performance benchmarks?
- Who will design the infrastructure and applications?
Our solution for you
You probably have one eye on transforming your business, reshaping processes and looking to empower both your employees and your customers. You may also realize that you need to keep a firm foot in some established IT consulting areas. We believe the combined solution of us at systemsGo together with our colleagues at CloudGo, sets you up best to embrace the way forward on your Cloud mission.