3 implementation mistakes cloud adopters should avoid

Enterprise cloud computing adoption continues to increase. Researchers for the Software-as-a-Service provider RightScale connected with almost 1,000 information technology specialists in January in an effort to assess cloud usage. Approximately 96 percent of respondents attested to managing cloud instances, an increase over the 92 percent that reported overseeing such technology in 2017. Of course, this figure is likely to expand once more over the remainder of the year, as organizations worldwide are expected to spend more than $305 billion on cloud services in 2018, according to Gartner. 

For businesses on the outside looking in at the growing enterprise cloud community, there will be no better time to embrace this technology. Use cases and implementation models have solidified and been deployed to great success. Competition among cloud vendors continues to intensify, leading to an abundance of cost-effective solutions designed for businesses of all sizes. However, even in this cloud-positive environment filled with possibility, adopting the technology comes with some risk. As with any large-scale enterprise project, pitfalls line the pathway to successful cloud implementation. With this in mind, prospective adopters should learn from predecessors that encountered trouble and familiarize themselves with some of the common hazards they might face. Here three of those cloud implementation perils and how companies embarking on the adoption journey can avoid them:

Improper planning
Migrating enterprise applications and years of data from on-premises servers to cloud storage services is no easy task. Sadly, some adopters fail to grasp this reality and approach the move to the cloud with little forethought, under the impression that IT teams can just shift mission-critical information from one storage solution to another as they would with two desktop machines. This hasty approach can lead to massive data loss, not to mention complete migration failure. There is, of course, a simple solution for evading such outcomes: careful governance and planning.

Provisioning cloud servers takes seconds but the implications of these actions carry much larger ripple effects, CIO reported. For instance, IT teams that dole out cloud storage space without considering data security may by opening their respective organizations up to attacks from well-equipped cybercriminals. Similarly, when information is transferred from physical servers to the cloud without a technical assessment, the likelihood of an application crash increases, as each of these environments has unique computational characteristics. Planning mitigates these potential problems, allowing organizations to shift their assets without creating risk. That said, simply drafting new cloud usage policies is not enough.

Technical teams should evaluate each and every enterprise application to gauge how migration might impact its functionality, according to the International Data Group. This work, called portfolio analysis, reveals how adopters should handle the applications they plan to move. Often times, key software requires some updating to make it cloud-friendly, and, in some cases, applications must be rebuilt. On top of this technology-oriented research, adopters must perform businesses analysis to determine how a given cloud deployment might affect operations. This not only reduces the likelihood of serious service delivery problems but also lays the groundwork for cost savings through right-sizing.

The cloud can take businesses to new heights, but implementing the technology comes with some risks.
The cloud can take businesses to new heights, but implementing the technology comes with some risks.

An all-or-nothing approach
The immense potential that comes with enterprise cloud computing technology often leads adopters to take aggressive implementation lines. Some even ask IT teams to completely empty on-premises servers and move everything, in bulk, to the cloud. This sort of all-or-nothing approach is possible. Roughly one year ago, the online notation company Evernote closed out a complete migration to the Google Cloud Platform, a process that lasted approximately 70 days and involved the transfer of 3 petabytes of data, according to a company blog post. This success, which was celebrated in technology circles, represents the ideal cloud migration scenario. However, most adopters are not capable of executing such a move. Yet, many try. This leads to considerable operational issues.

Not all applications are designed to work in the cloud and some fall apart once moved out of on-premises servers. Such an event pushes up costs, as IT must devote time to restoring functionality. Of course, without critical backend assets in play, everyday business processes suffer and the bottom line drags. In the end, it is better and more cost-effective to move data piecemeal and leave legacy software unfit for cloud environments in on-premises servers. Starting with non-mission-critical data is wise, as these assets will most likely fold effectively into virtual servers and cause little disruption should migration problems materialize. When it comes time to migrate more critical information, IT teams must exercise great care and ensure cloud service providers can follow through on uptime guarantees while providing first-class backup offerings, according to TechTarget. 

As adopters navigate migration, they must always keep in mind that moving to the cloud is not some arbitrary IT activity – there are concrete commercial reasons for embarking on this journey. And, the all-or-nothing approach rarely yields the optimal operational results for companies outside of Evernote and other highly experienced, data-reliant behemoths.

Ineffective or nonexistent training
One symptom of the larger enterprise technology movement is the rise of the notion that employees, many of whom navigate advanced software and hardware on a daily basis, require little in the way of training when given access to new backend systems. Intuitive interfaces that mirror those found in consumer applications are now standard. Why should workers confronted with yet another dashboard or high-level technological concept need any sort of direction? Can't they just figure it out? The answer is simple: no.

"Organizations worldwide are expected to spend more than $305 billion on cloud services in 2018."

Although today's employees do indeed encounter countless pieces of technology, they are likely not equipped to understand the minutia of cloud computing and the varying ways in which it affects modern business operations. Even the IT workers who act as administrators and provisioners may struggle to understand their duties in a cloud-based operational environment. With this in mind, organizations navigating cloud adoption must develop and deploy internal training programs to acclimate both technical specialists and everyday workers to new cloud-based workflows, according to Deloitte. For the former contributors, hands-on courses covering virtual machine creation and provisioning are a must. Luckily, most vendors offer this kind of training via cost-effective certificate programs. With everyday employees, creating general cloud awareness should be the primary objective, as these workers will only interact with the technology in passing. That said, such instructional modules do address an immensely important issue: data security.

Businesses with assets in the cloud must give workers the tools they need to avoid cyberthreats that could compromise their newly implemented services. Additionally, it is likely that employees will see some operational changes due to the introduction of cloud technology. Organizations must help them understand why these adjustments are occurring and how they benefit the enterprise as a whole. Those that faill to do so see internal resistance that can jeopardize implementation.

Cloud adopters capable of rolling out sound implementation efforts that address these pitfalls can avoid major roadblocks and put into place bleeding-edge data collection and storage infrastructure capable of taking their operations to the next level. 

Firms embracing IT modernization via the cloud should consider connecting with Inventu Corporation. We offer the Flynet Viewer, a screen integration solution that streamlines the IT modernization process, meeting the needs of businesses and employees in a way that feels both familiar and simple. Contact us today to learn more about this solution and the other products included in our extensive catalog.