Many organizations are moving their enterprise systems to the cloud and achieving significant business benefits. Others are struggling to realize a measurable ROI from these investments.

The latter scenario is actually quite common, so if you want to succeed with your own move to the cloud, you’ll want to take note of these lessons learned from other companies’ cloud migration failures.

6 Lessons From Past Cloud Migration Failures

1. Prioritize Planning

Cloud migrations are typically costly, time-consuming, and disruptive. Expecting them to be anything less could lead to ERP failure.

It’s important to plan for how this project will affect your internal operations, and some of the challenges it could pose. Even a well-executed migration could lead to:

• Data security gaps
• Extended downtime
• Performance decline
• Work interruptions
• Fewer IT and business resources

Try to devote adequate time at the beginning of your project to map out how your existing operations will be affected by this transformation. As you outline requirements, keep both short-term and long-term goals in mind. Build a plan that takes future growth into account and can scale accordingly.

A Failed Payroll System Implementation

Panorama’s Expert Witness team was retained to provide a forensic analysis and written report to the court regarding the failed implementation of a major software developer’s ERP/payroll system.

2. Modify Existing Applications

It’s unrealistic to expect that you can simply move all your existing applications from your existing, on-premises environment into a cloud-based one. This is a common misconception that often occurs when companies follow a “lift and shift” business model. These models require companies to transition their workloads rapidly to minimize mitigation costs.

You will need to modify your applications to make sure they can operate efficiently in a cloud environment. This way, you can utilize the apps’ native features while also increasing your scalability, agility, and overall resiliency.

Cloud migrations typically require a fundamental change to your current IT operating model. Embracing that change is key to long-term success.

3. Understand Your Systems

It’s important to think about whether the cloud logistically makes sense for your existing enterprise systems. The same goes for applications that you might think are independent and disconnected from other in-house systems.

Moving these programs to the cloud without thinking about the impact on operability and security could set you back. In addition to being less functional, they could also take longer to load. Both issues can lead to user frustration.

4. Ensure Stakeholder Buy-In

A successful ERP implementation or digital transformation requires stakeholder buy-in and support. Cloud migration is no different. Yet, it isn’t enough to simply get the green light from the C-suite.

You need to also make sure all your key project leaders are communicating with one another and aligning on the project’s central goals. A clear communication strategy can make this step easier.

As you craft the strategy, consider how you’ll communicate key updates with the following stakeholders:

• Upper-level executives
• Department managers
• Individual end users

Each group will have its own sets of interests and requirements. These differences will influence how you address them and which points you prioritize.

For instance, your C-suite leaders might be interested in the strategic project information. Yet, your managers need more detailed insight into how the migration will affect their teams.

For their part, end users need to understand points such as:
• Why the change is occurring
• How it will impact them
• How disruptive it will be

Throughout the project, remember to keep organizational change management (OCM) top of mind. This helps you make sure you’re focusing on the “people” side of the migration as much as the technical side.

5. Anticipate Problems and Costs​

You don’t want to move your mission-critical apps to the cloud only to find that they have latency issues, security problems, or compliance challenges right off the bat. By planning for such roadblocks, you can often avoid them before they occur.

Together with your project team, create contingency plans that detail the types of problems you may encounter. Then, think of the steps you can put in place now to make sure that risk doesn’t become a reality.

For many companies, this means putting more money into the project than first expected. Instead of sticking with a lean budget to conserve costs, be realistic about what it will cost to fund a successful, secure migration.

6. Understand Workflow and Storage Needs​

It’s essential to get workflows right when planning cloud migrations. This way, you can make sure you’re choosing a realistic, workable cloud configuration.

Start with your workflows. What does your infrastructure performance look like? For instance, when do you experience peak usage demands, and when are things a little slower?

Take those timelines into account and share them with your cloud vendor. You’ll need a system robust enough to not only support you during your busiest seasons but scale with you as you grow for the long term.

It’s also important to think about the amount of cloud storage you’ll need. Many companies overlook features like storage and bandwidth when comparing options from vendors.

Storage bottlenecks can be hard to find and even harder to fix, so identify those needs early.

Avoid the Mistakes of Past Cloud Migration Failures

Cloud migration is more than just a technical undertaking. It’s also a business initiative.

The key to achieving true transformation and avoiding the mistakes of past cloud migration failures is to plan, plan, plan. A comprehensive migration plan can help you align core business drivers, achieve buy-in, and avoid incidents down the road.

As you prepare to start this journey, our ERP consultants are here to help. Contact us below to learn more about the services we provide.

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