Migrating on-premise application to the cloud
As many of you are considering migrating your on-premise application to the cloud, have you found yourself answering the following questions:
- Where do we start?
- Why do we want to migrate to the cloud?
- Do we understand the current state of our business processes?
- What roles are needed in the future state?
During our most recent experience of migrating our on-premise application to the cloud, we encountered many of the above questions. We felt that these questions were important and needed to be addressed before a decision to migrate to the cloud was made. In an effort to help other institutions who are in a similar situation and to seek input from your experiences, we are providing a few things for you to consider.
In almost all cases a migration to the cloud application is about making a business transformation change and less about a technical solution.
Where do we start?
- Develop a charter for an “explore” project with specific scope, goals, and success factors outlined.
- Get approval from the executive sponsors.
- If approved, get appropriate teams involved to start the work. You may need to engage with a consulting partner to help with this effort.
- Ensure your Security team is involved from the beginning of the project to ensure any Risk Management Framework (RMF) issues are brought forth.
- Research options by contacting peer institutions, Gartner Research, and vendor(s).
- Ask vendor(s) to provide a gap analysis that addresses which functionality will not be available in the cloud and any new capabilities that will be available in the cloud, but not on-premise.
- Document how the differences will impact the migration.
- Determine what it would take to overcome the differences, or what benefits the new capabilities are expected to provide.
Why do you want to migrate to the cloud?
- The activities from the exploration project will likely culminate into a business case that should outline the business reasons for migrating to the cloud. Additionally, it should also determine the financial feasibility of the migration to the cloud. This will be an iterative effort working with all the decision makers, impacted stakeholders, and technical teams.
- One major input into the business case will be understanding the contractual obligations of the current on-premise software. For this reason, it is imperative to engage with the purchasing/procurement department to ensure feasibility of the purchase (license, etc.) and involvement in the contract negotiations.
- Once the business case is approved, understand the procurement process.
- Allow contract point person to negotiate, keeping these items in mind:
- Understand vendor’s maturity level at delivering their application via cloud. This can include simple things, such as how they intend to deliver emails, provide secure URLs and/or provide a framework for you to pass data to and from their system – and whether this will be within your institutions setup and security requirements.
- Obtain vendor’s Service Organization Control (SOC) Type I and Type II reports to support Cybersecurity.
- Understand the application’s full capabilities, not just the ones that will be used right away. Understand if there are third party software needed – this may result in additional procurement steps.
- Understand the application’s available APIs and how they can be used for integration purposes. Understand what vendor integration platform is available for your integrations.
- Determine what application configuration options exist in order to avoid customizations.
- Understand the licensing model and how well it will scale if utilization increases.
- Plan to re-visit configurations recommended during implementation.
- Investigate options for implementation partners.
- Develop a high-level exit plan during implementation and incorporate any key elements (e.g. time to reclaim data from the system at termination) into the original contract terms.
Do we understand the current state of our business?
- Solutions in the cloud space cannot be customized. Understand the level of willingness for the stakeholders to adjust existing business processes to the cloud application's delivered design/flow.
What roles are needed in the future state?
- It can be assumed that some from the current staff will decide to leave or retire during the project implementation. Therefore, it is important to perform an inventory of current services, examine which current services will transition to the future state, and how staff leaving will impact these services in the future state.
- Through review of Gartner recommendations and interviews of peer institutions determine the list of roles needed in the future state.
- Develop a plan to transition current staff to the roles in the future state.
- Start having the transition discussion early in the process.
1] Document IDs will be provided upon request