Seven elements for a successful cloud migration plan

When it comes to cloud, the good news is that we’re past the period of fear, uncertainty, and doubt. Everyone now agrees that the cloud is a key part of any firm’s IT investment. The not-so-good news is that there is still confusion about what to move, how to move it, and the best practices needed to protect your investment.

This was the topic of our recent webinar with Dwayne Monroe, a Microsoft Cloud Solutions Architect at McGraw-Hill. While it may be tempting to simply relocate existing infrastructure to the cloud in its current form, Dwayne points out that we must reimagine what is possible rather than automatically reverting to lift and shift. That’s why a cloud migration plan is an essential part of any migration process.

Regardless of which workloads you’re migrating—databases, storage, compute—there is no single perfect formula for moving to the cloud. Instead, Dwayne believes that a well-designed project plan can ensure that teams make the most of cloud investments, as long as they include these 7 essential steps.

Identify the need

To understand what problems you’ll be solving, you need to understand what the people using the existing platform require. Bring platform owners and users together to get a full understanding of their pain points.

Find your champion

Regardless of which platform you’re using, you need an enthusiastic Azure, AWS, or Google Cloud champion on your side. A key part of the champion’s role is to be the political liaison between management and other parts of the technical infrastructure to explain why the project is important and what the value will be once the project is completed.


As a technologist, the temptation may be to simply start “tech-ing the tech.”If you want your cloud migration to be a success, make efforts to listen to the end users and the teams using the technology to make sure you’re creating the right fit.

Partner with deeply skilled people

While you may have deep knowledge of your existing infrastructure, architecting for public clouds is relatively new and requires a unique set of skills. Despite your expertise, there will be things that you don’t know and opportunities that may not be obvious to you. Partner with individuals who eat, sleep, and breathe your team’s platform of choice to optimize your outcome.

Create a POC environment

Azure makes it possible to create a proof-of-concept environment. This will be a playground for developers and other members of the team to see what the platform can do. (Editor note: If you can’t easily spin up sandboxes or POC environments, implement a strategic training platform like Cloud Academy that automates this for you and staff.)

Evolve an approach that meets the need

You are evolving your solution from on-premises into the cloud. Don’t implement technology for technology’s sake. In your early days of cloud adoption, make sure that the workflow elements of your cloud migration are handled intelligently and patiently.

Get comfortable with baby steps and a lot of patience

Do not be excessively aggressive. While you may be tempted to go for the quick win, realize that cutting corners will almost certainly guarantee failure for your cloud migration project. Baby steps, logical steps are very very important.

Technology challenges won’t be the only obstacles you’ll face. Moving to the cloud will be seen by some as a threat to how things have always been done. Patience, careful planning, and a focus on solutions will be the keys to your success.

Editor’s note: This post is an excerpt from Cloud Academy’s webinar, Microsoft Azure: Moving Your Workloads to the Cloud the Right Way and Securing Your Investment with Dwayne Monroe.