How to Start Your Cloud Transformation Journey

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Ready, set, move: A controlled, predictable, and productive cloud transformation

You’ve decided the cloud is for you. There are many reasons to like the cloud. Virtually limitless computing resources are available, and they can scale to meet your needs with minimal notice. All you pay for is what you actually use, not what you might one day use. But, how do you start your cloud transformation journey? That requires a solid roadmap.


Take stock of opportunities for improvement

To start with, don’t even think about the cloud. Take a look at the processes and systems that might be powered by cloud technology. Would you want to transfer them as they are, or is there an opportunity to make processes run smoother? If you were to deploy, for instance, your current finance or manufacturing systems in the cloud, would you like them to run as they do today, or would it make sense to simplify them or maybe standardize business roles more?


You should not delay the cloud project until everything is perfect. But it’s important to know what you would like to change and improve in the cloud. If you allow any current process inefficiencies to linger, you may not get to realize the full benefits of the cloud. In the cloud you might also find more current versions of your older systems, or industry software that closely matches your operational needs. In any case, your list of desirable improvements should become part of your cloud success strategy together with any other goals for moving to the cloud.


Find a best-fit vendor

Have you already identified a cloud service provider that is a good fit for your business? In addition to the large brands known around the globe, there are smaller companies that may offer industry expertise or specialized analytics tools that can be valuable. Talk to vendors’ references, if you can. If, for example, you’re interested in connecting devices or products to the internet of things (IoT) and processing IoT data in the cloud, your vendor should have IoT experience and solutions to offer.


Qualified vendors should hit all the marks for their ability to assist your long-term cloud planning, multi-level security and data protection in the cloud, and expertise in working with such newer cloud technologies as containerization. Of course, they also need to offer reasonable contract terms that leave you in control.


Perform a pilot project

Whichever vendor you choose, they can help you run a pilot project, moving a specific, not business-critical workload to the cloud and assessing the outcome. Assuming that turns out to your satisfaction, we recommend you consider a hybrid cloud environment, where some workloads and applications move to the cloud and others remain on-premise. For many companies, the hybrid cloud delivers the best results. Your vendor should have the expertise to assist you in creating an effective hybrid architecture.


Transition one workload at a time

Finally, it’s usually preferable to manage a cloud transformation step by step, not all at once. You move one workload at a time and resolve any issues before you carry on with another. Some of the best business software available for the cloud is modular, so you can easily move such task areas as sales, manufacturing, logistics, or finance. In Microsoft Dynamics 365, which runs on the Microsoft Azure cloud, you get that flexible modularity for some of the most powerful business management software available today. Microsoft Dynamics 365 provides a large portfolio of what used to be known as ERP and CRM capabilities, eliminating the needless distinction between the two.


To learn more about moving to the cloud with Microsoft Dynamics 365 and how Columbus can help you make your cloud transformation seamless, low-risk, and productive, download our eBook "Start Your Cloud Journey with Columbus and Dynamics 365" or contact us at 888.209.3342.


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