If anything has been a hot topic in recent years, it's the topic of migration to cloud-based infrastructure. Cloud computing has become as central to the lives of many people as cell service. Companies far and wide have been shifting their dated on-premise infrastructures to cloud based offerings, making it easier to connect to mission critical systems from anywhere.

But, the move to the cloud isn't as simple as flipping a switch, particularly for those that have data in a myriad of 'in-house' systems.

Here at C5 Insight, we've had many calls with customers who are at various stages of the move. Throughout these discussions, light has been shed on a variety of challenges and potential approaches to making the shift.

This is the final article where we dive into the last of four components of a migration strategy that we see as critically important to the success of the project.

As you're likely aware, C5 Insight lives by the LUCK principle: Listen, Understand, Connect, and Know. These four elements make up the fiber of successful business operation and can be applied to nearly everything that happens in a thriving business.

Without further ado, let's dive in to this week's blog.

Know: How to Plan for a Migration From On-premises to the Cloud

Test and Improve

It may seem intuitive, but testing your components is critical. Regardless of whether you’re migrating from a system that is many versions behind, or even just a couple, testing should be second nature when you’re working through any form of system update/upgrade/migration.

Yet, we often find that people get overwhelmed at the prospect of testing, and end up skimming through components making many assumptions. For example, comments such as “…well that work was supposed, so it should work without issue” are dangerous territory, as “should” is an assumption.

In these situations, companies often find the rollout a little more turbulent as users uncover issues in various corners of the system.

So, how do we embark on a thorough, end-to-end testing regime without feeling overwhelmed?

As is the key throughout your migration work—have a plan.

Create Test Scripts

As part of having a plan, having a set of test scripts is vital.

A test script outlines the intent, steps and related components, and expect outcome of a process. Whether it’s creating an account or working an opportunity through a business process flow, it all follows a logical sequence, and this should drive your test script.

Consider using a OneNote notebook to document the various focal points of the system, providing yourself a space to track notes for each item as well as a pass/fail score. The pass/fail should be one or the other.

In other words, if something “kind of passes,” it’s a fail until such time the process works exactly as it’s intended to work.

Make the Time

When you are planning your move to the initial sandbox, take whatever time you think you need to test and add to it—perhaps double or triple the time you think it will take.

The more complex your system, the more time it will take, but even in near ‘out-of-the-box’ situations, you need to go through every process to ensure everything is in working order.

Setting adequate time is key, as it will ensure you’ve got a proper window to work through the test scripts in their entirety and make notes as you do. Having the right time set-aside also helps you to not feel you’re holding the project up, and instead you are completing a necessary component of the overall project.

Engage Others

This is a great time to leverage others, whether it’s folks from your system ‘steering committee’ or everyday users. Having multiple sets of eyes working through the test scripts means that you can cover more ground more quickly, and you get different perspectives on each.

Note, however, that the more people you engage the more feedback you’ll get.

For example, while a process might pass, a user might add additional notes such as “it passed, but it’d be better if we had this field on the left and this field was hidden until I enter a date in that field”.

This is great feedback, but this is not the time for system enhancement work. Give them a space for those notes, but remind them that such feedback will get added to the enhancement backlog for review in the future.

Stick to MVP

During your planning stage, you would have identified a minimal viable product (MVP), and it’s important to stick to that plan. The minimal viable product is what you need for business continuity. This will depend heavily on your migration approach.

If you opted for a ‘lift and shift’, you will likely expect to have full functionality of all components you have pre-migration. Exceptions might include complex integrations or where heavy code reconfigurations are necessary. However, in most cases, the goal would be to have those things functional when the cut-over to the new environment happens.

If the organization has opted for a new build based on new requirements, you’ll likely have a roadmap in place to guide you through. The first stage of that roadmap is generally the ‘MVP’ product, and you should strive to stick to this plan. This can prove difficult as the team starts to see the power of the new environment, and requests for new features or functions start pouring in.

Manage expectations by publishing the roadmap and validating that you’ve heard the feedback and are tracking it accordingly. This will go a long way in ensuring that you have the confidence of your users as they embark on their new system journey.

Do You Have a Strategic Migration Plan?

As we bring the Migration LUCK strategy blog series to a close, it’s important to remember that the entire migration experience will be much smoother if you have a coordinated plan of attack.

Leverage the concept of LUCK (Listen - Understand - Connect - Know) throughout your project to ensure you’re covering all of the bases and are engaging the right stakeholders at the right time.

Curious how C5 Insight can support your project? Contact us today to discuss how we can support your journey to the cloud!