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Get your cloud migration journey off on the right foot with these three lessons

September 26, 2019
Tanushree Gupta

Customer Change and Culture, Google Cloud Professional Services

Finn Toner

Customer Culture and Change Specialist, Global Business - CCE EMEA

When moving to the cloud, many organizations concentrate their focus on the change in technology, and overlook an area just as complex: cultural change. 

At Google, we’ve spent years nurturing our culture and workforce to best operate in the cloud, and the Google Cloud Professional Services team leverages the lessons we’ve learned for the benefit of enterprise customers embarking on their own cloud journeys. 

While it can be tempting to believe in a universally ‘correct’ strategy for change management, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Every organization will have its own unique considerations. But with that said, there are some core strategies we’ve found to be relevant and useful across a broad range of businesses. 

1. Define your purpose for moving to Cloud
While pockets of cloud use and experimentation can evolve independently and in parallel across an organization, it’s important to make some deliberate decisions before starting a larger migration. At this stage, we recommend having a detailed answer to two key questions to ensure a successful cloud migration:

  • Where do you want to go? (Or “What’s your cloud vision?”) 

  • How do you plan to get there?

Start by having a conversation with leaders and those who will be key to the journey about how far you want to push your cloud vision. This alignment ensures everyone is on the same page—and will provide greater direction, allowing more deliberate action. 

2. Find the change path which is right for you 
Whether a ‘lift and shift’ approach to the cloud is right for you, or a more transformative approach with a lot of re-architecting—the most important thing is to find the flavor of change which is appropriate to your context and level of ambition.This will both shape your key migration activities, but also the level of impact to be managed within your organization.  

There are many ways to embark on a change journey for cloud migration (which one can find in the chart below). It is important to deeply understand the needs of your business and its people and determine what strategy makes the most sense.


3. Learn from best practices
Based on the lessons we’ve learned along our own journey, and the work we’ve done with customers, there are a number of recommendations we can share that can make a cloud migration more successful. We go into these in more detail in our new whitepaper, but below you can find the ones we think are most relevant: 

  • Share the vision—and measure, measure, measure. Once you’ve crystallised your cloud vision with leadership and key stakeholders, share that vision widely. Set success goals and communicate them to hold yourself accountable.  
  • Be clear about the capabilities you will need in the future—and where you’ll get them. For example, if your vision is to become a cloud-first, data and AI-led organization, ensuring you have the right data science skills and machine learning capabilities in your organization to achieve that vision becomes a critical step—be they home-grown or bought-in.
  • Find the right balance between capabilities that should be under central control, and capabilities that should be decentralized, or agile. For example, should machine learning be something that sits centrally, or should it be spread across your organization? For every business, the solution will be a little different, and there’s no “one true answer.” There’ll be lots of different opinions about this, so the sooner the conversation starts, the better.  
  • Start thinking about the needed tech and non-tech skills now, and how you'll fill the gaps. Building the tech skills will take time, and not everyone will feel comfortable with the future picture of collaboration, innovation, and agility. 

To help businesses navigate their own cloud journeys, Google Cloud Professional Services has released a new whitepaper that can help guide organizations. “Managing Change in the Cloud” is closely aligned with the Google Cloud Adoption Framework and is a practical guide for organizations looking to maintain momentum in their cloud adoption. You can download the whitepaper here.

For more on the Google Cloud Adoption Framework, join us for a webinar with Pluralsight, a technology skills development platform. In this webinar, you’ll learn about the four capabilities your team needs to reap the benefits of the cloud. By the end of the event, you’ll have the knowledge and tools to assess your organization’s cloud maturity and jump-start your migration. The webinar is now available On-demand.

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