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Inside the Managed Service Provider (MSP) supported cloud migration journey

Making the move from legacy operations to the Cloud can be an opportunity to build a future-forward plan for your organization. And utilizing a cloud managed service provider (MSP) can help prevent headaches down the road—and realize optimal value faster by helping you to anticipate, make, and manage the cloud migration journey.

A post by Soheil Neghabani, managing director, Google Cloud alliance resell lead, Deloitte Consulting LLP

Making the move from legacy operations to the Cloud can pose a technical quagmire. But if you look at this situation as an opportunity to build a future-forward plan, you can prevent headaches down the road—and realize optimal value faster. There is a laundry list of decisions to make at each point in the cloud transformation journey and it all starts with strategy.

Whether looking at the broader context of the marketplace, evaluating other external levers, or discovering what each part of your organization values from and contributes to the others, these factors shape what cloud strategy you will pursue. And usually, the most pressing business need rises to the top to provide guidance on the foundation of the migration process.

These feel like big decisions that will impact the trajectory of your organization, right? Well, they are, but utilizing a cloud managed service provider (MSP) can help lighten your burden by helping you to anticipate, make, and manage the cloud migration journey. Let’s look at the first step in the transformation journey: assess and strategize. During this phase, the goal is to determine what business units (remember those business needs) are ready to go to Cloud, resources and capacity, and security and compliance needs. And how you can be supported by an MSP during the process.

#1 Strategy

What connects your business needs to the cloud functions that advance them? That’s the question from which all others flow, like: 

  • Is there an opportunity for cloud migration that will provide the ultimate value your organization expects to realize?
  • Will implementation lead to speed to market and greater efficiencies and savings?
  • Do the potential risks that may arise when you shift the location and handling of your data and processes outweigh the gains?
  • Will cloud migration have a positive impact on people and culture?
  • Under the new cloud platform, who will control long-term and day-to-day governance?

When cloud migration is not your area of focus, determining how your business unit or your business responds to these questions can seem impossible. The right MSP can bring years of experience and knowledge plus a deep understanding of business and technology trends, emerging tools, and industry-specific leading practices to the decision-making strategic process. And they will work with you to understand your business needs and help you to build a strategy.

#2 Teaming

Take the time to evaluate who the key stakeholders would be for a cloud migration within your organization. Who needs to be involved and at what level from the migration team, the application team, and the security team? Educate all of the key players on your cloud strategy and include them in these early discussions about business requirements and needs. Have a gap in resources? Enlist an MSP to provide knowledge around the topic, so that there is a complete picture from the beginning of the strategy and assessment process.

#3 Application Readiness and mapping

Inventory time. Every piece of application, data service, and hardware that runs on your current system needs to be evaluated. Is it cloud-ready, cloud-desirable, or not a candidate? Where, whether, and how each moves will be a case-by-case decision. You should look at each application for criticality, use, and structure through the lens of the “six R’s” guide:

  • Rehost (lift & shift)
  • Re-platform (move & improve)
  • Repurchase (shift custom to an existing solution)
  • Refactor (rebuild from scratch)
  • Retain (keep on premise)
  • Retire (obsolete or security issue)

Following this process will result in a new map of your overall application structure, which will also lead to the need for a new map on all the ways they depend on one another. Constraints on time, resources, or knowledge can sometimes make applying the six R’s difficult. An MSP can assist in this process by using proven and vetted methodologies to evaluate the applications and even assess the applications against the proposed cloud platform for viability.

#4 Skills

The technical fact of using the cloud, with different data architectures, safeguards, and workflows, is not the only area in which migration will call for new skills. As you plan for your applications to migrate, take time to evaluate and map the required skill sets and competencies that will be required to maintain the applications.  Are the skill sets assigned to the cloud architecture the right match for your application needs? At this stage an MSP can help in a multitude of ways: staff assessment, hiring, training, and managing / maintaining. First, internal resources can be evaluated to see if they are the right fit for the skill sets required. Needs not met? An MSP can help with acquiring additional staff by giving accurate role descriptions and providing skill assessments; and they can also serve as a  training school for existing staff. Lastly, you can choose to utilize an MSP by having them fully or co-manage / maintain your cloud environment for you.

#5 Cloud management practices

Provisioning for the cloud environment should be specific to the leading practices you intend to follow, so that the results adhere to the service levels you and your cloud provider have defined throughout the process. At this stage, you need to consider ongoing needs like monitoring, cost management, identity management, and security, as well as potential emergencies and the backup and recovery plans that will keep you resilient. Remember moving to the Cloud will fundamentally alter how your business works. MSP’s have proven operating models relevant to a wide swath of industries, company sizes, and business needs. These cloud operating models have been vetted through many deployments and the depth of knowledge can immediately benefit you.

Putting it all together

An enterprise runs on data—and on people, practices, culture, and expectations. Because the data and applications you use are so fundamental to every part of the operation, a cloud migration is really a business transformation in disguise. All parts of the organization should make the journey together. By crafting a multifaceted migration strategy and plan that leaves nothing to chance, you can land on a new cloud reality that doesn’t only work today, but also remains expandable, reliable, and tuned to your business needs over the long term.

Interested in exploring additional insights on your options and the value that can come with a more strategic approach to cloud services?

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Soheil Negahbani

Soheil Negahbani

Managing Director | Google Cloud Resell Lead

Soheil is a managing director for Deloitte Consulting LLP within the CBO Cloud Engineering practice. With a cross industry focus, he is responsible for Resell and Managed Services Offerings within the... More

Kashif Rahamatullah

Kashif Rahamatullah

National Google Cloud Practice and Alliance Leader

Kashif, a principal in the Cloud Engineering practice for Deloitte Consulting LLP, helps clients leverage Deloitte’s best-in-breed Cloud Methodologies to transition their applications and infrastructu... More

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