While accurate figures for failed cloud migration rates do not seem to be readily available, research does show that a large percentage of cloud adoption projects stall, as organisations continue to make common mistakes which could end up being very costly and, in extreme cases, can even ruin a business

Cloud migration is often hailed as a silver bullet that will resolve all business problems, however, going about it the wrong way could actually create challenges or problems in other areas of the business.

A lack of consulting and expert guidance on moving to the cloud is a major pitfall that organisations often fail to see. Many think that they can do it themselves, only to find that they do not possess the right skills sets, or have not carefully considered their ultimate business goals for cloud adoption.

“There’s a lot of hype around cloud, which means that people move to the cloud environment thinking it will be a lot cheaper and solve all their issues. They take whatever systems and applications they have and ‘lift and shift’ these to the cloud, expecting a smooth transition,” says Sonja Weber, Lead Delivery Solution Manager at T-Systems South Africa.

However, this is where things can get very complicated, as enterprises often do not consider costs, integration complexity and the potential impact on business processes when migrating to the cloud.

“Business need to have a full understanding of the additional functionality that cloud migration can bring to your business processes, or risk creating a multitude of problems for your organisation. In extreme cases, this can potentially damage your business,” says Weber.

Another major pitfall is that many enterprises believe they can successfully complete a cloud migration project by using the traditional IT skills that reside within their organisation.

Andre Schwan, Deal Solutions Manager at T-Systems South Africa, warns companies to steer clear of attempting to migrate without expert help.

“I would urge organisations not to attempt doing cloud migration projects by themselves. OEM cloud environments can differ vastly, so getting expert advice is key to successful migrations. You need advice from a team that has specifically been trained on how to integrate solutions and what is available on those platforms,” Schwan says.

“We get more requests to solve problems created by internal IT organisations than we do from those that want our help to move from the onset.”

Schwan warns that even if an organisation wants to carry out its own cloud migration, it should start out by getting expert help to avoid making the mistakes everyone else has already made. But many organisations are reluctant to consult an expert, who could essentially help them map out an accurate migration path and manage their costs and risks.

“Consulting is an expensive exercise. Traditional areas where consulting is engaged is the more strategic focus of organisations, but not on the infrastructure side of things, and definitely not on IT,” says Weber.

“Many organisations feel that if they have their own IT divisions, they should not have to pay for consulting. It’s about understanding that the skill set in-house may, and probably won’t satisfy the requirements going forward. It’s seen as a premium, because the business doesn’t understand the risks that they are mitigating.

She concludes that organisations should look at consultancy as a key requirement of cloud migration, as it will provide an honest answer to what should be moved and what not to moved and help define the ultimate business goals of a migration strategy.

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