Man v. cloud: 3 tips for migrating to the cloud
I love Man v. Food! The concept of some poor bloke pitting himself against the biggest, tastiest, spiciest foodstuffs that the United States of America can throw at him has an unending appeal for me. Sometimes he wins, sometimes he loses. But he almost always get sick trying.
In a bizarre way this reminded me of the early forays of those looking at moving their ECM to the cloud:
- Some people wanted to go with the biggest dish they could find – aka the big players such as Amazon Web Services or Google Cloud Services
- Some wanted tasty – for many in cloud terms, this meant the cheapest solution
- Some wanted spicy – cool technology, fancy websites; but not necessarily key things like a track record, customer base, or basic functionality
No matter what, they almost always ended up getting sick trying to get where they wanted to go.
However, we’re now a little further down the road with ECM in the Cloud, and vendors and end users are both more measured and reasoned when it comes to deciding on their “plat du jour.” But there are still some simple tips that can help those wanting to take the ECM in the Cloud Challenge. (They may help Adam Richman from time to time!)
1. Check the rules
Just like you’d never enter an eating contest without knowing how super-spicy the chicken wings you have to eat within 10 minutes are, you need to understand the rules when moving your ECM to the cloud. These tend to come in terms of Service Level Agreements (SLAs) or Terms and Conditions (T&Cs) and can be daunting.
Just treat this part of the process as if you were looking at a new on-premise software purchase – with a few added items such as availability and backup procedures.
Oh, and one thing to remember here. Just because the rules exist (or in cloud language, the SLA created by the vendor), there is nothing that says you can’t propose new rules, or even additions. So if you want different terms, just ask for them.
2. You can’t eat an elephant in one go
Something that dear old Adam can’t change is the amount of food he needs to eat for most of his challenges. But this is something that organizations moving to the cloud can control. Far too many think that they, like in Man v. Food, need to eat the lot in one go – or move all of the organization to the cloud in one go. Well, that’s not the case.
In fact, moving bit by bit to the cloud, or eating the elephant piece by piece, makes an awful lot of sense. It allows you to select the most appropriate department – or business application, or regional office, or whatever works for you – to essentially pilot the move.
This first foray will allow the organization to understand what it means to move to the cloud, from a number of perspectives – including financial, technical, user training and staff perceptions.
This method allows the organization to either plough forward and move other parts of the organization into the cloud, or take it’s time to refine the procedures and offerings even more.
3. Watch your waistline
Again, another issue for Mr. Richman is that at the start of each season of Man v. Food, he looks remarkably slim – but by the end, he really piles on the pounds. The analogy in the cloud world isn’t based around health, but a financial concern.
Many cloud vendors charge by storage space. Some even charge for the amount of data you download. The tip here is threefold.
Firstly, make sure that you are not storing content unnecessarily – especially if you have low storage limits or high storage costs.
Secondly, you absolutely need to know how much data you are storing in your cloud environment up front – and be able to access that content whenever you want – not just on the back of the monthly billing report from the vendor.
Thirdly, watch out for vendors who want to charge you for downloads. We are talking about ECM here, which is 100 percent focused on content, its management, storage and ACCESS. You really do not want to be put in a position where you have a fantastic solution to manage your content, but you can’t access that content because it costs too much to download.
So, three simple tips for migrating to the cloud. Check the rules and define your own if you need to; be selective in what you deploy to the cloud and go at your own pace; and make sure that you are aware ahead of time of any storage and download restrictions that may be associated with your solution.
If you can follow these guidelines, then you too can stand tall at the end of the process and say, “Today America, we conquered our ECM in the Cloud challenges. Today was a victory for Man!”