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10 Cloud Migration Myths

Are these cloud migration myths stopping you and your organization from moving to the cloud? Don't let them. Here's why:

Myth 1: A migration requires downtime

A well-planned migration doesn't require downtime. Instead, it's done in the background over the course of a few weeks. Once the bulk of the system has been migrated, the final cleanup is done over a weekend, so there's no interruption to your business when you do careful planning. And there is no need to run multiple email clients at the same time.

Myth 2: Migration is a long and arduous process

We move everyone's data at the same time. It's an automated process that we monitor. But migrating the data isn’t where the heavy lifting is. The real work is getting the plan together, preparing your end users for the new way of doing things, and getting them excited about the new system. Your best course of action is to focus on showing users what it will look like when the migration is complete.

Myth 3: Change management isn’t required

Let's start by reaching a common understanding of what "change management" means. There are dozens of definitions out there, but my favorite is by Prosci:

Change management is the process, tools, and techniques to manage the people-side of change to achieve the required business outcome.

Change management incorporates the organizational tools that can be utilized to help individuals make successful personal transitions resulting in the adoption and realization of change.”

Change involves both systems and people. You can’t just “hope” things will work out. You need to plan, lead and train end users, and manage the process to have a successful migration. You can't assume your end users will just "get" it because G Suite is so easy to use.

It's important to prepare your users for what's coming. You need to help them get excited about the cool features they don't know exist, e.g. how to get Gmail's machine learning working for them when searching for emails, or how to get Google Drive to anticipate their needs, so they don't waste spend time searching for files they frequently access. Eventually, the tools become intuitive and easy, but there's also a lot of power hidden in G Suite that they can leverage as they become more comfortable.

Another great example is the collaborative nature of Google Calendar. The ability to create a meeting, and edit its details while everyone stays in sync (via email or not), means no one ends up with different meeting information. Awesome time saver! You can create a meeting, and by clicking a button see everyone's availability side-by-side. This feature can be used by anyone with a Google account inside or outside the company. This feature alone blows people away when compared to Outlook's capabilities.

Managing spam
Many companies have IT-managed white/black email address lists, that are essentially quarantines with messages stripped of content because images were unsafe. Sadly, those systems are hardly ever updated, clunky, and so overly sensitive they detect a lot of false positives.

That results in users having to chase down IT if they don't receive a particular email they're expecting. Then IT has to go in and look…then release it. That eats up time for the user and IT. With Google, their spam filter is the best in the business. It flags emails appropriately and learns to create more rules based upon how you respond to your inbox. If in the past you didn't treat that email address (or content) as spam, it learns that and puts it into your inbox. It becomes a truly custom spam filter.

Myth 4: If we move business data to the cloud, we don't own it anymore

Google maintains the infrastructure and makes sure everyone stays safe. That's it. It's like moving into an apartment. Google owns the building, the hallways, and the infrastructure. But all of the stuff in your apartment is yours. They are very clear about data ownership in their documentation and user licenses.

Myth 5: The cloud is not as safe as our on-site servers

When people keep email on their server they mistakenly equate control with being safe. IBM discovered that 60% of all data breaches are from insiders, not outsiders. The truth is, your team just isn't as big or as expert as Google's. Google has spent over $600 million in acquiring security companies to improve their security systems. Will you?

Safety depends on who you trust for your cloud. If you choose a smaller company that popped up yesterday and then started onboarding customers with their most sensitive data, good luck. The smaller companies have smaller IT teams building out their security practices. You're probably not very secure at that point.

Trust Google? You bet.

Google has hundreds of full-time employees – experts – personal privacy experts, network admins, not to mention guards that guard their database warehouses.

They use dark fibers and private cable that no one else can access. Their systems are not available to anyone else. Data is encrypted before it is sent and stays encrypted while in transit.

They’ve created their own security protocol that surpasses even the U.S. military's encryption standards. They break up the data onto multiple machines to add even more to the security. They've built proprietary networking hardware — they're not off-the-shelf boxes. As a result, you can't buy that hardware and figure out how to exploit it.

Even if someone broke into their data centers, they wouldn’t be able to access Google’s machines. If they did break in, Google's system is designed to shut down power to the whole building, preventing anything from being accessed.

The best news? Since your data is automatically stored across multiple data centers, you'll still be able to get to it, regardless of what happens at any one data center.

Myth 6: The cloud is always the right option

Let's face it…there are many required applications that haven't migrated to the cloud yet. And still more haven't yet migrated to Google's cloud platform. So a hybrid solution will be needed in those circumstances.

Myth 7: Employees will learn cloud apps on their own

It’s wonderful to trust your users to study the new systems on their own and hope they'll automatically use the tools correctly, use the same naming conventions, and use the same storage locations as the rest of the team. But our experience shows that a well-managed application migration without adequate training can turn the whole process into a big flop.

It is true that apps like Gmail are easy to use. But there is so much more to learn about Gmail that can make their jobs even easier than most people take the time to learn on their own.

ERIC Institute of Educational Science review a number of case studies on the ROI of education — it ranged from 30% to 7,00%. It will depend on your situation as to the value, but their findings were as high as a return of $70 for every dollar invested. Training your staff on the cloud will pay for itself many times over.

Proactive change management and training will:

  • Reduce the time it takes to become good with the new system
  • Minimize the number of things that will need to be reworked
  • Will keep the users' spirits high throughout the transition
  • Will make sure everyone is singing out of the same songbook
  • Will improve the productivity of the users
  • Will improve the quality of the collaboration
  • Bonus: And if you continue to provide training well after the migration, your users will continually stay on top of any update that can make them even more productive. You’ll never have to “upgrade” again like systems in the past. It’s one final mass training, and little updates thereafter.

Myth 8: Cloud apps always cost less

In many cases, they are cheaper. The subscription model can seem intimidating. And over time, it may look like it will cost more than what you're doing now.

But remember you're getting, at no extra cost:

  • All software updates
  • Unlimited storage (in the case of Google’s G Suite Business & Enterprise)
  • Continual improvements for better productivity
  • IT support from the cloud provider
  • The finest, tightest of security systems
  • Freedom from buying, configuring, and maintaining server and networking hardware

Myth 9: Migrating to the cloud means months of data cleanup

By creating a detailed migration plan, you don’t need to stop or slow down users in the slightest. Deciding when to migrate the files and the applications can be choreographed to minimize the impact on the company. Move a few systems at a time so there is minimal cleanup required if any.

Myth 10: During the migration, our company won't be fully operational

This idea is completely false when you have a well thought-out plan and execute the plan throughout the migration. This is when using a cloud migration service can eliminate any downtime. 

The migration plan should be designed so as to not negatively impact the users . This will also prevent the business from being affected. It won't interfere with emails, file storage, or anything else your users need to do with their devices while the migration is taking place.

This, of course, implies that your users are trained and on the same page. So when the system is ready to cut over, they can hit the ground running with few to no mistakes.

Call Cloudbakers at (312) 448-7406 for a free planning session to see if it would speed your migration up and improve the quality of your transition by having us help you plan and manage your migration.

ROI of change management | Google Cloud

Originally published on July 26, 2017

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