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How to Choose a Cloud Migration Services Partner

Migrating to the cloud is not a core competency for most companies. Chances are your existing IT department was built without the cloud in mind. If you want to migrate to the cloud successfully, you’re team may need some help. That help comes in the form of cloud migration services partners.Who are these partners and where can you find them?

Simply put, a cloud migration services partner is a company that helps you transition your systems to the cloud. Because the cloud encompasses so many different technologies, your choice of partners will reflect your own unique needs and strategies. Are you moving your email and messaging to the cloud? Are you wanting a customer relationship management (CRM) system in the cloud? Or are you looking to optimize your databases, migrate workloads, or build a custom web application?

In this article, we’ll share the most common types of migration services specifically for Google Cloud Platform projects… and then offer some criteria for making sure your choices are a best fit.

Types of Cloud Migration Services on Google Cloud Platform (GCP)

Each of the major cloud platforms (Google, Amazon, Microsoft, etc.) provides a registry of potential partners for your cloud migration needs. How they categorize those services grants further insight to the process.

For example, the Google Cloud Platform Partners page lists four main categories of service:

  • BigQuery – “Third-party developers have integrated BigQuery with some of the industry-leading tools for loading, transforming and visualizing data.”
  • Cloud Storage – “Google Cloud Platform partners have integrated Cloud Storage with industry-leading products for disaster recovery, backup & archival and hybrid cloud solutions.”
  • Cloud SQL – “Our partners help you streamline the process of loading your data, create rich visualizations for meaningful insights, and monitor and manage your databases.”
  • Windows – “With leading security, networking, and price-performance, Google’s infrastructure is the best cloud environment for Windows and enterprise workloads.”

Each system you migrate could potentially involve one or more – perhaps even all – of these services. Not to mention that within each service are multiple specialties, any number of which might be relevant, too. That’s why selecting the right partner(s) up front is such a huge part of any carefully planned migration.

Choosing Platform Expertise

Once you’ve selected the cloud platform that’s right for you, you’ll want to find partners who specialize in that platform. And the most obvious way to do that is to search their partner registries.

Each platform provides its own training and certification programs to identify potential service partners. Since these services are viewed as extensions of the platform – and customer satisfaction with the platform and these services are intertwined – the platform has a vested interest in promoting only those services that demonstrate they can enhance the customer experience.

Attaining platform certifications requires investment, effort, and results. The benefits of achieving certifications include promotion on the platform site and a stamp of expertise that sets them apart from other service providers.

In addition to basic certification, some platforms offer more advanced credentials, too.

Google Cloud, for example, offers a Premier Partner status that can be achieved by meeting more rigorous quality criteria and by completing additional technical training. The Premier Partner badge is therefore a symbol of the highest level of expertise and a promise that “no aspect of your next big project is left to chance.” There are only a handful of these partners in the world, and Cloudbakers is one of them.

Choosing Industry Expertise

Another thing to look for in a cloud migration services partner is familiarity with your industry. Do they already know what’s needed to operate in your business environment? Rules, regulations, and constraints can vary greatly between industries. If you are in a regulated industry, find a partner experienced with regulations and how the Cloud you’re evaluating will be configured to keep you in compliance.

Ideally, you want a partner who understands how to lead complex change within the regulations of your industry. How will you know? Ask them. Find out what other migrations they’ve done in your space. Listen for the obstacles they’ve encountered and overcome. If those are the same obstacles you’ve envisioned, chances are it’s a good fit – especially if they’ve solved those problems already.

Choosing Customer Service Expertise

How satisfied are their other customers?

Look for case studies that showcase the results they’ve achieved for their clients. Case studies are important because they only exist when there are clients who want their experiences published. And if you can read about the outcomes from companies or projects similar to yours, so much the better.

Another way to assess customer service is to contact past clients directly. Ask about their experience with the partner in question. How responsive were they? How did they handle challenges? Would they use them again if they had another migration to perform?

Don’t Forget Change Management

One of the most important factors in any cloud migration is a robust change management plan. According to Google research, a best-in-class change management program can move the expected first-year ROI of a cloud migration from 105% to 135%.

Every cloud migration should have such a change management plan in place. But what about each individual service partner? Are they accustomed to working within change management frameworks? More importantly: are they willing to adapt to whatever change management program you employ?

Finding the Right Cloud Migration Services Partners

Finding the right cloud migration services partners can make or break your project. Here’s a summary of what to look for when making your selection:

  • Identify the cloud migration services you need
  • Platform expertise
  • Industry expertise
  • Excellent customer satisfaction ratings
  • Change Management mastery
At Cloudbakers, we bake best-in-class change management into everything we do. You can find us on the Google Cloud Platform’s Premier Partners list, or contact us here to learn how a services partnership with Cloudbakers could improve your next cloud migration.

Change-management-productivity

Originally published on October 19, 2017

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