Resistance to change, lack of vision, technological legacy, financial constraints... These are just some of the reasons why cloud migration plans fail. In this article, we’ll go through 12 of the most common challenges faced by companies that are looking to do cloud migration, paired with tips and ideas on how to overcome them.

1. People

People are always a factor, in any project, thus they can be an issue, or a problem. Cloud migration is no different, it also depends on people, i.e. the company staff.

Employees are, by nature, reluctant to change. When you have employees who have been doing certain operational processes in a particular way, are not very keen to accept changes. They tend to prefer things to stay unchanged.

Adopting new technologies is always tricky, and you are likely to deal with this problem if you’re looking to migrate to the cloud.

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2. Culture

Senior management must show vision and understanding if any transformation project is to be successful and this certainly applies to cloud migration.

Often, resistance to change comes from above and encouraging it, or even just tolerating it leads to creating a culture that’s incompatible with cloud transformation. If this sort of corporate culture exists in your company, you have to deal with it and correct it before starting the cloud migration.

3. Legacy of technology

You can keep running your business on outdated technology, but this situation can be a serious obstacle if you’re looking to introduce changes.

Legacy technology consumes budget and resources which can be invested in strategic projects. Similarly, inflexible architectures cannot be scaled to meet the changing needs of the business, so you might end up paying for unused redundancy to deal with demand spikes. And even with an additional budget, the interoperability problems associated with legacy technology reduce the scope of potential new deployments.

Group of people working on laptops.

4. Finance

Cloud adoption is not about large-scale cost savings. In fact, if you’re only investing when there are potential large-scale cost-saving opportunities, then your financial approach has to change. If it doesn’t, your migration project will probably fail.

The pay-per-use model of the cloud changes IT spending on capital investment to operating costs. However, moving to a PaaS model must be controlled and monitored to prevent cost overruns. Moreover, applications are likely to have to be re-launched in order to take full use of the advantages offered by PaaS, so that there won’t be any unnecessary costs.

5. Lack of knowledge of the existing infrastructure

Many companies aren’t aware of all the aspects and elements of their existing infrastructure. This poses a serious problem when planning cloud migration.

Many organizations lack a detailed inventory of assets for their data center and rack layout and, as a result, they operate a very poor CMBD. Similarly, they can't easily monitor hardware and software maintenance contracts, which are often placed in limbo between IT and Finance, with neither department being ready to take full responsibility.

Not being able to easily monitor hardware and software maintenance contracts also makes it difficult to understand what you are paying for. As always, the answer is to design systems that break these silos, offering teams supervision they need to better plan and manage operations - both on-site and in the cloud. 

Without reviewing the existing infrastructure, organizations can’t begin the migration process - nor assess their progress.

6. No real-time information

Many companies have data silos that disable them to accurately assess their performance. As a result, the cloud migration plan often seems like a guesswork exercise rather than a fact-based decision-making process.

In many cases, real-time information is simply not available or incomplete. This lack of supervision makes strategic decision-making almost impossible in the era of disruptive computing and digital transformation. Increasing real-time visibility should definitely be a priority as a transition to the cloud develops.

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7. Understand how infrastructure is used

Knowing IT assets is one thing, understanding how they are used is another. Often, companies that fail to migrate to the cloud lack several key insights.

While certain organizations are unaware of all elements of their existing infrastructure, many simply don’t understand how that infrastructure is used. This means that they are not able to align services and infrastructure, map service dependencies or build applications and service roadmaps to plan how cloud-based systems will affect (or improve) the use of systems.

8. Lack of data protection policies and untested recovery plans

Despite the gigantic improvements in data protection technologies, many companies remain unprotected.

Many companies consider disaster recovery plans as insurance, so they never test or update them. Due to fear of change and inability to reverse things that go wrong, companies often have to delay cloud migration or reduce the amount and structure of data that is migrated. In some occasions, even data loss can occur.

Testing DR plans and provisions is essential to establish trust, and this also allows you to roll back if needed.

9. Limited knowledge of the data

In many cases, companies know their primary data, like Sales data or Marketing CRM data for instance, but they have limited knowledge of other types of data.

This limited view of data highlights the lack of knowledge about unstructured data and its potential. Failure to correct this approach limits the scope of cloud projects and decreases the number of open opportunities. Essentially, this undermines the design of systems, which in turn increases the cost of redesigning the application architecture.

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10. Limited knowledge of the impact of data governance, compliance and regulations

Legislation, such as the GDPR, together with sectoral regulations, affects how data is used and stored in the cloud. Disregarding these factors can lead to cloud project failure.

The rules regarding storage and data security are complex and companies need to be extremely cautious when approaching these issues. When migrating to the cloud, you need to be aware of relevant legislation, such as the GDPR, as well as respective national laws and regulations. All data has to be secured properly, and you should always ensure that no third parties can access sensitive data. Bear in mind that the GDPR gives users, i.e. citizens, complete control over their data, so systems should allow that control. 

With fines of up to 20 million Euro or 4% of annual revenue, data breaches are not an option, Not understanding data legislation can become a risk that might seriously block any cloud migration project.

11. Lack of alignment between IT assets and financial records

IT maintains the operating systems, Finance pays the bills... but neither department knows exactly what the company is paying for. This is a very common situation. Does the company keep on paying for licenses or contracts that are no longer necessary?

Without a deep understanding of finance, companies cannot build a Total Cost of Ownership (CTP). They must be able to answer questions like "if we don't renew, what happens?" or "What resources is this payment associated with?"

12. Lack of knowledge about future maintenance charges

When considering cloud migration, many cost-benefit analyses fail to calculate the future cost of maintaining and supporting existing assets on-site. 

The price of maintenance can increase on an annual basis, by up to 20%, or perhaps even more. And this factor is often overlooked in cost analyses. To do a more accurate cost analysis, a company should consider cloud migration projects that don’t include switching to hosted infrastructure.

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The most difficult part of any cloud migration is the initial planning and preparation process that takes place before the actual migration. But it is rewarding to discover the current state of your infrastructure and how your company uses applications and services, not to mention that this can have long-term benefits, including some of the following:

Financial benefits

The financial benefits of migrating to the cloud include:

  • Transition to an OpEx spending model.
  • You pay only for what is used.
  • IT scalability

Hybrid cloud Infrastructure defined by agile software to achieve strategic objectives

  • The increased flexibility of cloud infrastructure helps with:
  • Total scalability, which enables you to deal with fluctuating demands.
  • Simplification of the adoption of new technologies through minimal SaaS and on-site installation.

Reduction of operating costs

Multi-site data centers increase the availability of your systems without additional charges for in-house IT equipment:

  • Services include Enterprise-level defenses for data security, helping protect information assets without additional costs.
  • More DR provision options reduce downtime during incidents.
  • Data governance and compliance obligations, such as the GDPR, are met through a choice of improved data location and security provisions.