A cloud transformation project is like an old Russian novel: it generally involves a lot of characters. And without a bit of preparation at the beginning, you can easily get lost. In this article, we give you three best practices to efficiently collaborate with all the stakeholders of your cloud transformation project.
Moving to the cloud is great. It can help companies unlock new business opportunities, and achieve significant cost reductions through better agility and lowered maintenance. And these are just the most common benefits of a successful cloud transformation.
But before actually moving to cloud and experiencing the magic, you need to carry out a less exciting, yet necessary task: mapping all your existing business applications and defining how “cloud-ready” they are. To do so, you must collect detailed information about each application: its level of confidentiality, expected lifecycle, technical dependencies, etc.
In a perfect world, this data would be easily available. But in practice, even though part of the information is sometimes centralized in a common place like a CMDB, data collection is still a complex and time-consuming process.
In large organizations, the information you need is generally distributed between a lot of different people. Solution architects oversee their own group of applications and deployment stacks, while data engineers have knowledge of the different data sources. You must also consider all the non-technical stakeholders: for example, people with knowledge of business processes or regulatory requirements. This amounts to a large number of stakeholders and can make your journey to the cloud complicated.
To avoid that, it is critical that you implement best practices at the very beginning of your project. We will discuss three important ones in the following.
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It is not so easy to anticipate all the information you will need to assess your IT landscape. Therefore, we encourage you to conduct a stakeholder analysis at the beginning of your project.
What should the analysis include? We suggest that you consider the following stakeholders:
You should also list all the stakeholders on the business side, including:
This analysis should help you identify all key stakeholders, their responsibilities in the organization, and the information they can provide throughout the migration process. It can be useful to create a responsibility assignment matrix (or RACI matrix) to clearly define the role of each stakeholder beforehand.
When discovering your IT landscape, you can proceed in different ways. You can list your databases and servers first, and then explore the related applications. Or you can do the other way around.
Though each approach has its own advantages, we would recommend discovering the applications first, and therefore reaching the application owners in priority. Why? Because application owners have an interesting 360° viewpoint. They know what technical infrastructure (databases, virtual or physical servers) is necessary to run each application. But they also know which business processes are supported by the application, and how critical the application is for the different units of the organization. Last but not least, the application owners may also be able to tell you from whom you can get information about the application's IT infrastructure.
As someone leading a Cloud Transformation project, this is the vision you need. On the one hand, understanding the technical environment of the applications. On the other hand, knowing what this application represents for the business (be it from a risk, compliance, or business value perspective).
This approach can help you accelerate the discovery of the other IT assets, and facilitate the dependency mapping phase.
It is not so easy to see the big picture when you receive input from so many stakeholders. If, over the course of the project, you end up using 25 different spreadsheets, you will likely have a hard time merging all the collected information. Instead, we advise you to choose, from the outset, one common tool that will act as the common workspace. There you will gather all the information and all the key stakeholders for the project. In doing so, you will keep constant track of which information is already known, which data is still missing, and who can help you fill the gaps.
Having a single workspace will also ease the reporting process. Over the course of the migration process, you will frequently need to communicate on the project status to internal and external stakeholders. With a central place where all the information is gathered, it will be easier to make informed recommendations and provide each stakeholder with the information they need.
At Txture, we created an end-to-end platform to help you manage all aspects of cloud transformation.
Txture Cloud Transformation is the central hub where:
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