The planned sunset of the Intuit Quickbooks Commerce (formerly TradeGecko) is leaving thousands of companies outside of the US potentially stranded. Organisations big and small have invested thousands of dollars and hours building their inventory management systems, and now they have a year to migrate.
Although there are many other reasons why businesses are looking to migrate their systems, they all need a strategy and checklist to keep the migration on track.
What is cloud migration? This is the process of moving digital assets, like data or applications and processes to a cloud infrastructure. This generally refers to moving tools from old, legacy systems or on-premise data centres to the cloud.
Once the shock of the TradeGecko sunsetting has passed, it’s time to prepare and strategise your migration. If the migration isn’t well planned and implemented, it could result in hampered performance and increased costs
You received the email about the sun setting, and the shock is subsiding. It’s time to get buy-in from the top-down and the relevant departments. The migration can change functional and operational roles in your business. Staff will need to be trained, reskilled or reassigned to new roles as the migration evolves.
Mitigate the growing pains get senior leadership to show support and encourage buy-in. Communicate the benefits of the migration for employees and customers, address their concerns and create support training programs.
Migration is a big financial commitment, one that was not necessarily planned. Secure proper funding ahead of time so that you don’t find out midway that you’ve run out of funds, leaving your business vulnerable.
Get your CFO and other financial executives together to create a financial plan for the migration and signing off of the funding.
Assign a Cloud Solutions Architect
Now that the company is on board and the money is allocated, it’s time to find a cloud solutions architect. The cloud solutions architect is your migration leader and project manager, responsible for planning and executing every stage of your migration.
Role of a Cloud Solutions Architect
- Define the refactoring
- Layout the strategy for the migration
- Source potential cloud systems
- Determine priorities
Understanding the Existing Infrastructure
The cloud architect needs to understand the existing infrastructure, processes and workflows.
The groundwork is laid out, and now it’s time to discover the details.
Understand the Details
Take stock of what is currently in your inventory environment. Take note of any interdependencies and then figure out what will be migrated first and how it will be migrated. Can the applications be moved as they are or will they require reworking? You will want to figure out how long it will take to achieve a complete migration at this stage.
Once the cloud solutions architect has determined the business requirements and has an understanding of the relevant services offered by the IMS providers, other partners and their costs; the architect will need to build a business case for the different cloud IMS providers, including operational, cost and potential architectural improvements.
Take Stock of your Challenges
Anticipating the potential challenges is a key part of the strategy, here are some common challenges.
While the cloud can be a cost-saver, it can also be easy to underestimate. You need to take into account the cost of migration, the cost of services, the potential need for increased bandwidth and future recurring expenses. This should all be covered in your budget planning.
It may seem easy to migrate your systems, but it can quickly get complicated as you start pulling in more intricate details and connections. Make sure your cloud architect can manage the complexity of your migration, and understand the effort needed.
Getting large amounts of data to the cloud can take time. Keep that in mind.
Fluency means that your team is all on the same page. You don’t want to have a small pool of system experts that become overwhelmed as IMS translators. Ongoing training needs to be factored into your strategy.
The process may require your servers and systems to be temporarily offline, which could be disastrous for your business. Make sure you have a backup or resource allocation.
During migration, your data is at its most vulnerable. It may be unavailable or at risk of breach. Take extreme caution to apply security measures.
Workshops to Best Understand Your Workflow
Business processes and workflows matter, because they are how value is delivered. Understanding these workflows is vital for the cloud solutions architect. Conducting a workflow workshop is a practical way to show a business process, clarify the context, model its workflow with detail, assess it and design a new process.
By now, you will have agreed on a plan and a cloud IMS partner, and it is time to execute the migration.
It’s important to identify the connections between services, and what components rely on other services. By identifying the dependencies, it is possible to decide on the order that components should be migrated. Often, this means you move your internal services first, and follow up with your outer services (the ones closest to your customers). Alternatively, you can start with your outer services so that you can control the impact on your clients.
Migrate your Data
Data migrations typically involve 3 basic steps:
- Extract data
- Transform data
- Load data
Your data migration strategy should look to audit the data, clean up any concerns, put controls in to preserve data quality and ensure governance through tracking and monitoring. But the very first step is to back up your data.
Getting employees used to new software is a priority within the rollout of the new system. Here are 5 tips to make the training process a little easier:
- Trainers need to know the system themselves.
- Make training a priority to improve the buy-in.
- Set clear expectations and deadlines.
- Use training incentives.
- Pick the right format for training.
Once the IMS is populated and set up to your specifications, the next step is to test and go live. Extensive testing will be done in a test environment. The first set of tests is done by the cloud architecture team responsible for the migration and will already be familiar with the system. The second set of testing will be to migrate a set of test users into the new environment before the launch to identify issues that may have been missed in the deployment and initial testing.
The testing is complete, the employees are trained and it’s time to take the system live. The cloud architect and team must be live with the staff using the system for the initial launching period to help users with any issues and check how the system is working.
Your system is live, your staff are trained but it doesn’t just end there. Your team will need ongoing support and training to stay up to date with the system and its upgrades, as well as new staff that come into the company.
With a successful launch and a team that has just been trained, one would think that it’s smooth sailing ahead. But problems always pop up, especially in the initial phase of getting used to a system.
If something does go wrong, the cloud architect needs to be available to assist. In most cases, it is a simple error with a simple solution that requires a quick fix or workaround. However, in some cases, there are bigger problems that require more in-depth support.