Okay, so here we are in 2015 in this new age of cloud…what should IT professionals do to be ready to answer cloud questions and to be ready to migrate? It’s not a matter of if the CIO/CEO asks the question; it’s a matter of when. We, as IT worker bees, often are not privy to the conversations between the uber competitive CEOs of the world. They wouldn’t be CEO’s if they weren’t A-type competitive individuals. So the rule is how do I keep up with the Joneses, AKA my competitors in my marketspace.
Here are 5 recommendations that should help prepare the IT Director for this request from up on high.
Update your server and application stack
You probably should have run all your updates at year's end, but you may have been too busy. So now is the time to do this. Update servers, desktops, router firmware, and mobile devices. This is often one of the most time-consuming, often overlooked and problem-causing tasks you can undertake (especially when a server doesn’t come back up after a reboot). Do it now and do it right, and you'll start the year way ahead the game.
Now is the time to read what the market analysts say. Read what the vendors are saying. See what Gartner has to say for top of mind solutions, like Microsoft Azure. Don't wait until the CEO says “Hey what is our cloud strategy” to run back to your desk and start training. Rollout is for usage, not for running up the learning curve. Also, proactively educate your staff, educate your users, and educate your management. In the end, you will be glad you did.
Clarify for cloud strategy
I'm not talking about a hair rinse you should use once a week. This is about clarifying your intentions around adoption of cloud for the year with upper management. Get out ahead of this, make sure they know what to expect then you will foster conversation that leads to insight on what they expect. Starting 2015 without clear expectations on both sides leads to confusion and eventually a year goes by and nothing has been accomplished.
Timeline your cloud migration
Take the calendar and break it into milestones. For example, by end of Q1 you want to have any hardware or software issues resolved per the Office365 Readiness toolkit results. By end of Q2 you want to have a pilot functioning for the testing of Office365 or Azure. Fail to plan, plan to fail as my friend and peer Randy Becker says…
Purge the spam
Many technology consumers feel that, much like at home, at work they should keep any and every e-record. That obviously leads to bloat in Exchange databases, file server solutions and other places. Backups become uncontrollable, and finally when you need to migrate, that little piece of corrupted spam will stop the mailbox from migrating. Seriously -- the beginning of the year is a great time to get rid of all those pieces of hardware you no longer need. And when you do purge, make sure to do it responsibly (i.e. empty the 'Deleted' and 'Sent Items' folders). Run the Exchange Maintenance Tasks and compact that database. In regards to hardware, larger cities usually have computer recycling services that can safely get rid of your old technology. Use them. By tossing out the junk, you'll make for a much more efficient start of 2015.
So this should help you, the IT director, find a path to be ready to answer the “Cloud Ready” question. To reiterate, it is not a matter of if that question is coming, it is a matter of when. Good Luck and May the Cloud be with You.
If you're interested in speaking more with David about how you can better prepare yourself for your organization's transition to the cloud, click here.
By David Barter, Practice Manager - Microsoft Technologies