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Seven checks to make when choosing a cloud migration service provider

Benchmarking cloud migration service providers

Comparing cloud migration service providers isn’t easy. Not least because, on the surface, it may seem like they all do the same thing. Without looking too closely at how they differ in their approach, it may seem like every cloud migration provider delivers the same benefit, and at a comparable price. 

It’s not the case however, So, if you’ve already identified the cloud solutions you want to use, how do you identify which – out of all the cloud migration specialists out there – you should shortlist for your project? 

Migrating to the cloud offers many benefits. Which ones are you seeking to gain?

In a previous article, I looked at how to get buy in for cloud migration. The tide has certainly turned irreversibly the cloud’s way, and this year we’ll see more organisational workloads run in the public cloud than on-premise. It’s not a surprise really, because migrating to the cloud is driven by such a wide range of acute business needs, including:

  • becoming more agile
  • increasing mobility
  • boosting productivity and collaboration
  • driving cost-efficiencies / reducing costs 
  • innovation (e.g. AI, machine learning, IoT)
  • excelling at DevOps

All these are common reasons for migration to the cloud, and you will doubtless have several of these in mind as you begin to consider cloud migration service providers to help you with the transition,

Seven factors to help you choose between cloud migration service providers

With increasing demand for cloud migration services the marketplace is without doubt competitive. While this does give any organization more choice, it can make benchmarking different providers difficult.

With that in mind, here are seven important factors you should take into account when assessing different providers. These will help you draw up a shortlist of the best cloud migration service providers for your organization’s needs. 

1. Flexibility and choice

Many cloud migration service providers specialise in one single cloud platform. Yet even if you’ve already identified that platform as the best option, do look at providers with experience of different platforms so that there is still potential flexibility and choice. In this way, you’ll be sure of a balanced view of the best platform for your organisation. 

2. Specialist cloud platform expertise

Best platform aside, make sure that the cloud migration provider you work with has specific expertise and experience of migrating organizations like yours to that platform. Accreditation like Microsoft’s Partner certification scheme will help you benchmark their specialist expertise. 

3. Case studies

Look for evidence that the company has handled projects like yours. Factors to consider include the sector you operate in (especially if your organization is in a regulated industry), as well as company size, location(s), and the business case for cloud migration. 

4. Cloud security expertise

One of the main barriers to cloud adoption is security concerns. To help balance the cybersecurity risks against the benefits of digital transformation, be sure to only engage a cloud migration provider with security expertise. Do they understand the security and governance landscape for your organization, industry and location (and particularly so if you’re multinational)? 

5. Migration methodology

What methodology does the provider use to plan and execute a cloud migration project? It’s important that you understand the steps the provider goes through. For example, if the provider claims to be cloud platform agnostic, then the initial discovery phase should focus on your requirements and the criteria for identifying the best cloud platform for your organisation. Be sure you ask about the process. 

6. Migration tools and blueprints

Having a clear idea of what tools the provider uses will also help you understand what to expect from the migration process. For example, tools to automate the migration will help reduce human error, speed up the process and drive cost savings. However, there is also a risk of system failure, so you’ll also want to know what contingency is in place for this and controls. 

7. Cloud support and training

A smooth cloud migration is the main objective but once your users are in the cloud, what support can you expect? The cloud platform will provide basic support, usually in the form of self-serve knowledge banks and online training content, but will this be enough to get full adoption by your users and the productivity, agility, mobility and other benefits you want? Many cloud migration providers also offer training and cloud support, and some might be included in the project costs or be available as an add-on option.

Get the right support

The factors above will help you as and when you choose to consider potential providers. Moving to the cloud can be complex and it goes without saying, you need to have the right support form of an experienced cloud migration service provider.

In the meantime, if you are currently exploring cloud migration and how to best go about it, then I recommend looking into one our cloud assessment workshops. These are tightly-tailored to your organization and involve all relevant decision-makers to provide you with a high-level overview of how you can effectively achieve your cloud migration. The outputs of our workshops are not only an analysis of your existing infrastructure, but also clear recommendations and next steps to consider. These cover essentials such as: identity and security; email migration; file migration; user training; admin training to support usage and adoption; and managed support.

To get started, just complete this form to get started. Certainly, we look forward to being a cloud migration service provider that you benchmark and consider.

About the author

​Gemma is the Strategic Partner Manager at our Microsoft Cloud Workplace specialist partner, Cloud Business. She works closely with us at the Cloud Communications division of NTT Ltd. to drive joint business growth and add value for our customers. Cloud Business' people-centric approach helps our clients align technology with their business goals and their users.

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