Looking to migrate from your legacy ECM on-premises infrastructure to a modern SaaS, cloud-hosted platform? Cloud platforms have proven for over a decade how organizations can completely transform their businesses, simplify complexity, and stay prepared for the future. However, for those still relying on in-house server platforms, embracing the cloud is a lot easier said than done.
Here are some tips you can use to prepare for a cloud migration and what you should think about to help bring transformative change to your organization with confidence.
Get buy-in with a solid strategy
Any new investment needs buy-in from the organization for it to succeed or even start. How do you convince IT and management that this is the way to go? Here’s some steps you can take to make a convincing case:
Identify the business and technical benefits of moving to the cloud. Cloud offers many inherent advantages, such as:
- Built-in security and compliance tools.
- Mobile and remote access to information.
- Business resiliency.
- Cost savings on hardware.
- Time savings for your IT department.
- Automatic updates including bug fixes and security patches.
- Scalability that can respond to business needs.
- Opportunities to invest IT and other resources previously spent on maintenance into new projects.
Gather analyst and customer testimonial insights. Sites like G2 and Gartner are great to research some of the top ECM SaaS platforms and what your industry peers are saying about adopting the cloud. Contrast, compare, read reviews, and learn from others how SaaS solutions have helped transform their organization. Robust and relevant feature sets, along with a good reputation, can do well in convincing your intended audience that a new cloud-based solution is the way to go.
Calculate cost savings. As part of your research, try to get a handle on pricing. Compare the new platform’s pricing to your current costs and map these savings to specific processes if you can. A financial argument can go a long way in getting others – especially the accounting department or C-suite – on board with your pitch. Also be sure to communicate cost savings to IT, and how they can reallocate freed up resources to other projects.
Find your champions. Look to gain support from those who are equally excited about the proposed solution. It can be incredibly important to find champions with the authority and resources to make the migration happen.
Explore vendor migration resources
Examine whether potential vendors offer resources to help you along your cloud migration journey. This can include anything from documentation to software tools and full-service migrations.
Depending on what migration tools vendors offer and resources available at your organization, you may choose to approach migration on your own or request professional services to support the migration and ensure a smooth transition. Vendor resources may include:
- Documentation such as how-to guides, videos, and whitepapers.
- Software tools such as migration utilities and migration assistants.
- Robust technical support for your migration team to help answer questions and troubleshoot problems.
- Full-service migrations that work with your organization at each step of the way to help ensure the migration is as smooth as possible. As vendors and solution providers have supported migration for many other organizations, they’ll have the expertise and experience to facilitate your migration and mitigate any issues before, during and post migration.
Modernize your business processes
Cloud gives you an opportunity to not only modernize your infrastructure but also how you do business. As with any new technology investment, the old ways of conducting business will likely change – for the better. While on-premises apps and workflows may work similarly to the cloud, in many cases your teams may notice some differences in functionality and user experiences. As new updates are more immediately available for cloud systems, organizations won’t likely see a one-to-one match with how solutions were deployed on a legacy server infrastructure. It’s important to manage expectations and not try to port over processes exactly as they worked before – use this chance to modernize legacy processes to achieve the better outcomes for your organization.
Reexamine how processes can be made better by moving to the cloud – are there any inefficiencies you haven’t had the opportunity to address in the past? Any pain points that can be addressed with new features? Are there ways to further improve the employee experience and automate tasks? Where can collecting data inform better decision making? Asking the right questions can help you get the most out of your new cloud system.
Make a plan for a successful migration
A cloud migration requires careful planning for what you do before, during and after the migration takes place. Every organization will have a unique set of content, processes, data and users they may want to set up on the cloud. This takes time and prudent consideration of legal, compliance, security and other stakeholder needs to help ensure smooth operations, avoid future headaches and set the enterprise up for continued success. Here are a few actions to consider:
- Establish when the migration will happen.
- Create a communication plan to get staff excited about the change.
- Provide training sessions and materials on the new platform to your staff.
- Ensure you communicate the migration timeline to all stakeholders.
- Decide whether you need involvement of any vendors or solution providers.
- Work out with any solution providers how you are going to ensure a smooth migration.
- Establish key benchmarks that you’ll measure your new solution’s performance against.
- Make sure you have a clear idea of what you want to achieve and your priorities – should you migrate documents or process first? Which teams need the new platform the most?
- Make plans for how staff will operate – and what they need to operate – when files and workflows are moving between your on-premises and cloud systems.
- Create a well-defined strategy for how to onboard staff to the new system when the migration is complete.
During the migration:
- Make sure you or your vendor monitors the migration in progress for errors, hang-ups, or security concerns.
- If you’re concerned about interruptions or performance issues, consider doing your migration in batches.
- Once finished, be sure to test everything before considering the migration complete.
- Make sure to add any files, data, processes and settings that were changed during the migration to your new solution.
- Ensure the proper security and compliance protocols are in place on top of the inherent controls offered by the cloud platform.
- Continue training staff on the platform and any new features as they release.
- Continue exploring new ways to take advantage of the new platform.
- Even as the cloud becomes a more familiar part of your digital toolkit, transformation will always be an ongoing process that will require constant evolution as your business needs change.
Take the next step in your migration research
Ready to take a deeper dive into your cloud migration research, and see how the Laserfiche platform can be your cloud ECM solution? Visit our cloud content management product page.