Want a Successful Cloud Migration? First, Change Your Mindset
Having the right data mindset is foundational and should first be addressed before executing any specific strategy when moving from on-premise to the cloud.
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The transition from on-premise to cloud computing is inevitable: we know that by now. You would be hard-pressed to find a business that disagrees with this notion, especially now with all the changes brought on by hybrid work. However, with all the haste to adopt cloud data platforms, many businesses fail to meet the ultimate goal of improved business agility and efficiency throughout the organization.
Why is this? At the bottom line, getting a handle on the increasing volumes of data and multiple data sources is still a new and challenging concept for many organizations. IT leaders and developers have been navigating this new terrain over the past decade, and many are still trying to keep up with the amount of new cloud data services that continue to emerge. Some may believe that successful cloud migration depends solely on technology. While technology is important, the reality is that this transition depends on an organization’s IT leaders and the mindset they have when approaching today's complex data environment.
If you want to change your organization, you have to change your viewpoint on how things are typically done. This is true for most aspects of business, and it is certainly true for how we approach driving organizational change from data analytics. To do so, let’s first take a look at some of the most common data misconceptions when it comes to cloud migration, and what should be done instead.
Process Focused vs. Data Focused
There’s a massive disconnect in today’s organizations about how we’re approaching analytics. Many business leaders are stuck in a process-focused mentality. Essentially the main misconception is that simply copying data into the cloud can immediately solve integration and analytics problems. Of course, moving storage and processing to the cloud is a prerequisite to unlocking scalability, but on its own, it doesn't generate insights. Think about it this way: what point is there in running a flawed process faster? It's only the output of the process - the data - which can deliver the value.
We need to move beyond the "just get it into the cloud" mindset and put an end to one-way data integration. By taking a more holistic and strategic approach to the cloud analytics process, IT leaders will be able to drive more actionable insights that can be applied to the business to improve customer experiences, contain costs, and better manage resources. Once we begin to treat data as a standalone, top-level, valuable entity instead of something that is simply spat out of a process, that is when things will begin to change.
Technology as the Be-All and End-All
Let’s be clear. The right data tools are absolutely important to a successful data migration strategy and IT leaders need to do their due diligence to find the right solution. With hundreds of cloud data services to choose from, it’s necessary to evaluate the different functionalities that they provide to understand how they can meet your organization's unique needs. However, the underlying problem is that some hold the belief that the latest and greatest tools are what will ultimately bring them success and make the most impact on business.
Similar to being overly process-focused rather than data-focused, today’s organizations can be caught out by just trying to acquire the latest feature sets, rather than focusing on the requirements of the analytics process. The most powerful tool on the market won’t guarantee success if the business is not making smart decisions with the resulting data. Tools alone can’t solve the organization's issues. Can they help? Sure. Let the machine do what machines are good at doing while bearing in mind that they are an avenue to success, not the reason for it.
A prime example of this is the emergence of low-code and no-code tools on the market. These have drastically changed the analytics space, and for the better. However, we need to clear up the misconception that these tools are replacing data analysis and data engineering skills. Low code is useful because it enables data analysts and data engineers to focus their efforts where it's most valuable. On its own, a low code tool is not what’s going to create differentiators for the business and ultimately drive success. Low code is a prerequisite piece of the puzzle, but the main value is to alleviate some of the burdensome, time-consuming tasks so they don't hold up the analytics process.
Narrow-Minded View of Data’s Impact
Data quality can suffer as a consequence of decentralization, yet many IT leaders are still taking this approach without realizing it. Much too often, teams approach the cloud as a quick-fix solution to solving specific challenges but fail to consider how cloud computing will impact other departments of the organization in the decision.
It’s important to consider how a cloud migration will impact a range of applications and processes across all levels of the organization. Having an understanding of the way other business users access data and the things they do with it can help inform your decision when choosing a cloud data platform. By taking this into consideration, you will not only avoid a massive disconnect during this transition but may also uncover some unexpected value that these data insights can provide other areas of the business.
Instead of viewing cloud migration as a data-team-specific solution, IT leaders should approach this process as a means to enterprise-wide digital transformation. As a result, you’ll be setting the business up to reach its maximum potential through these data insights.
The bottom line is that those that fail to derive true business value from cloud migrations are typically holding onto some common data misconceptions. While there are certainly more technical factors that need to be addressed during this process, having the right data mindset is foundational and should first be addressed before executing any specific strategy. By becoming more data-focused, empowering smart data decisions, and viewing the migration in a more holistic manner, you will be setting yourself up for success and avoiding some of the common pitfalls that IT leaders face on their cloud data journey.
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