Planning guide offers agencies detailed strategies for transformational moves to the cloud

A five-step process for cloud migration aims to save IT leaders time and headaches as they sort through and choose the right service models for their needs, according to a new report.

Industry noise can be overwhelming for agencies attempting to adopt the most appropriate cloud services. However, creating a tactical plan that pairs business capabilities with the most appropriate cloud-service model will save time for decision-makers at any stage of cloud migration, according to a new guidebook.

This approach allows IT leaders to better serve mission objectives with the flexibility to innovate over time and future-proof systems with built-in agility.

The “Digital Transformation Journey Guidebook,” written by Salesforce for federal agency leaders, provides a five-stage process for agencies to follow in order to deliver transformational outcomes, and not merely migrate their IT to the cloud.

The guide also highlights the advantages of replacing a linear development methodology with an agile framework that “is more likely to lead to quick wins” and encourage stakeholder buy-in for the migration.

Organizations often fall into the trap of equating the cloud with infrastructure-as-a-service, which can lead to the decision to move applications and systems to IaaS. However, that can result in a costly “two-hop” cloud migration if a more innovative option is discovered later to migrate those same systems to a different type of cloud service, such as application platforms as a service (aPaaS), high-productivity PaaS and software as a service (SaaS).

Adopting a mix of cloud services equips organizations to face technology transformation head on, lessens the risk of vendor lock-in and enables leaders to meet changing mission requirements.

The guidebook breaks down the tactical planning process into a five-step plan. Each step gives guidance for how agencies can walk through the cloud modernization process safely and effectively:

  • Discover what applications and systems are in place across the organization and strategically plan the cloud migration by viewing IT in two modes of operation: traditional versus agile.
  • Evaluate the business capabilities IT supports and whether they are currently business needs. Then establish the rate of change for each business capability and associated application.
  • Prioritize cloud-migration candidates and determine the type of cloud service that will best support it. Begin by determining the technical debt of each business process — or the amount of time, money and energy you spend on the IT that supports it.
  • Migrate using a data-driven management approach for planning cloud migration to build a business case that’s defensible. Then establish an acquisition plan that supports the organization’s guidelines and minimizes costs.
  • Operate with a consistent approach that is built to managing both cloud solutions and organizational change. Ensure all IT-related decisions are consistently made based on best practices that align with strategic priorities.

However, tactical planning for cloud modernization can be hindered if there is not also organizational change in both culture and operations. The guidebook encourages agencies to distinguish how they operate, moving from the mindset of a “technology provider” to a “technology broker.”

Providers procure and manage technology solutions. But operating as a broker means “overseeing your agency’s platform for innovation, the tone and moments of their interaction with stakeholders,” says the guidebook.

This type of organizational change empowers IT leaders to bring stakeholders onboard an embrace the common vision to reach long-term outcomes successfully.

Read the “Digital Transformation Journey Guidebook” for more on building a cloud migration strategy to future-proof applications and services.

Learn more about Salesforce and trailblazers in government.

This article was produced by FedScoop for, and sponsored by, Salesforce.

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