Migrating to the cloud is one of the most powerful things your business can use to increase your flexibility, resilience, and efficiency.

Here are seven key steps you need to take to migrate your business to the cloud.

1. Understand the Business Needs That Drive a Migration to the Cloud

Before we talk about what you need to do, an excellent place to start is understanding why you need to make a move in the first place. That means looking at what parts of your business stand to gain the most from moving to the cloud.

This is, of course, entirely dependent on what industry you’re in. An excellent place to start is to follow the data. What information do you have, how do you access it, and where is it stored? The usual suspects for migrating to the cloud include marketing (email lists, segmentation, targeted offers), HR (payroll, benefits), finance (invoicing, finance, and customer service interactions), but there are many more. Take a thorough look at your business processes and data on hand to find the best solution.

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2. Start with a SWOT Analysis

One of the best, most organized ways of taking stock of where you are is to perform a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) analysis. This gives you a solid basis for understanding where you need to improve and what migrating to the cloud can do for your business.

3. Identify Which Applications to Migrate

The main point of SWOT analysis is to narrow your focus and identify which applications to migrate. Now, you should have a good idea of why you’re moving to the cloud, so it’s just a question of priorities.

4. Look at the Numbers

Once you have your priorities, it’s a good idea to look at the numbers of what it will cost to migrate your business to the cloud. By now, you know what you want to do and how you stand to benefit from it, so the obvious course of action is to determine the cost.

5. Choose the Right Cloud Partner

Choosing the right cloud partner comes down to a combination of your needs and your budget. You want to find someone who has experience working in a similar area or industry and understands the needs and nuances of your business. RapidScale, for example, is one such company and assists clients with a comprehensive cloud roadmap that makes migration simple.

6. Plan Your Migration

When it comes to transitioning key business processes to the cloud, your number one priority should be to minimize disruption time for your team. Take a close look at your schedule and figure out how to best time your transition. Determine the order of migration and set some deadlines and metrics to define success.

7. Actively Monitor How It’s Going

As you make your transition to the cloud, make sure you’re actively monitoring how it’s going. Be ready to address any issues as they come up.

The full article originally appeared on CoxBLUE.com

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