If you have a largescale migration to AWS on the cards, you’ve probably heard of AWS’ Migration Acceleration Program. Designed to help enterprise level businesses coordinate a seamless and effective move to the cloud, it comprises three phases:
- Migrate and optimise
Each phase has an important part to play. But the initial assessment demands the attention of the entire business, not just the IT team. This upfront planning and preparation establishes your migration readiness status. It ensures that all business leaders, budget holders and stakeholders are aware of any upfront work that’s needed before migration.
The importance of a cloud adoption strategy
The AWS Cloud Adoption Framework (CAF) is at the heart of the assessment phase. During a Migration Readiness Assessment, different parts of the business are evaluated against the CAF’s six perspectives of business, people, governance, platform, security and operations. The intention is to reveal any gaps in existing skills, processes and capabilities which might hinder success in the cloud. This establishes actions needed to ensure the migration progresses as planned and that business benefits are unlocked once it’s complete.
A little while back, my colleague Rael Winters posted a blog titled How to pace yourself in the race to the cloud. He emphasises the importance of having a cloud adoption strategy which acknowledges existing circumstances and works towards specific goals. In his words:
Cloud migration – moving application workloads to the cloud – is just one aspect of the journey. Cloud adoption is much more complex. It involves the people and processes behind the business, many of which sit outside or extend beyond enterprise IT. So, cloud adoption encompasses more than technical re-platforming. Unless it’s handled with care and expertise, it’s easy to find that costs spiral up, deadlines get missed and performance benefits are delayed.Rael Winters, Director, DevOpsGroup
Rael talks about building an understanding of your current position before undertaking the physical process of moving to the cloud. And that’s exactly what you get when assessing your business in relation to the six CAF perspectives.
The six perspectives of AWS’ Cloud Adoption Framework
You can read about AWS’ six CAF perspectives in full here. But to summarise:
The Business Perspective helps you move from separate strategies for business and IT to a business model that integrates IT strategy. Agile IT strategies are aligned to support your business outcomes, and they can adjust to business needs or technical capabilities as they change.
The People Perspective helps HR and personnel management prepare their teams for cloud adoption by updating staff skills and organisational processes to include cloud-based competencies.
The Governance Perspective integrates IT Governance and Organisational Governance. It provides guidance on identifying and implementing best practices for IT Governance, and on supporting business processes with technology.
The Platform Perspective helps you design, implement and optimise the architecture of AWS technology based on business goals and objectives. It helps provide strategic guidance for the design, principles, tools and policies you will use to define AWS infrastructure. The Platform perspective also includes principles and patterns for communicating your target state environment, implementing new solutions on the cloud, and migrating on-premises workloads to the cloud.
The Security Perspective helps you structure the selection and implementation of controls. Following this guidance can make it easier to identify areas of non-compliance and plan ongoing security initiatives.
The Operations Perspective helps you to run, use, operate and recover IT workloads to levels that meet the requirements of your business stakeholders. Insights gained through the Operations Perspective define your current operating procedures as well as process changes and training needed for successful cloud adoption. Well-managed IT operations support the operations of the business from planning and sustaining, through change and incident management.
Identify strengths and weaknesses to create an action plan
To properly assess the business in relation to the six perspectives, relevant subject matter experts need to be involved. So, the support of a broad range of decision makers needs to be secured. This includes the C-Suite and business unit owners as well as heads of finance, security and HR. Stakeholder insights help build a clear picture of where the business sits in terms of foundational requirements for successful cloud adoption.
It all boils down to understanding the current state of the organisation’s cloud journey, albeit at a very high level. This includes everything from modern ways of working to technical matters such as tagging to help monitor spend. It gives a broad indication of which business areas are mature enough to migrate and reap the benefits quickly. And it spotlights weaker areas where action is needed to ensure the migration doesn’t encounter challenges which may cause delays.
There will almost certainly be an inconsistent picture of strengths and weaknesses across the organisation, and that’s OK. The goal is to understand the scope and scale of what lies ahead to avoid nasty surprises once you start. It enables you to earmark workloads that can migrate at an early stage. And it gives you a better idea of which require action before they can feasibly be moved.
Organisations we’ve worked with to assess their business against the AWS CAF find the process enlightening and empowering. The process underpins the creation of a well-informed action plan for an efficient and effective move to the cloud.