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5 Lessons Learned From a Top 10 Bank’s All-in Data Transformation & Cloud Migration

Published June 24, 2021

Migrating processes and applications from on-premises instances and data centers to the cloud is no small task. Recently, Infinitive wrapped up a multiyear engagement helping a Top 10 U.S. bank go all-in on AWS’s public cloud to not only remove their on-premises dependencies but also to help reimagine how they worked on a daily basis as part of a larger data transformation.

Along the way, we helped our client overcome a number of challenges and learned some key lessons that can be useful to others who are considering or have already started their cloud transformation journey.

If you’ve already started on your journey, Infinitive has developed a multi-point Cloud Health Check assessment framework to help you understand your current cloud program and implementation progress, identify quick-hit improvements, and improve your go-forward strategy to attain desired business outcomes. The themes listed below are examined within the Cloud Health Check. Even if you haven’t started your journey yet, these can help ensure you’re successful.

It’s an iterative process, so lay a good foundation. No matter your organization’s size, you will inevitably have multiple systems from internal HR management to the applications that run core business processes. To move from point A to point B, you’ll need the right training and resources across all your internal systems to understand how they currently work and how they will fit together in the new cloud world. Starting with a good foundation of getting current employees well-versed in the new technologies and bringing in the right expertise will help ensure your journey follows the right steps.

Understand your why, and define your goals. Moving to the cloud simply because it’s the biggest technology trend in years is not a good enough reason. As an organization, you need to understand why you’re doing it—whether it’s to save money on not having to pay for computing power you’re not using in a data center or to gain a competitive advantage by reducing the time it takes to test and deploy new applications. Before you start, understand why you’re moving to the cloud and bring the entire organization along on the journey, so everyone is heading in the same direction and working on achieving the same goal.

Know what you need in the target state. What does the target-state destination for your organization look like? Understanding this will help you plan for all the functions needed by the different parts of your organization. For instance, if you’re building a centralized location for all your data storage, it needs to support all applications that will send data there. Otherwise, you may run into a scenario where you’ve built custom methods for each application, or sets of applications, and will need to support each one individually rather than having a solution that works for all. Additionally, the different applications will need to create their own adoption plans to ensure migrations and cut-overs can occur in a risk-controlled way.

Look at the most complex cases first. The prevailing wisdom and guidance says to start small to get some early wins and prove the benefits. In practice, however, we’ve seen that it’s better to start by understanding what the most complex applications need first. If you don’t consider all the needs right off the bat, you will end up having to develop customized solutions and will stretch out your timelines. Create the capabilities and controls with the most challenging use cases in mind so that you aren’t stuck scrambling to build a road once you’ve already started driving down it.

Know how to measure progress. From the start, you need to understand how you will track progression towards your goal. It’s not enough to look at total number of applications in the cloud versus those remaining on-premises; you must be able to track exactly who and what still operate in the old environment, how and when to migrate them over, and finally how to verify that migration is done in a safe and secure manner. If you don’t have a centralized way to measure all of that, you run the risk of having something slip through the cracks or your journey taking longer than budgeted.

These key insights come with the experience of having been there and done that. Infinitive consultants have worked as trusted partners with a number of organizations looking to move to the cloud, move more efficiently to the cloud, or transform how they’re doing business from a process and technology perspective. Our company is an AWS Advanced Partner and has worked in many regulated industries, so you can count on us to bring industry expertise and deliver results by driving insights, innovation, and efficiency across your business. Contact us today.