Cloud project? Prepare for failure

Your cloud project has a one-in-three chance of going belly up, so plan accordingly

Cloud project? Prepare for failure
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You’ve been tasked with moving 50 applications and their data to the cloud. That’s a daunting task, even if you’ve done it before, but most such migrations are first-time efforts. There’s a big risk in your making a mistake or in the fundamental approach you’ve chosen.

Surveys from Innotas seem to indicate that the initial wave of transitions to the cloud has in fact increased the number of failures. In 2014, an Innotas survey of IT pros showed that 32 percent of their companies experienced at least one project failure in the prior year. In 2015, that percentage jumped to 55 percent. (Some good news: The percentage dipped to 50 percent in the 2016 survey.)

I believe the jump is at least partly due to the switch to the cloud. Because the cloud is an unfamiliar area for IT organizations, more failures are occurring as IT pros learn the hard way.

In fact, I figure you have a one-in-three chance that your cloud project will be considered a failure, perhaps because you spent way more than you budgeted or more likely because you pick the wrong technology or cloud services. I see these failed projects weekly, often when they are too late to fix.

So what do you do if your cloud project fails? I have two suggestions:

First, plan for failure. If you're moving to cloud-based platforms, you’re likely doing so for the first time, and there are far too many unknowns. Be realistic by setting expectations lower and budgeting for failure. Have the resources, including money, reserved to climb out of any hole you accidentally dig; if you don’t need that money when the project is done, you’ll be a hero.

Second, slow down at first. Many projects fail due to unrealistic timelines. Moving 50 workloads will take months, not weeks, at least when you do it for the first time. After you have a few under your belt, you should see the pace quicken naturally.

Failure is part of the territory when it comes to IT, moreso in a new world such as cloud computing. With a bit of prep, you’ll be able to get through the first few projects. Then you’ll start seeing the big payoff.