Is your business on the cloud? No? There’s no better time than the present to get started.

Change is inevitable. As is digital migration. According to Forbes, enterprises undergoing digital transformation are the major driving factor for cloud adoption. In fact, it goes on to say that 83% of enterprise workloads will be in the cloud by 2020. This driving force does not affect larger enterprises only. Smaller businesses need to keep up to survive.

Being on the cloud gives your company a competitive edge, but digitally migrating your business is not a decision to take lightly. There is a fair amount of planning and preparation needed, and getting the whole team’s buy-in is crucial to success. After all, there’s no going back once the wheels start turning.

We’ve put together some practical advice to get you started.

Put a solid plan in place

Whether you are an early adopter or don’t want to be too late for the party, proper planning is essential for mitigating any potential risk.

Your digital migration plan needs to include your overall migration strategy across your entire organization. This includes an impact study of what effect moving all or parts of the business to the cloud will have, as well as an employment model. You will also need to look closely at your current IT framework and investigate how migrating to the cloud can be done lightly to avoid unnecessary downtime. Of course, the entire process will need to be managed, measured and continuously improved. No business is the same, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution.

Here’s a great resource from non-profit organization Mitre to reference when planning your cloud migration.

Implement in stages

In today’s digital landscape, businesses want to be disruptive, not disrupted.

There are definite advantages to migrating your business to the cloud incrementally as opposed to going full throttle. Implementing in stages poses a lower risk and certain parts of the business can continue operating without interruption until it’s time to switch over. In fact, most cloud services and applications can be run in unison with on-premises solutions for a smoother transition.

Migrating incrementally has the added advantage of allowing you to honor existing contracts and licenses until the end of their lifespan. The last thing you want to do is migrate your business to the cloud with technical debt hanging over your head.

Outline the benefits

Gartner found that cloud solutions are easier to implement than on-premises systems and require no major future upgrades. This offers an immediate cost-saving benefit to your business. They’re also more agile and flexible, so you can quickly pivot to meet change.

Being on the cloud makes it easier to respond to the organization’s changing business needs. More importantly, it allows your business to stay on par with changing customer needs and channel preferences. You will have access to more data, be able to respond to customers quicker and, most importantly, be able to stay competitive.

Communicate openly with your team

As with all business changes, proper change management, onboarding and training are required to ensure a seamless migration. Digital migration might mean structural changes to the organization and new staff will need to be hired to meet your changing business needs. Existing staff will need to be informed.

Many roles might change, with new skills needed to get the best out of new cloud software. Be open with your team and offer training to help facilitate the adoption of new technology. Let them know that keeping their skills up to date will help them reach their career-path goals quicker.

Ensure the whole team understands why digital migration is necessary and how it will affect the entire business.

Digital migration is an inevitability, but it does not need to be a dreaded one. The benefits far outweigh the risks, and once your business starts reaching for the clouds, you won’t look back.

Want to read more on this topic? Try How to get your agents to embrace the cloud.