I find that familiar adage, ‘it’s not the bus, it’s who's driving it’, frequently comes to mind when I watch companies go through the process of deciding which migration partner they’re going to team up with. You need the right tools, for sure. But ultimately, it’s more about who’s using them that will really make the difference between success and failure.

Time and time again, it strikes me that what defines the difference between success and failure is the talent and technology that businesses choose to engage with in order to support the end-to-end process. After all, cloud migration was never meant to be an unending process, so calling in the experts simply makes good financial and business sense.

So, what are the key questions you should be asking yourself before you choose the right cloud migration partner? Based on my own experience spanning a multitude of global engagements, here are just some of the key ones which I think are well worth careful consideration before you formalize any engagements:

1.  Multi-Cloud Flexibility:

Skilling up on any given cloud migration tool is like learning to be a mechanic for that one bus journey you need to make from A to B. It simply doesn’t make sense as the tool won’t be needed as part of the business’s longer-term strategy. So how can I standardize on one cloud migration solution that gives me the flexibility of a multi-cloud option, given that most cloud migration tools now support a single cloud environment only.

2.  Services Expertise:

I don’t have the budget, time or resources to develop an in-house team to take on the move to cloud beyond vital internal co-ordination. So I need a partner who has a depth and breadth of experience to manage and support the entire process from start to finish. Unforeseen challenges will be likely to crop up so the partner will also need both the expertise and flexibility to cope with any specific cloud challenges which my environment throws up.

3.  Advanced Product Capability:

 I need a partner who combines advanced tooling capability with hands-on expertise so that they can get the most out of the technology available to them. Additional features, such as the ability to upgrade my OS to retire technical debt, resize disks to optimize storage usage or go from SQL Server to Azure SQL (IaaS to PaaS) to take advantage of native services, could be a game-changer too.

4.  Budget Certainty:

In a perfect world, I’d opt for a partner who can give me a fixed price offering so that the onus is on them to complete the task at a given cost and within a given timeframe. Even those ‘free tools’ offered by cloud service providers don’t offer budget certainty as they’re often limited in use case support and don’t necessarily offer the capability and flexibility that I need. And some tools, like disaster recovery and backup, are like using a sledgehammer to crack a nut as they’ve been repurposed for cloud migration and can prove cumbersome, costly and time intensive. So, I need to make sure I choose a partner that is fit-for-purpose to prevent any unnecessary costs or delays.

5.  24/7 Support - Who Can I Call?

Another important consideration is Platform Support. It's a well-known fact that most migration projects require migrations to be performed and completed after business hours or on the weekends so I need to be sure that if I run into a problem there is someone I can call.


In summary, selecting the right cloud migration partner essentially comes down to making sure you ask the right questions. Following up with the appropriate research will also be key as part of the due diligence process but it should be a good deal easier if you’re focusing on the right issues. Remember: don’t just think about the bus, concentrate on who will be driving it. The tools matter, but without the talent you’ll soon be on the road to nowhere…

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Greg Dennis works at RiverMeadow Software Inc as Chief Technology Officer. He is a highly experienced Cloud migration expert with 20+ years of hands-on experience leading all stages of solution development efforts including requirements gathering, architecture, design, implementation, testing and support. To arrange a consultation with Greg please contact us here.


About RiverMeadow Software Inc.:

RiverMeadow provides a broad range of Fixed-Price Multi-Cloud Migration Services and Advanced Product capability that will dramatically reduce the time, cost and risk associated with moving physical, virtual and cloud-based workloads into and between public or private clouds. From Discovery and Assessment Services through Cloud Migration execution and automation, RiverMeadow accelerates your journey to the cloud with minimal disruption to your day-to-day operations, ensuring a successful outcome regardless of scale or complexity. To find out more about how you can join RiverMeadow’s fast-growing network of global partners and customers and accelerate your journey to cloud with total confidence visit www.rivermeadow.com.