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How to Fix a Cloud Migration Gone Wrong

January 9, 2024

There’s a race to get to the cloud, especially if your organization relies on the Atlassian platform to move work forward. As of February 2024, Atlassian no longer provides security updates or bug fixes for their Server products. Cloud infrastructure is key to generating efficiencies, accelerating business value, and successfully achieving transformation initiatives. In fact, Gartner says that without the use of cloud-native technologies, organizations cannot fully execute their digital strategies.

Unfortunately, in their rush to move to the cloud, businesses overlook important details and make misguided decisions that leave them dealing with a big, expensive mess. Whether they failed to budget accordingly or hired an inexperienced vendor, these companies must re-invest time and resources to fix what went wrong. In this article, we explore the most common mistakes that organizations make when moving to Atlassian Cloud and share tips on what to do when things don’t go as planned.

Common Cloud Migration Mistakes Organizations Make 

1. Working With An Inexperienced Vendor

Businesses are in such a hurry to get to the cloud that they attempt an in-house migration, or worse–they hire the less expensive vendor that lacks expertise. While DIY-ing your migration comes with its own set of issues, at least you know the ins and outs of your instance. 

Budgets are tight, and the price of a cloud migration alone is already expensive, so hiring the cheaper vendor to guide you through the process seems like a better financial decision. However, the problem with inexpensive vendors is they come with a hidden, high-dollar price tag once you account for reworks, delays, and unexpected expenses. 

The expression, “You get what you pay for” applies to cloud migration vendors in every sense of the word. Every cloud journey is uniquely nuanced thanks to each organization’s distinct data shape. This means your vendor needs to have the experience and expertise to meet your organization’s specific needs and avoid cloud migration mistakes.

When you go the budget-friendly route, you run the risk of a cloud migration failure, not even getting your migration across the finish line or committed to a cloud instance (we’ve seen this happen many times!). Then, you have to go back to the drawing board and hire a new partner to clean up a mess that could have been avoided altogether, costing more money in the long run. 

Unless your business has the cash to burn, we recommend investing in a partner that takes a highly customized approach to your cloud journey and has proven success with migrations of all shapes and sizes.

2. Poor Planning

Almost all cloud migration failures can be traced back to a lack of planning. Figuring out your migration on the fly leads to setbacks and wasted resources, which inevitably multiply when you fail to plan. So, how do you plan to organize your migration?

Properly planning your migration allows you to make strategic decisions about which apps, how much data, and what integrations you need to take with you. Because these factors determine the complexity of your migration, analyzing your current instance will give your teams a realistic view of what the lift looks like for your company.

Laying out a clear roadmap was one of the reasons that Ginkgo Bioworks had a great experience with its Atlassian Cloud migration. Even though challenges presented themselves during the enterprise level migration, the leading biotech company successfully migrated their Jira and Confluence instances–which included 78 projects, 700 users, 73 groups, and 125 spaces–in just seven weeks.  

Every organization is unique, and the migration process should be treated that way to avoid cloud migration mistakes. Atlassian Cloud migrations should be meticulously planned and highly customized—from the strategy to the timeline to the type of migration.

3. Rushing Into A Migration

One of the reasons organizations experience cloud migration failures is they are in a rush to get to the final destination. They opt for the expedient “lift and shift” migration, where you keep all your data (issues, attachments, and apps) as-is without any cleanup. While this type of like-for-like migration isn’t necessarily bad, it can result in moving duplicate, invalid, or inaccurate data that impacts the health of your instance and the overall user experience. 

If your business is pressed for time because of deteriorating legacy tools, a lift-and-shift could be viable. Just be aware that performing a lift-and-shift creates more work for enterprise teams who will need to spend time cleaning up legacy data that might be in the way of your users.

On the other end of the spectrum, if you have complex workloads and aren’t in a hurry, investing in cleanup and reconfiguration is the way to go especially for an enterprise level migration. Cloud migrations are an opportunity to get rid of data that no longer serves your organization. This allows you to optimize enterprise processes, improve daily operations, and give your teams faster access to high-value data.

There are also app functionalities and data sets that don’t translate in the cloud. There can be differences in the way that apps are configured, as well as limitations related to the amount of data that is allowed to be used or displayed.

Case in point: we had a client that was undergoing an Atlassian Cloud migration, and they were storing entire email chains in the description field. However, because the emails exceeded the 32,000 character limit of the description field, Jira Cloud Migration Assistant failed during the test migrations. 

This setback is an example of one of the many unforeseen obstacles that can occur during a cloud migration. Thankfully, they had Praecipio guiding them through the process. As a Platinum Solution Partner, Praecipio had access to resources at Atlassian that enabled our team to troubleshoot the problem and help the customer navigate future roadblocks with their cloud migration.

Taking the time to clean up and organize your data will make for a smoother migration process. Plus, once you have migrated, the time you invested in cleanup will pay off in the long run, enabling you to unlock the magic of Atlassian Cloud.

4. Misunderstanding Financial Investment and Impact

Organizations often view cloud migration as a one-and-done project, but a migration is a continuous journey filled with obstacles. Even after you have migrated your instance, there is still work to do, like training and upskilling employees. These misunderstandings have led organizations to underestimate the cost of moving to the cloud, and they fail to budget accordingly.

Setbacks are an inherent part of the process, even if you invest the time in planning. You have to budget time and resources for running into issues because they will happen. 

Organizations also make the mistake of expecting an immediate payback on their investment in the cloud. Sure, migrating to the cloud can generate 30% in server savings and 20% in IT cost savings, but these are long-term benefits.

With Atlassian Cloud, there is a 358% ROI, but it takes time to bring the entire organization up to speed with new technology before you start to see the return on your investment. Budgeting for unexpected setbacks, post-migration work, and training your employees will help you avoid the “hidden” costs that inevitably arise when migrating to the cloud.

5. Lack of Skills and Training

Finding talent to lead a cloud migration successfully is increasingly difficult. Research from Gartner shows that IT executives view the talent shortage as the most significant adoption barrier to 64% of emerging technologies, like cloud. 

Even though cloud job postings have skyrocketed since the pandemic, organizations struggle to find experienced cloud workers. In fact, more than 90% of IT leaders plan to expand their modern software engineering and cloud environments, yet 80% say inadequate employee skills are holding them back.

Another problem businesses run into is thinking the migration ends once the data is moved to its new environment. After migration, you need to educate employees on how to use the cloud infrastructure, important changes in apps or functionality, and how to get additional support.

When Castlight Health migrated from Server to Atlassian Cloud, they invested in training their team members. The healthcare company worked with Praecipio to provide post-migration support and implement a training plan to get their users comfortable with working in the Atlassian Cloud. This important step ensured a successful cloud migration since it laid the groundwork for building a cloud-first culture.

Successfully Migrate to Atlassian Cloud

Whether you're migrating just a few projects or taking on an enterprise level migration, the best way to ensure you achieve the desired outcomes with your cloud migration is to work with an Atlassian Solution Partner. As a specialized partner in Atlassian Cloud, Praecipio holds a 100% migration success rate and has deep expertise with enterprise-level use cases across the Atlassian Cloud platform. 

If you have experienced a cloud migration gone bad, Praecipio is here to help. Contact our team of experts to analyze your situation and establish a plan for fixing your previous Atlassian Cloud migration.

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