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Sound Planning for Deployment of Cloud-Based Solutions Ensures Success for SMBs

IT projects are notorious for running over budget and time frames. This is especially true for implementation of new technologies, whether on-premise or in the cloud. Therefore, SMBs should carefully plan for the deployment of new cloud solutions.

Develop a project plan with measurable milestones and assign authority and accountability to specific individuals
While this may seem too obvious to even mention, many SMBs don’t pen down specific detailed project plans for cloud deployment. While the cloud vendor is responsible for hosting the hardware and software on behalf of the customers, SMBs need to understand what specific steps need to be taken – both for developing/customizing new services and for migrating on-premise solutions to the web. This includes all the steps starting with stating the objectives, specifying the requirements, prototyping, testing, training the users and final deployment, with criteria for successful deployment being clearly defined. Some cloud vendors have standard plans for standard services and help SMBs customize these plans for custom service development and deployment.

Measure the actual progress against the plan
This requires working with the vendor’s staff to ensure that actual progress meets the specified milestones and the project is not going over-budget or time schedules.

Take corrective action when actual progress deviates from the plan
Taking corrective action becomes much easier if the original plan provides the required authority to relevant individuals to implement the plan and these individuals can be held accountable for their results.

Test the new service to ensure it performs according to expectations
Even the most experienced cloud provider or developer cannot ensure that the new service is 100% error-free. It is important to test the service not only to ensure that it works error-free but also provides full intended functionality so that the business can realize the full benefits of the service and justify its investment.

Provide training to the end-users to use the new services
It is often very difficult to get end-users to dedicate the required time for training as many end-users perceive it as a distraction from their regular duties. However, lack of training can result in under-utilization of all the functionalities of the new service.

There are some key lessons to learn from those SMBs that have gone through not one but several deployment cycles. Selection of right vendor is not only important but imperative to have a smooth and uneventful deployment.

Tavishi Agrawal
Techaisle

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