David Epps manages a team of Solution Engineers responsible for assisting organizations in selecting the proper mix of cloud service to meet their specific business and budget goals. David has over 20 years of IT experience including ten years in healthcare IT services and over 13 years in the Managed Application/Cloud Services industry.
Today we conclude our blog series on how to buy cloud.  You can access the first installment, ‘Getting Started’ here. The second segment, ‘Planning Ahead for Integration’ can be read here.
The implementation phase is typically the most difficult and demanding part of the relationship between your business and your cloud services provider. During implementation you are actually adding workload throughout your organization before the services can lessen your workload and provide other benefits. Businesses I have worked with who have successfully and painlessly implemented cloud services have benefited from being organized and systematic about the implementation phase. I generally encourage companies develop a checklist to cover the important milestones in the process.
While businesses all have their own unique milestones to add to their checklist, it can be helpful to start with a generic implementation checklist like this:
[  ] Onboarding of the Following Parties:  [  ] Executive Teams    [  ] Finance    [  ] IT    [  ] End Users
[  ] Kick-Off Meeting: Expectations between you and your provider are discussed and set.
[  ] Agree on a Timeline: Highlight the key milestones in the project.
[  ] Identify Key Resources: You and your provider should identify who is responsible for what and establish communications guidelines
[  ] Testing: Test data, services, and business processes prior to launch; document all tests; make sure all areas of the business are tested.
[  ] Testing Validation: Make sure the responsible business units validate and sign off on results for their area.
[  ] Go Live: Monitor and document performance immediately; establish measurements and benchmarks you can use to analyze performance in the future.
[  ] Schedule Regular Meetings: Include all stakeholders. Discuss ongoing performance, planning and additional needs.
If you keep organized during this process by using the checklist above to guide you, you'll be prepared for a successful implementation.  And of course, if you have any questions, don't hesitate to discuss them with your services provider, or ask us here.