The shock of hidden costs can derail even the best-conceived cloud-migration project, yet research suggests that actual costs exceed planned costs in roughly three out of four cases. From integrating multiple environments to issues with code, data backup and synchronization, there are any number of pitfalls you and your team should be aware of.

The good news, though, is that most of them can be anticipated. To help you out, let’s look at some of the most common hidden costs associated with cloud migrations, then turn to a few simple tips to help you avoid them.

Research shows actual costs exceed planned costs in roughly three out of four cloud migrations.

training and hiring

Getting internal teams up to speed with new tools or technologies — that is, ensuring that they have the necessary skills to implement and manage a cloud migration — can be costly, and it isn’t going to happen overnight. What’s more, bringing on new hires who have those much-needed skills often winds up being par for the course. The only trouble is, many organizations don’t factor that into the budget.

lost productivity

Implementing DevSecOps. Decommissioning legacy systems. Running duplicate systems during migration cutovers. As changes like these to your operating procedures are rolled out and adopted, expect to see some amount of lost productivity as a result, together with predictably negative bottom-line consequences.

mis-provisioning of cloud resources

Mis-provisioning of cloud resources is an all-too-common mistake, whether that means overprovisioning and underprovisioning — both are equally risky. Make either one and you’ll see increasing costs alongside decreasing productivity.

underestimating the costs associated with “lift-and-shift” application migrations

Modifying applications to make them cloud-friendly might sound simple when you meet with the IT team. But when it comes time to execute, these projects often prove to be far more complex and time-consuming than anyone predicted. Understanding the key drivers behind your cloud migration is a critical first step to help you avoid this.

support issues

Sure, these might sound trivial at first. Yet the reality is that support issues often take substantial time and resources to resolve completely. And in the interim, they have the power to cause wide-ranging problems, from diminished productivity to frustrated customers, none of which are good signs for your bottom line.

4 simple steps to mitigate hidden costs

There’s no reason to let hidden costs derail, or even simply undermine, the overall success of your cloud-migration journey. To better understand what might be on the road ahead, start with these four steps, which should help you get a handle on hidden costs well in advance of your migration.

  • Conduct a skill set inventory to understand not only the skill set of your current IT team but what types of training or hiring needs might emerge in the future.
  • Consider automating your migration processes and cloud usage policies. There are a lot of good tools out there to facilitate your migration, and they can help reduce the time required as well as the risks inherent in manual processes.
  • Differentiate between data that absolutely must reside on the cloud and data that can continue to live on premises. Obviously, there’s no good reason to pay to store data on the cloud if it’s no longer relevant for your business.
  • Try to avoid overprovisioning costs by correctly sizing up your servers. Treat your current usage as a baseline from which to monitor usage going forward — and don’t hesitate to make any changes as needed. In the meantime, you should also disable underutilized servers to avoid paying for these resources.

key takeaways

It goes without saying that creating an accurate budget for your cloud-migration project is going to play a significant role in determining its outcome. Of course, as we have seen, not every financial outlay may be visible from the outset — which is why it’s a good idea to incorporate the best practices outlined above into your organization’s planning process.

For more insights, practical examples and actionable guidance on cloud migration journeys, check out the latest white paper from Randstad.