How Amazon Web Services Partners Can Conduct a High-Quality Cloud Readiness Assessment for Customers

by Mohamad Charaf | on

By Mohamad Charaf, Sr. Solutions Architect – Amazon Web Services

Migrating workloads to the cloud is a transformative journey that requires careful planning, expertise, and understanding of an organization’s readiness.

Amazon Web Services Partners have several options to conduct a cloud readiness consulting assessment for their customers:

  • Partners who would prefer to have Amazon Web Services run the assessment on their behalf can work with Amazon Web Services migration solutions architects who can deliver the workshop.
  • Partners who’d like to run the workshop on their own can leverage the Migration Readiness Assessment (MRA). All resources, artifacts, and the MRA platform are available via Amazon Web Services Partner Central (login required).

For Amazon Web Services Partners, a cloud readiness assessment is a fundamental step in assisting customers with their migration to the cloud. However, conducting an assessment without a structured approach can lead to incomplete results and missed opportunities.

In this post, I will provide a detailed checklist of recommended activities that Amazon Web Services Partners can follow when conducting a cloud readiness assessment. I’ll cover two main sections:

  • Section 1 focuses on the workshop activities, detailing the guidelines and checklist for running a successful cloud readiness assessment workshop.
  • Section 2 delves into the Amazon Web Services Cloud Adoption Framework and how to use it while assessing a business’s readiness to the cloud.

By using these practices, Amazon Web Services Partners can offer high-quality assessments that deliver anticipated value to customers.

Section 1: Workshop Activities Checklist

Process and Artifacts

Define and Document the Cloud Readiness Assessment Process

When conducting the assessment, the first step is to obtain or use a well-defined and documented readiness assessment process. This is the foundation of a successful cloud readiness assessment (CRA).

Amazon Web Services Partners should outline the steps, activities, and timelines for each task, ensuring a clear roadmap for the entire assessment journey. The process should also consider the roles and responsibilities of team members involved in the assessment.

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Figure 1 – Cloud readiness assessment process.

Create a Delivery Guide

A delivery guide is an essential document for the Amazon Web Services Partner’s team. It provides clear instructions on how to conduct the assessment, following a standardized process for all customers. The delivery guide (login required) acts as a playbook, ensuring consistency and reducing the likelihood of missing critical steps during the assessment.

Provide Pre-Assessment Questions

Before the assessment workshop day, pre-workshop activities include sharing a set of pre-assessment questions to customer attendees. These questions serve as a baseline understanding of the customer’s current state, including IT infrastructure, applications, and business goals. This allows Amazon Web Services Partners to tailor the workshop to specific customer needs and pain points.

Communicate Timelines and Milestones

Clear communication of timelines and milestones is vital for a successful assessment. Both the partner and customer need to be aware of when pre-workshop activities are expected, the workshop date, readout meeting, and any other significant milestones.

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Figure 2 – Cloud readiness assessment timeline.

Document User Guides for Tools

If tools are used for the assessment, Amazon Web Services Partners should provide guides to attendees with instructions on how to use the tools effectively, ensuring a seamless experience during the workshop. By making the tool usage intuitive, attendees can focus on providing valuable input and feedback without distractions.

Standardize Workshop Content

To maintain consistency across assessments, all content used during the workshop should be standardized. This includes presentation slides, documents, and any other materials. Check Section 2 below for the assessment topics to be covered during the actual workshop event.

Create Clear Action Items

The final output of the assessment should be a list of clear and prioritized and assigned action items. Each recommendation should be carefully crafted based on the assessment’s findings and communicated to all participants. Clear action items empower the customer to take the necessary steps toward a successful cloud migration.

Communication

Clarify the Value of the Cloud Readiness Assessment

The cloud readiness assessment should be explicitly communicated to the customer, emphasizing its benefits and business outcomes. This ensures all stakeholders understand the strategic nature of the assessment, which is designed to identify the customer’s readiness for cloud migration as well as identify gaps in planning and to prepare for successful migration.

Meet with Executive Sponsor and Coordinator

An initial alignment meeting with the executive sponsor and coordinator from the customer’s side is essential. This meeting allows Amazon Web Services Partners to communicate the assessment’s objectives, understand the customer’s current state, and align on the desired outcomes. The executive sponsor plays a crucial role in endorsing and supporting the assessment, making their involvement critical for success.

Prior to the workshop, the executive sponsor should be provided with all of the necessary information to actively participate. Their active engagement lends credibility to the assessment and reinforces the importance of the cloud migration initiative.

Set Workshop Expectations

Clearly communicating workshop expectations to attendees fosters a collaborative and safe environment for participation. Attendees should understand the workshop’s purpose, expected outcomes, and how their inputs will contribute to the assessment.

Organization and Coordination

Define Attendee Roles Clearly

To ensure a successful assessment, all required attendee roles should be well defined and communicated to the executive sponsor and coordinator. These roles may include representatives from various business units, IT departments, and other key stakeholders.

Develop a Detailed Agenda

Creating and communicating a detailed workshop agenda to the sponsor and attendees helps set expectations for the assessment’s structure and activities. It should include specific activities and timelines for each session. A well-planned agenda allows Amazon Web Services Partners to stay on track and cover all necessary topics during the assessment.

Achieve Consensus among Participants

During the workshop, achieving consensus on each assessment question rating is crucial. Partners should facilitate open discussions and ensure all viewpoints are heard and considered. Consensus-building fosters a collaborative environment, enabling partners to obtain accurate and comprehensive insights from the assessment.

Reporting and Charts

Provide comprehensive reports and charts based on questionnaire ratings, notes, and comments. These reports offer visual insights into the assessment findings and rating of the organization’s cloud readiness, making it easier for stakeholders to comprehend the results.

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Figure 3 – Executive and workstream summaries showing findings.

People

Appoint a Skilled Facilitator

Selecting a solutions architect or a technical consultant with cloud migration expertise as the main facilitator is critical. The facilitator should be well versed in conducting assessments and guiding discussions effectively. An experienced facilitator ensures the workshop runs smoothly and maximizes the value of the assessment.

Appoint a Coordinator

A coordinator from the customer’s side should be appointed and informed of their role in bringing attendees to the workshop. The coordinator plays a pivotal role in ensuring all necessary stakeholders are present during the assessment.

Implement a RACI Matrix

A RACI matrix (Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, Informed) should be defined and documented to outline the roles and responsibilities for each activity in the workshop. The RACI matrix clarifies who’s responsible for which tasks, such as planning and staffing, alignment meetings, pre-workshop activities, workshop delivery, and reviews.

Engage Involved Roles from Customer

The assessment should involve all relevant roles from the customer’s organization, including representatives from various departments and business units to ensure a holistic understanding of the customer’s migration requirements.

Section 2: Cloud Adoption Framework Checklist

This section helps Amazon Web Services Partners in designing the assessment questions and ratings around evaluating the business readiness and maturity based on the Amazon Web Services Cloud Adoption Framework .

Each of these list items can be assessed using a rating to identify the level of maturity of the business on a scale from 1 to 5, where 1 is the least mature and 5 is the most. This rating can be used as the basis for providing a recommendation on each perspective.

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Figure 4 – The cloud adoption framework.

Business Case and Migration Project Plan

Define a High-Level Business Case for Migration

Identify the organization’s high-level business case for migration is a crucial step. This involves identifying the strategic objectives of the migration, including cost savings, increased agility, scalability, and improved performance.

Secure Funding for Migration

Assess if the business is securing funding for migration. Committing specific resources to the migration project ensures its success and avoids potential roadblocks due to budget constraints.

Develop a Detailed Migration Project Plan

A detailed migration project plan should be developed and discussed with all relevant stakeholders. This plan should outline the delivery model, approach, project management capabilities, timelines, and resources required for the migration.

Skills and Center of Excellence (CoE)

Appoint a Single-Threaded Leader

Selecting a single-threaded leader to oversee the assessment process is essential. This leader is responsible for coordinating the various aspects of the assessment, ensuring the team operates cohesively and stays on track.

Assess Team’s Cloud and Migration Experience

During the assessment, an evaluation of the customer team’s cloud and migration experience should be conducted. Ensuring the team possesses the necessary expertise and knowledge is crucial for delivering a high-quality assessment and create training plans.

Establish a Center of Excellence

A Center of Excellence dedicated to cloud migration should be established or planned for. The CoE serves as a hub of expertise, best practices, and knowledge sharing for the organization’s migration efforts. Having a CoE helps with the continuous improvement and drives the success of future migration projects.

Application Portfolio Discovery and Planning

Perform Application Discovery

Checking that application discovery is being planned for is a critical step in understanding the customer’s application landscape. Data should be gathered on existing applications, their dependencies, performance metrics, and potential challenges.

Obtain Workload Owner Buy-In

Gaining the buy-in and collaboration of workload owners is essential for a successful migration. Workload owner involvement ensures a more accurate assessment of the customer’s cloud migration readiness.

Operating Model, Security, and Compliance

Review the Current On-Premises Operating Model

Understanding the customer’s existing on-premises operating model is crucial for designing an effective cloud migration strategy. Amazon Web Services Partners should assess the current IT infrastructure, processes, and workflows to identify areas that require adjustments for cloud migration. Reviewing the operating model ensures the migration aligns with the customer’s business goals and IT strategy.

Define and Review Processes

Define and review critical processes such as virtual machine patching, backup strategy, asset management, configuration and change management, business continuity planning, disaster recovery strategy, service catalog implementation, cost management, and CI/CD pipelines. These processes lay the groundwork for a robust and efficient cloud environment.

Implement Security Measures

Security is paramount in any cloud migration. Amazon Web Services Partners should work with the customer to identify their security strategy and reference architecture. Additionally, third-party risk assessments, governance risk and compliance checks, and logging and monitoring implementation should be rated.

Conclusion

Migrating enterprise workloads to the cloud demands planning and a clear grasp of an organization’s readiness. Amazon Web Services Partners are essential guides on this journey, and a cloud readiness assessment is crucial for success.

To ensure effectiveness, a structured approach is vital to avoid gaps and missed opportunities. This post outlines a concise checklist for a top-tier assessment, covering process definition, stakeholder engagement, and the Amazon Web Services Cloud Adoption Framework. With collaboration, communication, and strategic planning at the core, Amazon Web Services consultants empower businesses to embrace the cloud confidently and achieve their digital transformation aspirations.

Furthermore, for Amazon Web Services Partners seeking a streamlined and proven approach, the option to utilize the Amazon Web Services Migration Readiness Assessment presents a valuable resource. With a history of assisting thousands of customers, the MRA offers a well-defined framework that covers critical aspects.

By leveraging the resources, artifacts, and the MRA platform available via Amazon Web Services Partner Central, consultants can efficiently conduct assessments. This presents a powerful tool to enhance the quality and efficiency of your cloud readiness assessments, enabling you to deliver unparalleled value to your customers on their journey to the cloud.