Cloud migration checklist for your medical business
How to successfully migrate your digital business to the cloud: 4 main stages to follow
Cloud migration checklist for healthcare organizations
With the digitalization of healthcare already well underway, staying competitive for pharma companies is becoming more challenging. Moving to a reliable and scalable cloud technology platform can open the door to new avenues of growth, thereby putting your company ahead of the curve. The only question is how to do it effectively.
"It's well understood that using the cloud is necessary to stay competitive. The most weighing question is when and whether to move all workloads to the cloud?" said Forrester senior analyst Tracy Woo .
Moving to the cloud is becoming mainstream
A growing number of healthcare organizations have migrated to the cloud, intending to improve the quality of patient care while reducing operating costs and ensuring trouble-free scalability over the long term.
More than 95% of new systems will be deployed on cloud platforms by 2025, up from 30% in 2021, as per Gartner . Meanwhile, McKinsey mentions  that running a business in the cloud can bring healthcare-related organizations from $100 billion to $170 billion in 2030 because of more effective "innovation, digitization and execution of their strategic goals."
Why are medical companies moving to the cloud?
- Simplified access to shared data in remote work environments
- Cost-effective system management compared to a self-hosted approach
- Quick and disruption-free disaster recovery
- Extensive system scalability
- Simplified synchronization and upgrades
- Support for new service channels, such as telemedicine
- Use of analytics and artificial intelligence to aid in decision-making (diagnosis, treatment planning, patient monitoring, and finding needed medications)
- A more personalized approach to your targeted audience.
Your tried-and-tested cloud migration checklist
✔ Planning and strategizing
It all starts with planning. Like with any other significant change to the way your digital business is handled, a successful cloud migration requires prior consideration of the specific conditions and requirements of your health-related project.
Moving to the cloud is most beneficial when it meets the exact expectations of your business. If you plan ahead for the potential ups and downs, the migration can turn out to be hassle-free for you. For example, while working with the Polish Association for Cognitive and Behavioral Therapy (PTTPB case), we refactored existing code and migrated it to the cloud infrastructure only after we had thoroughly reviewed the organization's needs and challenges.
What points should be considered at this stage?
- Study your legacy system and identify its pitfalls, evaluate the cost of maintaining, and determine KPIs.
- Analyze whether shortcomings in your current system can be addressed by moving to the cloud.
- Identify the major and minor issues that migration is supposed to address.
- Outline an appropriate budget for the upcoming changes.
- Evaluate your reasons and specific goals for moving to the cloud (reduce costs, hand over the system control to the provider or obtain seamless scalability)
- Estimate the effectiveness of the migration in terms of ROI, etc.
By studying your present system and defining clear goals and expectations for your new one, it will be easier for you to find a cloud service provider that is in line with your requirements.
✔ Design or pre-migration stage
The choice of deployment model is determined by who and to what extent will manage your infrastructure. Depending on your specific storage requirements, your financial capabilities, and your future scaling goals, there are the following deployment models:
- Private cloud
- Community cloud
- Public cloud
- Hybrid cloud.
Also, you need to decide which service model you want to use for deploying your infrastructure: Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS). Each model provides a different level of security, management, and scalability.
When it comes to choosing a vendor, it's like picking a reliable partner: the right choice determines the further successful growth of your pharmaceutical brand. When selecting a provider for a cloud-backed medical solution, it is advisable to pay attention to the following points:
- Prices and payment methods (upfront payment, pay-as-you-go, or other options).
- Safety and system resistance issues.
- Compliance issues (HIPAA, GDPR, ISO).
- Basic and on-demand functions.
- Data management and migration support.
Some of the popular cloud solutions currently available on the market are Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform, Oracle, and IBM Cloud.
Before starting the migration step, it is crucial to develop a migration plan that includes step-by-step actions, timelines, key success indicators, as well as takes into account the way data and infrastructure are migrated. For example, it's worth migrating everything without changes (rehosting) or with changes before deploying to the cloud (refactoring).
Day "X" has come. The planning is over, and now the most responsible part is migration. Depending on the scale of your solution and the existing data scope, you can "switch the old system to the new one" with a single click or stage-by-stage (aka application-by-application). When migrating massive systems, it's better to take the following stage-by-stage route:
Infrastructure migration + backup of existing servers with data → Application migration (you may need to refactor some applications and test each of them) → Data migration (ELT stage).
Last but not least
The launch phase generates the next one — system maintenance. Your long-term success strongly depends on the quality of your new system management, affecting the operation and maintenance of a healthy cloud environment. As a medical company, it is advisable to pay special attention to security updates concerning confidential medical data. Furthermore, it is desirable not to ignore performance monitoring and regular testing of both the system load and the individual applications. You may consider hiring a special migration architect or IT staff to properly monitor the system and ensure that it is kept up-to-date.
During our seven years of working and providing innovative solutions for med-oriented companies, we had the chance to recognize how each business has its own specific recipe for success. Taking into account all the ups and downs is important to determine the next steps of migration to the cloud. From discovery to the support stage, our diverse team of specialists at Brandmed can help guide your digital business from legacy to new cloud infrastructure. However, we need to start by examining your goals and pain points. Shall we start?
- Business Insider/ Why companies are flocking to the cloud more than ever, https://www.businessinsider.com/cloud-technology-trend-software-enterprise-2021-2 [last accessed: 23.09.2022].
- Gather/Gartner Says Cloud Will Be the Centerpiece of New Digital Experiences, https://www.gartner.com/en/newsroom/press-releases/2021-11-10-gartner-says-cloud-will-be-the-centerpiece-of-new-digital-experiences, [last accessed: 23.09.2022].
- McKinsey/What payers and providers can learn from successful cloud transformations in other industries, https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/healthcare-systems-and-services/our-insights/what-payers-and-providers-can-learn-from-successful-cloud-transformations-in-other-industries, [last accessed: 23.09.2022].
- Deloitte/Unlocking enterprise innovation in the cloud, https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/pages/life-sciences-and-health-care/articles/cloud-health-care-migration-strategy.html, [last accessed: 23.09.2022].
- Amdocs/Cloud migration strategy, https://www.amdocs.com/sites/default/files/Cloud-Migration-Strategy-eBook-Jul20.pdf, [last accessed: 23.09.2022].