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How to Assemble Your Cloud Migration Dream Team

By Ryan Kroonenburg  |  October 22, 2018  |   Corporate Enterprise   |  

Are you one of the 81 percent of business leaders embracing the cloud because you don’t want to miss out on the benefits cloud advancement offers your organization? You’re smart. Research firm Gartner predicts that by 2020 a corporate ‘no-cloud’ policy’ will be rare as a ‘no-internet’ policy is today.

While you may be feeling the pressure to fully transition to the cloud ASAP, you don’t want to repeat other’s mistakes by winging your cloud migration. A successful cloud transition starts with hand picking a team, who have the knowledge, skills, resources and commitment to achieve cloud transformation, and putting them in the right roles.

To create your Cloud Migration Dream Team, you’ll need the following roles:

  1. Executive Sponsor: Buy in from the upper levels of management is essential to successfully achieve cloud transformation. The Executive Sponsor’s name should be attached to your cloud migration project. They are responsible for the success or failure of the overall project, the cloud migration strategy, and the cloud fluency of the IT organization. If you’re a decision maker for your organization and have the skills and time to take on this role, this could be you. 

    Who is your Executive Sponsor?

    • An IT and/or business leader within your organization who has at least a baseline knowledge of cloud computing and its benefits. Your CTO or CIO is a good place to start.
    • A visionary who can lead a cultural shift within the IT organization.
    • A highly-respected and accessible executive who will attend meetings, answer phone calls and champion your cause to the rest of the organization.
    • A strategist who can identify success metrics, choose a migration team, identify where skills gaps exist, and assess training and hiring needs.

    AWS Professional Services consultants Anya Epishcheva and Cathy Hubbard summed up the importance of having an Executive Sponsor at their presentation at the 2018 AWS Summit Executive Sponsorship propels your migration forward  — so you can get more value in less time.

    Executive Support

  2. Field General: This is a director-level IT professional who is tasked with project management and executing the migration strategy. He or she should also be included on staffing decisions, forming the right partnerships, selecting vendors, and developing a communication plan.

    Who is your Field General?

    • An IT professional who also has business and financial skills and a solid understanding of how technology fits into the larger company strategy.
    • An experienced project manager who and can provide key performance indicators (KPIs) for areas such as cost avoidance, operational resilience, and workforce productivity.
    • A leader who can motivate the migration team, build camaraderie, and implement strategies to avoid fatigue during the process.  
    • A cloud expert who can design the right processes and ensure operations run smoothly. This includes adopting the right tools, provisioning, billing, and developing and documenting internal cloud computing best practices.
    • A problem solver who can overcome challenges, address hurdles and keep the project on track and on budget.

  3. Solutions Architect: This is a cloud engineer responsible for designing and managing the cloud computing architecture in your organization, including front-end platforms, servers, storage, content delivery, and networks.

    Who is your Solutions Architect?

    • An IT professional with expertise in cloud computing and experience with cloud migration.
    • An engineer who has earned certifications for architecting or developing solutions with your CSP.
    • A team player who will work closely with the System Administrator and the Security and Compliance contributors.  
    • An innovator who embraces experimentation, testing and failure as part of the process, but follows best practices for design of infrastructure.

  4. System Administrator: With Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) the role of a System Administrator changes dramatically since you no longer need to need to manage hardware. A Cloud System Administrator is responsible for managing and customizing cloud resources to meet your organization’s requirements.

    Who is your System Administrator?

    • An IT professional with a strong knowledge of virtual machines and cloud networking — as well as development and deployment on IaaS and PaaS.
    • A cloud practitioner who understands cloud fundamentals, has a comprehensive understanding of your CSP, and recognizes the pitfalls of mismanaging cloud resources (see: Top 10 Mistakes Companies Make Managing AWS Resources).
    • An individual proficient in shell scripting and high-level programming languages like Perl, Python, and Ruby.  

  5. Cloud Security Manager: The Cloud Security Manager is responsible for deploying, configuring, and maintaining security baselines within your cloud computing environment. This individual should also set up and manage access to cloud computing resources using accounts, users and groups.

    Who is your Cloud Security Manager?

    • A cloud practitioner who understands the division of responsibility for designing and maintaining a secure cloud computing environment.
    • An IT team member who is knowledgeable about potential vulnerabilities of virtual machines and container deployment systems.
    • An individual who is certified in cloud security management.
    • A good communicator who can explain how cloud security works, why it’s important and the safety protocol to your engineering team.  

  6. Compliance Specialist: This role works closely with the Cloud Security Manager and is responsible for ensuring your organization complies with privacy and GDPR requirements for your industry. Your Compliance Specialist should maintain all necessary compliance certifications, using compliance tools and enablers offered by your CSP.

    Who is your Compliance Specialist?

    • A privacy expert who can help internal teams develop privacy-respecting policies and processes.
    • An IT professional who can work with the Legal and Security teams to ensure your organization’s privacy programs meet and maintain compliance standards.
    • An individual who is certified in cloud security management.
    • A cloud practitioner who can evaluate new products, features and processes to ensure they meet compliance guidelines.  


If you’re reading this and thinking that your current staff is lacking some of the cloud computing skills they need to complete a successful migration, you’re not alone. Cloud computing is the most sought after skill for companies in 2018; and 53% of IT leaders claim they struggle to find the necessary skills to support cloud initiatives within their organization.

However, your current staff can acquire the skills and hands-on experience they need to complete a successful cloud migration. You would probably be surprised at the number of engineers on your staff already pursuing cloud training. Check out The Formula for Cloud Computing Training infographic for a roadmap on how to get your IT organization cloud ready. Cloud Migration can be smooth, safe, cost effective and rapid if you have the right team, with the right skills to get it done right.

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