At communikate et al our work revolves around what we produce in digital files – clever words, complex strategies, beautiful design. Our team is spread across the country, we travel, and we often work from home or anywhere else we choose. So file access that’s easy, collaborative and reliable regardless of our location is vital.

It’s why moving our files “to the cloud” became a priority business project for us.

Like most large IT projects, this one took us down a few rabbit holes.

We don’t profess to be cloud experts (thank goodness for our savvy IT partners who guided us through) but as IT amateurs who navigated some of the big wide cloud, we wanted to share some of the basics we learnt, for anyone looking to do the same…

Define your requirements at the beginning

Narrow down your options early in the project by considering:

  • What are your must-have features?
  • What are the nice-to-haves?
  • What’s unnecessary for your business?

Trial your options in the real world

Demo videos and feature-limited trials are useful, but there’s nothing like using a product in real-time. If possible, involve a selection of team members who will eventually be the end users.

Our trial involved staff from our consulting, design and operations teams working on active files, and their feedback was invaluable.

The benefits included:

  • Highlighting what worked well and what didn’t
  • Allowing us to address issues prior to the full migration
  • Team members in the trial were part of the whole journey
  • Those team members became advocates for change and supported the transition of the rest of our team

Give yourself the time and space to plan and prepare thoroughly

Cloud platforms have a variety of features and give you freedom for set-up and structure. Think carefully about how to set it up for your business.

See the opportunity to change not just the environment you work in, but how you work. Take the time to rethink:

  • Folder structures
  • File protocols
  • Document flows
  • Unnecessary files you can clean out (this will also save you migration time with less files to transfer)

Carefully prepare your team for any downtime or workarounds during migration, and organise extensive training so they feel supported, engaged and can quickly maximise the benefits and efficiencies you’ve been working so hard to achieve.

Review your internet capability

No matter how feature-packed your chosen platform is or how much planning you do, your cloud experience will only be as good as your internet performance.

Depending on how you’re currently working, your business will probably experience a significant increase in data and bandwidth consumption when you move to the cloud.

Our trial revealed that our current internet would not be sufficient (especially for our large design files) so we upgraded to fibre. Which leads to our next point…

Be flexible and patient

As per any major project, be prepared for unexpected curve-balls. For us these included:

  • More preparation than anticipated
  • Learning fibre installation has a 2-3 month lead time
  • Our initial timeline becoming unrealistic

In light of this we re-prioritised our projects and migrated our emails and calendar before our files – a smaller job that could be done successfully using the internet connection we had.

It was important for us to have the patience and flexibility to deal with surprises and know there was a bigger reward at the end.

Work closely with your chosen IT partner

Engage experts who know your business and know the platform you’re moving to. Treat them as an extension of your team to help you with:

  • Selection
  • Planning
  • File preparation
  • Migration
  • Training
  • Ongoing support