Three steps to plan your journey to the cloud

March 5, 2018 Steve Crusenberry

Public cloud capabilities have dramatically expanded in recent years.

What was once a source of less expensive infrastructure has erupted into rich platforms for everything from on-demand computing and massive scale data engines to deep learning frameworks. Coupled with advances in security and compliance, the case for healthcare organizations to migrate out of their private data centers has become not only more attractive, but in many cases a business imperative to support the next generation of technology for precision medicine and population health.

As healthcare organizations plan their journey to the cloud, it is essential to remember that it is a multi-faceted, iterative process that takes time, planning and new operational models. The cloud fundamentally disrupts the way technology is deployed, delivered and consumed. New levels of infrastructure agility and scale provide multiple options for continuous delivery, rapid experimentation and enhanced lifecycle management. Applications that used to take months to deploy can now take just minutes. The cloud makes it much easier to interoperate with the digital healthcare ecosystem, including care partners and consumers. 

Throughout my career, I have worked with some of the top companies in the nation, showing them the benefits of cloud computing models. Speaking at the Cloud Computing Forum sponsored by AWS, while at HIMSS in Las Vegas this week, I’m bringing those experiences to the healthcare space as it moves into an all-digital and interoperable future.  

As organizations move to the cloud, it’s important that they take time to evaluate their technology operations in light of the capabilities offered by the cloud. From my perspective there are three key areas to consider when migrating to the cloud:

  1. Evaluate your success criteria: What do you want to accomplish related to cost savings, technology agility, and enhanced organization capabilities? Do you understand the financial impacts – both during and post migration?  Can you measure the total value of your migration in terms of key drivers to your business?  Understanding what success looks like is critical to ensure you’re on-track throughout the journey.
  1. Understand your capability: Do you have the necessary experience on staff? What’s the status of your existing technology contracts? What systems or applications can be moved quickly to the cloud? What resources can you devote to the journey? I often recommend looking at secondary, tertiary or even end-of-life systems to start your migration. You can often gain efficiencies early in the migration by removing non-core systems from your data center environments. 
  1. Identify timing and approach: When should you start new initiatives in the cloud? How do you get executive buy-in for the duration of the project? Do you start with a one-cloud or multi-cloud approach? Maintaining executive and organizational buy-in usually requires meeting interim milestones that show real value. I recommend simplifying your migration approach.  Selecting a single cloud provider, ignoring hybrid cloud systems and employing “DR-and-stay” migration methods are all ways to achieve significant business value early in your journey.

Chairing the AWS cloud computing session today, Dr John Halamka, Chief Information Officer of the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and director on the board for Orion Health set the stage, sharing Beth Israel’s ongoing journey to the cloud and the challenges of migrating out of traditional data centers.

Orion Health’s recent launch of Rhapsody as a Service, offers rapid and scalable interoperability in a cloud environment. It eliminates or reduces expensive hardware and maintenance of on premises systems, saving costs and time. It also enables fast deployments, and services in the cloud can recover from failures automatically therefore minimizing downtime. Rhapsody as a Service joins our Amadeus SaaS Platform, Analytics and Population Health Management systems in the cloud.

To learn more about migrating to the cloud, click here to read our White Paper.

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