Migrating to the cloud is a complex process, and the stress of it increases with the size of a migration. At the 2016 AWS re:Invent conference on Tuesday, Mario Thomas of Amazon Web Services (AWS) professional services explained some of the key considerations that organizations should make as they consider a large-scale migration to AWS.

In his talk, Thomas detailed an executive toolkit of steps that can be taken to ease some of the stress created by a migration. Here are five steps to follow in order to make your large-scale cloud migration more successful.

1. Define ‘large-scale’ migration

For starters, Thomas said, organizations must define what they mean by a large-scale migration. On the AWS side of things, Thomas said that large-scale migrations typically involve moving hundreds of servers and/or application workloads to AWS. Often, he said, businesses they speak with are moving even more than 500 servers to the cloud.

How does that compare to your migration plan? What percentage of your servers or workloads are you planning on moving?

SEE: Cloud computing policy template (Tech Pro Research)

2. Understand why you are migrating

There are many reasons why your organization could be moving to the cloud, and you need to clarify those reasons so you can more efficiently define your goals. For example, a change in leadership or ownership of the company could change how your company looks at the cloud, Thomas said.

Other reasons could be the introduction of a new compliance regime, or the inability to stay ahead of security with your in-house capabilities, Thomas said. Maybe your company is experiencing service issues you can’t handle, or your customer base is growing in geographic diversity and you want to better serve them.

The cloud also has the potential to free up some IT resources for more agility and innovation. Other considerations would be the potential of the cloud to save money or improve resilience for your company, Thomas said. Enterprises should seek to answer these questions and write out your top reasons for migrating, which can be used as a starting point for creating your cloud migration strategy.

3. Consider your needs before migrating

Businesses looking to move to the cloud must also consider their organization’s particular needs and how the cloud will impact their organization overall. For starters, Thomas said, do you know exactly what workloads you need to move, and when that migration needs to happen?

Another consideration is whether or not IT has buy-in from the business. On the IT side, you also need to know how many cloud-ready people you have in your organization, Thomas said. IT leaders must also have a security plan or posture in place, and must understand whether or not they have the resources needed for a large migration.

Finally, you must consider the needs of your people. Migrating to the cloud will affect both your employees and your customers, Thomas said, and the scale of that impact is important to flesh out.

4. Determine how ‘migration-ready’ your organization is

Another critical determination is just how migration-ready your organization really is. Thomas said that organizations should know what workloads they have, which workloads they need to move, and in what order they need to migrate them.

Being migration-ready also requires IT to know the details of the migration such as how much a a migration will cost and how long it will take. And, as mentioned earlier, you must know the impact that a cloud migration will have on the people in the organization and on partners.

Businesses should ask themselves if their your organization will save money by migrating, and whether or not there are any other business benefits on the table.

5. Ask if your organization is mature enough

One of the final considerations to make, Thomas said, is to figure out if the organization is mature enough to handle the migration. Thomas said that AWS uses a Cloud Adoption Framework (CAF) to perform a maturity assessment for potential customers.

Focus on collecting key data points like people costs, third party costs, infrastructure costs, application costs, migration costs, and the existence of any potential intangibles. Other questions to ask would be if OLAs and SLAs would change with a migration. Organizations should seriously consider how mature they are before committing to a large-scale migration.