Anatomy Of A Cloud Migration: Inside The Channel Company's IT Transformation


The last hurdle was moving to new telecom services; what appeared to be a simple switch of voice and Internet services turned out to be surprisingly complicated. 

"Here's why the telecom component is so complicated," Wiseltier said. "It's tied to your physical location and we had six different office locations with different leases, different telecom service contracts, and different network switches. And each office had its own unique needs."

For example, one office that came to The Channel Company through an acquisition was completely independent from UBM and had a different Internet connection than the other branches. Another office, meanwhile, was in the process of setting up a new business-class network connection. And it didn't make sense for The Channel Company to pay for new fiber lines to be installed in an office location that it may move out of within six months.

Scheduling alone proved to be a major obstacle for telecom carrier assessments; Brown said the migration team had a hard time coordinating efforts with building management of each individual office location.

Thankfully, GreenPages/Logics One had telecom service expertise to help The Channel Company assess its options, which are still being reviewed. "The phone systems conversion is still ongoing," Brown said. "We may end up with a VoIP solution as a temporary stopgap and then go with broadband lines. 

Another piece of the IT puzzle that The Channel Company looked at overhauling was its videoconferencing systems. Much like its old ERP software, the company's current solution is costly and complex; the migration team looked at new options but because of the short window for the cloud migration, that part of the project was postponed to a later date.

"Videoconferencing is something I wanted to change, but it wasn't imperative," Faletra said. "It's something that we'll look at in the future, but we couldn't do it in the amount of time we had."

Still, the list of accomplishments and milestones for the project is impressive, Faletra said. Six office locations were removed from a shared network infrastructure and put on a brand-new cloud platform, with more than 150 employees migrated to new platform as well as new cloud-based office and ERP applications. 

"The cost savings are tremendous. If you don't have all these infrastructure pieces, then you also don't have to pay for the space for server closets and the climate controls," Faletra said. "I believe the vast majority of companies will be cloud-based in some form or another within the next five years."

Hall agreed, saying cloud migrations show proven benefits and results. "If you're not looking at making this kind of transformation, then I think you're burning money," he said. "Nothing we did here with The Channel Company was particularly bleeding-edge or risky. These are all established solutions. They're proven, they're stable, and they've been around for a while."

And the entire process was performed in what seemed like record time with minimal issues or business interruptions. "I think we and the migration team did a pretty good job in terms of being transparent, communicating what was happening, and keeping disruptions to a minimum," Wiseltier said. 

For Dupler, The Channel Company's project was a milestone of its own for the solution provider. "Everyone knew this project was a high-visibility one," Dupler said. "But we take pride in our work and we wanted to make sure we executed and do right by The Channel Company as we do with all of our clients. And we were honored to be a part of this transformation."

The Channel Company established a long-term relationship with GreenPages/Logics One, not only as its cloud host and managed service provider, but as a trusted technology adviser that it will rely on to stay on top of the latest technologies and IT services. In addition to new phone systems and videoconferencing options, The Channel Company plans to explore more cloud solutions to increase flexibility and lower costs. So while the migration to the cloud is complete, the company's cloud evolution will be an ongoing process. 

"It's not over," Hall said. "There's much more to come."


See the latest cloud technologies, learn best practices, and interact with your peers at the channel’s first all-inclusive cloud event: NexGen Cloud Conference & Expo, December 4-5, 2014 at the San Diego Convention Center. Register now at  www.NexGenCloudCon.com