Cloud Migration: A blueprint

This article was originally published on the Wordbee website. Wordbee are the makers of the popular translation management system and CAT tool.

Nowadays, cloud migration is at the top of every CEO’s agenda. And if it isn’t, it should be: The growth and the diversification of your business require a digital transformation that is not limited to the simple use of state-of-the-art technologies, such as neural machine translation (NMT). This necessary digital transformation should also be built around solutions for the highest productivity, the best operational efficiency, cost reduction, and greater flexibility.

We have already covered the main benefits of moving all or part of the workload to the cloud. In this article, we want to help you create a short checklist of attention points and things to do for moving from a server to a cloud-based translation management platform. 

Cloud migration as a chance for improvement 

There are two ways to implement a SaaS platform: shallow integration and deep integration.  

In the case of a shallow integration, you opt to implement only the necessary changes to your current operations, i.e. the bare minimum to make sure your staff can start working in the cloud within a short time. Later on, of course, you’ll be able to scale as needed.

In the second case – deep integration – you decide to take the opportunity of moving your translation business to the cloud to make all the changes aimed at optimizing your operations and maximize the effects of the migration. This way, you’ll be able to quickly reap all the benefits offered by the cloud environment of your choice.

Whether you choose a shallow or deep integration, you’ll need to make a thorough analysis of your business requirements and map every single step of your translation process, from the customer’s enquiry to the translation project completion. 

It’s important to avoid transferring the hiccups of the on-premise infrastructure to the cloud. The migration should be an opportunity for your IT team to solve any infrastructure problems with minimal effort.  

Cloud security as a priority

All the processes and procedures should include a security approach to your network, data, applications, and services. We recommend you define the various levels of access of each and every one of your employees and freelancers.

  • Which applications/functionalities should an account or a sales manager be able to access?
  • Which features are essential for a project manager?
  • Which project and other translation data can a freelance translator view?
  • For LSPs: What access level to the platform will you provide to your customers?

Your staff as a key element of change 

Because a cloud migration requires a review of daily processes and activities, the involvement of managers and employees (who in various ways are affected by the migration) is essential. 

  • Create a change-management team. After all, your in-house staff knows the translation workflows for every content typology or client; therefore, they can contribute by reporting any hiccups in the processes. Later on, the change-management team can assess and test every step of the migration protocol as well as define workflows and eliminate repetitive tasks.
  • Prepare a phased training schedule, not just for your staff, but also for your vendors. Offering your vendors a short training on the main features of the cloud platform will quickly improve their productivity in the new platform. In addition, if you provide your preferred vendors access with a certified training session, it will be seen as a sign of appreciation and it will contribute to reinforce collaboration.

And don’t forget to set aside some time for your customer to gather an idea of what they will find after logging into the platform to send you their job requests. Show off your new cloud technology!  

Data migration as a building block 

There is, of course, a wealth of data that will have to be migrated to your SaaS platform. We’re not talking only about language data (i.e. translation memories and termbases), but also all the data in the customers database, the vendor database, the accounting database, … and let’s not forget translation project data and business analytics.

  • First, make an inventory of all the data repositories within your company.
  • All of your data should be verified and cleaned before migrating. And going forward, you’ll also need to define a maintenance and protection procedure to preserve its confidentiality, integrity, and availability, as well as its authenticity, accountability, and reliability. In one word: its quality.
  • When it comes to translation memories and termbases, their import will be easier if they are available in standard exchange formats like *.tmx, *.tbx, *.xls, *.cvs. We recommend, though, that you carefully set up the export tool in order to be able to preserve and save as much metadata as possible.
  • Finally, if you’ve never had translation memories, you want to consider aligning all the source and target texts before working in the cloud platform to use every single precious bit of language data and build an archive for subsequent storage.