No two companies are exactly the same, and when it comes to cloud, no single solution fits all business models. Companies must have a strategy and plan for brokering cloud services, whether that’s on premises, public or private cloud. Your cloud strategy is primarily about defining your motivations and goals for adopting cloud.
Cloud computing is not just the future; it’s something you should invest in right now.
Why do you want to move to the cloud? Most enterprises and SMBs identify with at least two of the following as primary goals for adopting cloud:
- Improve IT efficiency, either staff or infrastructure.
- Accelerate the delivery of applications and gain a competitive advantage.
- Expand your business, either geographically or within new markets.
- Increase ROI without tapping into your budget on new infrastructure.
- Reduce security risks with control and continuity of critical applications.
- Adhere to the ever-changing compliance regulations for your industry.
Once you have identified your top goals for adopting a cloud strategy, you can focus on your security and compliance requirements. Avoid the common mistake of jumping into cloud before defining business outcomes.
Though hosted private and public clouds are attractive outsourcing targets, they are not the whole story. Cloud strategy needs to account for the people in your organization, the processes you must follow and technology you require to be successful. Your requirements will dictate whether a multi-cloud approach leveraging multiple clouds is best for your needs. Hybrid might be the right solution for many organizations; however, you must ensure it’s the right fit for you.
Neglecting cloud may result in missed opportunities to lower costs or improve service for your business. Identifying which infrastructure or services belong in the cloud can be challenging, whether or not a service is in the cloud already.
The best practice for cloud strategy includes four key phases:
1. Assess the current state of cloud readiness and priorities.
How cloud-like is your current IT regime? Is infrastructure already consolidated, standardized, virtualized, and automated? What are your corporate IT goals? What form of cloud service models and delivery models are your priority?
2. Evaluate cloud readiness of given workloads.
Where will your cloud strategy likely start? Identify the low-hanging fruit. What workloads are excellent candidates for external public or private cloud hosting? What are the applications and services which are not good candidates for cloud provisioning?
3. Mitigate risks and challenges of cloud.
Identify the risks and challenges of greater adoption of cloud services. What can you do to mitigate those obstacles (both actions you can take and the requirements of a services provider)?
4. Build and communicate your action plan.
By this point, you will have a set of priorities, workload and service candidates, actions and requirements. It is time to pull this together into an actionable roadmap with activities, critical dates, and success measures. Communicate this plan to the organization.
Pointivity in Action
Develop a position on cloud and a methodology for evaluating cloud opportunities and mitigating risks. Create an action plan centered on cloud strategy now; don’t get left behind.