The 4 Steps to Success for Your Cloud Strategy
Businesses who successfully use the cloud share one unique similarity -- they have a complete cloud strategy based on business goals and objectives.
The following steps will help your business become cloud-smart while forming a solid base for your cloud strategy.
Step 1 - Mind Shift
The initial step to help drive success in a cloud strategy is to alter the way you think about cloud technologies. Here are three tips for facilitating the mind shift.
- Cloud must be a strategy, not a provider or a specific place. With a strategic approach, you begin to see cloud as more than email and virtual machines. You begin to leverage cloud as a strategy to help you deliver high value in your business, develop new avenues of business faster and more effectively, and create growth opportunities to generate greater success.
- Leverage cloud to drive your competitive advantages. Cloud adoption can and should be prioritized based on those areas that will increase productivity and establish a competitive advantage. Cloud strategy done right will propel your business to grow faster than the market would otherwise accommodate.
- Cloud requires a different vision of your IT teams. Your core IT teams have been forced to be focused on bits and bytes and keeping systems functioning. Your cloud approach must invest more in strategy and less on putting fires out. Members of your IT team must become experts who align the business trajectory with the cloud's technical capabilities. Set the IT team free to focus on increasing productivity and driving success via technology.
Step 2 - Governance
The second step is to define how the organization will govern the cloud. Your business needs to ask:
- Do we have the right tools and skills to monitor, manage, and support the cloud?
- What are the required parameters for the governance and compliance framework which will set and manage cloud standards and policies?
- Once defined, do we have enough people to implement and execute the governance process?
Without governance, strategy does not exist, and the cloud will be overrun and ultimately fail.
Step 3 - Objectives
The next step is to develop and implement a consistent approach. This approach maps and ranks business objectives as a plan for how, when, and what to integrate and move to the cloud. You must consistently repeat this approach to maintain focus on the changes to the business and the accomplishments of previous efforts. Your resultant observations become the business alignment efforts that are typically built into a steering committee that consistently meets and works together.
Step 4 - Target State
The final step is to define the target cloud state, which requires answers to the following questions:
- Which services will you move to the cloud, and which will you outsource from a more traditional IT infrastructure standpoint?
- Does the business have a mandate for keeping certain services or activities internal?
- Is there a preference in the level of control your organization has over the service —IaaS PaaS, or SaaS?
- What changes will you make to your current policies to accommodate your target state?
- How will you measure the success of your target state?
In summary, if a business wants to become cloud-smart, they must consider what that means for all stakeholders, and what needs to be in place to succeed. A cloud strategy that includes governance is an absolute must to provide the guard rails and avoid the sticker shock when the cloud bills start to land on the CFO's desk.
IT leaders need to be clear on what, when, and how to assist in achieving the maximum value while reducing risk. Finally, IT must pivot from on-premises service management to multi-cloud operations, and that has proven difficult for many.
With a concise, shared strategy, and a plan to fortify it, IT can ensure business units fully realize the benefits that the cloud has to offer.