posted on Wednesday, June 12, 2019

(3 Min Read)

Every industrial era in history was marked with major technological trends that impacted work and business in a big way. Whether it was mechanization, leaps in transport and communication, or digital adoption – history is filled with two kind of adopters. Those who lead the pace of change — deemed the innovators — and those who follow a widespread trend once it becomes strategically important.

The one thing that differentiators the innovators from the followers, is the ability to think ahead and strategize before making a change. Moving your business to the cloud is no different. Organizations that lack a clear strategy focused on identifying the why, how, and what next while contemplating a move to the cloud don’t just risk wasted investment, they jeopardize their chances of success.

Here are five questions organizations need to ask themselves while developing a cloud strategy so that they can make the most of the move to a digital-first environment.

What does my business want to achieve and how can adopting a cloud infrastructure help us get there?
There is no disagreement about the advantages of moving to the cloud. Be it digital transformation or enhancing IT agility, there are a number of factors that are driving cloud adoption across organizations and sectors. However, one of the primary requirements for successful implementation is establishing a clear link between your core business objectives and how moving to a cloud-based infrastructure will help achieve those goals. Aligning your performance, security, and growth goals with how the cloud enhances them is an ideal first step while designing a cloud strategy that is built for success.

How do I devise a budget that maximises the value versus cost involved while moving to a cloud-based infrastructure?
In order to understand how the cloud adds value to your business you need to have a mechanism that measures costs involved against the benefits realised. This could mean different things to different businesses. To an organization looking to improve customer satisfaction with higher reliability and stability, this could translate to improved customer retention over a period of time. Similarly, for an organization that turns to cloud to reduce outages or maintenance expenses this would mean lesser downtime. The right cloud strategy will include a clear ROI dashboard that can be easily referred to while doing a cost-benefit analysis.

Which business processes will benefit from the move and which should we hold back?
Security and privacy are the primary concerns that keep organizations from moving to the cloud. But does this mean that organizations are not adopting the cloud or transforming their businesses with a modern infrastructure? Far from it. The ideal way to accomplish long lasting benefits from cloud lies in demarcating which aspects or functions are ready for the cloud and which are not. This covers both existing applications or workloads as well as future in-house developed applications. Your cloud strategy should include a blueprint of all applications evaluated for cloud suitability along with a migration plan that covers how and when to migrate each application.

What are the governance and compliance measures that need to be undertaken in order to ensure highest impact and limit risk?
Managing risk is of utmost importance while managing traditional IT systems and cloud-based solutions are not any different. In fact, it is more important in the case of cloud-based infrastructure since in most cases cloud services are outsourced and lack of sufficient controls can be detrimental to the organization. An effective governance system considers all roles – internal and external – and establishes strict protocol for either of them. This gives organizations the flexibility to make decisions faster but without compromising on security and privacy.

How will I evaluate and measure success on an ongoing basis?
The overall business value dictates cloud adoption to a large extent. As time goes by, more and more business functions are realizing how they can leverage the cloud in a manner that justifies the move. However, a practical approach towards cloud adoption involves taking a look at the technical feasibility of moving to the cloud. Establishing a clear linkage between what dictates success – lower cost, better collaboration, high-volume, enhanced speed and efficiency, against what one stands to lose – level of control, exposure to risk, ease of migration – across existing applications and newer ones that will be added in the future is important to devise a cloud strategy that is geared towards success and innovation.
Just as the first step towards building a strong and beautiful structure starts with a well-thought blueprint, the start of a successful cloud migration begins with a clear vision.

Identifying the ideal technology partner who can help your move to the cloud is a lot easier once you nail these core questions. A cloud-based infrastructure can enhance various business functions but the journey to getting there begins with taking the right first step — a stellar cloud strategy that has your business at the heart of it.