The cloud has become the new normal with a lot of organizations and businesses considering or already adopting its environment. Without having a comprehensive or spelt-out strategy of this technology before onboarding could result to regrets or having to rush the development of a handy strategy at a higher cost, just like Morris Chang said, “Without strategy, execution is aimless and without execution, strategy is useless.”
Some business leaders will often delegate their IT-related decisions to their IT team who will only think in terms of technical specifications, bandwidth, software, and users, whereas the decision to adopt a cloud technology should primarily be a business strategy and not just an IT strategy.
Adopting a cloud strategy should not strictly be dedicated to IT manager alone but should involve business leaders – they will think in terms of market share, efficiency, staff productivity, and profits as well as all business units, security and technology teams.
What is Cloud Strategy?
A cloud strategy is a condensed viewpoint on the role of cloud computing in an organization. This can also be the process of coming up with a long-term cloud computing plan and putting it into action. A cloud strategy goes beyond answering the question of “how”, but also answer the questions of the “what” and the “why” of cloud adoption.
Companies need to have a good cloud strategy in place before considering business migration to the cloud. This will help answer a lot of questions and also determine the benefits companies are likely to get from the cloud as well as choosing the type of cloud computing adequate for their business needs.
What to Include When Choosing a Cloud Strategy
- Identify your business needs in relation to the Cloud: The first point should state why the organization is interested in the cloud initially. Identify your business goals to the potential benefits of cloud computing and explain how to overcome the potential challenges so as to know whether you really need the cloud.
- Understanding the different types of cloud Computing: at this section, you must understand all that there is concerning cloud computing, all the terms and terminologies. There are different types, methodologies and service models in cloud computing including public cloud, private cloud, hybrid cloud, SaaS, PaaS, IaaS etc which business can choose from. It is therefore very important to have a very clear understanding of everything to be able to identify the one that best suit your business needs. Read Cloud Computing and Its Two Sides to gain more insight on this.
- Choose the aspect of the cloud that best suit your business needs: after adequately grasping every aspect of cloud computing, it will be easier to choose the one that best suit your business needs and goals. Sometimes business does not really need to take all their business process online, they might just need a cloud aspect such as infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), platform-as-a-service (PaaS) and software-as-a-service (SaaS). Examine the applicability of all potential roles in cloud computing — consumer, provider and broker as well.
- Financial Implication: there are financial considerations to cloud computing. It’s imperative to understand pricing model trends to meet expectations. It is also very important to consider the benefit versus cost ratio because of the biggest myth about cloud that you always save money by moving to the cloud. To some business it might be more beneficial having an in house computing infrastructure than moving to the cloud.
- Security: In the cloud, data is entrusted to a third party that shares tenancy with other people’s data (including competitors), requiring stringent access security. It is very important to note where data is stored, who has access, availability and reliability of the storage facility as well as maintenance of data interdependencies connections. So it is advisable to either adhere to your existing security strategy or change it to accommodate the realities of cloud computing.
- HR Requirement: another important consideration in your cloud strategy is staffing requirements. Cloud computing alters staffing requirements, including HR as part of your cloud strategy will ensure that staffing is properly addressed.
- Exit Plan: having an exit plan from the cloud is of much importance as planning to move to the cloud, it is of utmost priority to include this from the beginning. Examine issues such as data ownership, backup, getting back your data, portability etc upfront, do not leave this analysis until you need to move workloads as it may be too late.
Importance of Cloud Strategy
Cloud strategy will not only guides you through your migration process, but will also provide a roadmap for future decisions. Having a firm cloud strategy in place makes it easier for companies to react to changing circumstances consistently and efficiently.
Failure to have a cloud strategy can leave a company with little guidance for cloud service adoption leading to silos of technology, non-standard solution implementations, non-optimized costs, and greater exposure to risk from poorly configured environments.