Last week, I introduced my concept of the 3 C’s of Cloud: Confine, Clover, and Cost and began outlining a simple strategy for maximizing your benefits during the process of adopting a cloud solution by confining the scope of your business problems. What comes next?
Let’s now talk about the second of my “C” concepts—Clover.
Before you can ‘roll in the clover’ of a successful cloud implementation you need to address one of the most common pitfalls to success: failing to build an appropriate business justification for migrating to cloud. If you enter the process with the attitude that “I’ll just experiment with this new Cloud thing and see what happens; maybe it will give me what I need,” you may not end up ‘in clover’ but in the weeds. So, what do you need to do?
Take the time to clearly define your business justification for migrating to a cloud solution by assessing these key elements:
- Cost Savings – would you consider “cost saving” as the key goal for this cloud initiative? Many a times, it is found that once you understand the broad impact of successful cloud project, with 360 analysis of business needs, integration needs, reporting needs, employee training, and impact to 3rd parties, cost saving may not remain the key goal. Instead, global customer reach, faster access to feature functionalities, accessibilities from any devices, and high availability and business continuity may be considered key benefits.
- Reduction in Infrastructure - as you evaluate your cloud project, the first myth is that you would be able to reduce your infrastructure. But you should consider that you need to still keep the logs, servers for identity managements, servers for transaction data, and customer data within your own environments and solution for real-time and historical reporting for regulatory and business purposes; hence you would still keep infrastructure. Overall, cloud may help in reduction of some of your compute and storage infrastructure while expanding your Network (Local Area Network – LAN and Wide Area Network – WAN) infrastructure for higher application performance.
- IT investment strategy – cloud projects can really help to guide IT investment strategy where focus turns to access to applications with new feature functionality, network, security, global accessibility and business continuity needs instead of compute and storage needs. Hence IT investment strategy becomes more focus on growth and competitive differentiation compare to cost center.
- Need for control and automation – Many enterprises find that their cloud usage increases exponentially due to ease of access. This leads to reduced oversight that is required for protecting the IP and governance for the regulatory compliance. In addition, without appropriate control to identify resource role that is authorized to purchase the cloud services, it is difficult to validate if it is done according to corporate policies. Moreover, need for faster access to services and centralized control for cloud service requests leads to automation and orchestration tools and role based service request portal solutions.
- HR investment – Many organizations start their cloud project with underlying assumptions that cloud would facilitate reduction in resources and to their surprise they find out that it is not true. Cloud enables you to repurpose some of the resources to different roles and responsibilities. For example, public SaaS applications allow you to repurpose system resources related to that application to focus on network and security. At times, it becomes necessary to keep the same resources for development lab setup and run pilot environments to validate integration needs, release management needs and enhancement projects. So as you understand the strategic purpose of cloud in the organization, you should very carefully evaluate HR policy and changes to IT skills.
- End-User Experience – To understand the impact to end-user experience in accessing cloud application, one should consider end to end communication to access application in the cloud. For employees, it is the network to the service provider, outside of corporate boundary, that may not be as consistent. If a cloud application is being accessed from devices outside of corporate environment then it may be very fast if accessed directly from the service provider but may become slower if network traffic is routed through enterprise network due to security, authentication and authorization needs. You should plan for appropriate cloud usage and user experience by testing.
Now that that you understand the importance of defining scope and success parameters (Confine & Clover, respectively) for you cloud strategy, you are ready for my next blog on Cost (Coming next week), which will show you how defining your scope and success can help to reduce hidden costs associated with Cloud.
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