The Cloud (Part 3): 'Planning Pays'

The Cloud (Part 3): 'Planning Pays'

The Cloud (Part 2) in this series argued that a planned strategic approach is required as organisations move to a higher level of cloud adoption.

Effective use of the cloud can deliver a broad range of business and IT related benefits – lower costs, business transformation, greater efficiency, new working practices, performance, flexibility, security and so on. The key word here is ‘effective’ use.

Not every cloud implementation delivers intended benefits. Problems often arise due to the absence of clearly defined business objectives, poor planning and implementation.

Moving to the cloud is disruptive. It not only transforms your IT infrastructure but is the foundation for digitally transforming your organisation. This requires a clear vision and strategy supported by an agreed action plan for ‘getting there’.

In Part 3, we list the key issues to address when developing and implementing an agreed cloud strategy and action plan for your organisation.

Ten Key Steps

Cloud ‘planning pays’. Those organisations who plan their migration to the cloud well tend to outperform those who don’t.

A planned, strategic approach to the cloud will ensure that the key actions and initiatives you take are fully aligned with and supportive of overall business goals and objectives; that KPIs and targets are agreed for monitoring and evaluating cloud performance, business impact and ROI; and that all key success factors are considered, especially the organisation, people and resource aspects critical to success.

Planning can also help to prioritise competing IT projects and is a pre-requisite for communicating cloud goals, objectives, key actions and initiatives to colleagues, partners and other stakeholders.

To avoid ‘paralysis by analysis’, agile approaches to planning, implementation and management should be applied.

Working on a wide variety of cloud migration projects, with clients across a range of sectors and of different sizes, we have developed a cloud planning approach built around ten key steps:

  • What is the overall cloud vision for your organisation?
  • Agree and document the specific objectives to be achieved. This should include ultimate business objectives and the cloud ‘drivers’ that help to deliver these objectives.
  • Capture objectives in agreed KPIs and targets. You cannot manage what you don’t measure.
  • Evaluate the range of options available to achieve objectives. For example, re-architect existing applications for PaaS and SaaS or lift and shift to IaaS. Target new applications to run in PaaS and SaaS.
  • Establish the business case for your chosen solution. This should include cost analysis, service level and business impact.
  • Identify the main barriers and obstacles to ‘getting there’? How can these be overcome?
  • What are the key considerations you need to take into account when migrating to the cloud e.g. business, applications, data, security, technology?
  • Agree the best way to manage your journey to the cloud – experimentation, migration, transformation.
  • Resource up for successful implementation – organisation, people, the cloud team, roles and responsibilities, enterprise architecture, security, risk, data.
  • Measure cloud performance and business impact.

Many of the issues listed above will be examined in more detail in subsequent articles in this series.

As always, comment and feedback are very welcome.

What stage is your organisation at on your journey to the cloud?