When the pandemic hit, many companies went into basic survival mode.
This fueled a rush to the cloud to respond to the needs of remote workers, changes in business patterns and enable financial efficiencies needed to survive. Most of the focus at that time was on business continuity. But to compete and respond to customer needs in the new normal, you need to innovate. The cloud can help you make that happen.
Here are five things to consider as you shape your cloud strategy going forward to ensure that you continue to innovate and avoid cloud strategy stall.
1. How Much Business Disruption Are You Willing To Incur?
Consider how much business disruption you can withstand as you move along your cloud journey. Be aware that your tolerance for disruption may be different from someone else’s.
Many sectors require 24×7 operations. Mission-critical workloads can be hard to move. Huge systems have been built up over the years and may interconnect many departments. If you break them down, you have to think about everything that will be affected and the integration required to build something new.
As a Unisys senior leader recently wrote, there’s a lot of talk about disruption. But rather than focusing on disruption, businesses should emphasize forward momentum to enable incremental, impactful change.
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Success isn’t just about speed; it’s about moving at a pace that allows for controlled agility.
2. Have You Aligned Your Cloud Strategy With Long-Term Business Plans and Built-In Security And Compliance?
In making decisions about whether to shut down data centers or take a hybrid approach, consider compliance requirements, data needs, security issues and ultimate goals.
Our company has helped several organizations with cloud migrations and did a large-scale cloud migration of its own. These initiatives often include broader application rationalization, consolidation and modernization, SaaS adoption for common functions like sales and workforce management, and addressing compliance requirements. As a result of such initiatives, total cost of ownership is down, and CISOs aren’t in fire-fighting mode due to security and compliance.
Embed security into your cloud strategy rather than addressing it as an afterthought. Cloud misconfiguration remains the top cause of data breaches in the cloud. Organizations that fail to factor security compliance into their strategies upfront may end up paying dearly later when they run afoul of compliance requirements and incur steep fines. Also, make sure that you understand the cloud’s shared responsibility model and do your part.
3. Are You Automatically Reaching For The Low-Hanging Fruit?
Some of the applications you may think are the easiest to move to the cloud actually aren’t the applications you should focus on first. The low-hanging fruit rule doesn’t work here.
Instead, think about what cloud applications will deliver the greatest business impact. Consider starting with those rather than with the applications that you think are easiest to address.
What business outcome are you trying to achieve? Is it about innovative new services? Cost savings? Agility? Quicker releases? Scalability? Once you answer these questions, it will become clear where to focus resources and to pick the appropriate 6R strategy for your applications.
4. Have You Identified The Resources And Structure You Need To Be Successful?
Assess what talent and technology you need to be successful. Develop and recruit multifaceted talent. Evaluate and embrace new operational models to be successful with your cloud transformation.
A cloud center of excellence (CCOE) can serve as a catalyst to consolidate thought leadership, strategy and multi-year plans for your cloud transformation journey. Gartner says a CCOE is key to “bring ad hoc adoption under a more formal governance framework and drive the maturation of the organization’s cloud computing journey.”
5. Have You Selected The Right Cloud Transformation Partner?
In selecting a partner to help you navigate your cloud journey, choose one that can help you build value using the cloud service provider(s) and technologies of your choice. That way, you will avoid being locked into specific cloud service providers or software suppliers.
Seek out a partner who has relationships with multiple service providers and other vendors. That way, you can opt to employ a multi-cloud strategy. Multi-cloud lets you pick the best-of-breed service providers based on your specific applications and business requirements. Enterprises that use cloud services across multiple geographies often struggle to find just one public cloud infrastructure provider, according to Gartner, which recently did a survey revealing that 81% of public cloud users are working with two or more cloud providers.
Find a partner that can deliver an end-to-end offering. That way, your partner will have greater accountability across the cloud journey from initial strategy and implementation to ongoing operations and optimization and evolution. Ensure the partner provides agile cloud squads for migrations, modernization and operations, combined with modular contracts that enable you to prioritize based on your business needs. With several of our clients, especially as the pandemic struck, this was important as priorities changed dramatically, and agile squads were able to shift focus and adapt to changing business patterns. A cloud squad approach allowed us to quickly deploy cloud VDI to enable remote workers and AI-enabled cloud-based chatbots to handle millions of citizen queries around employment and health benefits for a state agency.
Now is the time to establish or evolve your existing cloud — it’s imperative you avoid cloud strategy stall. Gartner states that pandemic served as a multiplier for CIO interest in the cloud, and cloud will serve as the glue for adoption of emerging technologies such as containerization, artificial intelligence, the internet of things, edge computing and more. Multiple facets of everyday life have been changed forever due to the pandemic. Getting your cloud strategy right is key to delivering better experiences and driving business outcomes for customers.