I’ve been discussing cloud adoption a lot lately. I recently participated in a panel discussion, where we explored cloud capabilities and the technical hurdles of operating a hybrid infrastructure. A consistent theme has emerged from these numerous experiences, and what I keep hearing, again and again is that IT leadership is no longer wondering if they should adopt the cloud, rather they are more preoccupied with how to do it. In my opinion, these decision-makers are overlooking the most important question when considering cloud adoption – ‘What are you trying to achieve?’
Usually, these leaders are familiar with the business case for cloud delivery, because they have read about or even witnessed the successes of other businesses. However, they don’t start from the beginning to understand what a unique cloud solution should look like for their company. Many organizations have set sail on a cloud journey with no knowledge of their eventual destination.
The value proposition offered by the cloud is often so apparent that it does not seem to require more examination, and companies are asking themselves in the planning phase – ‘How are we going to adopt cloud?’ prematurely. Unmoored from a strategic approach to adoption, many are finding themselves increasing the complexity of their infrastructure without an understanding of how to leverage new capabilities or in some cases, not knowing which capabilities are the most important for their business.
I am advocating a fresh approach. Instead of trying to figure out how to make the cloud fit in your organization, take a step back and start the cloud journey grounded in a set of core principles that will guide you to the destination.
The first question to ask is where would you like your organization to be in the near future using a two to five-year time horizon. The answers you develop should be of a strategic nature, such as the examples provided below.
Where would you like to be in the near future?
- I want better control over the ratio of capital expenses to operating expenses
- I want a shorter time to market from project inception to delivery (Velocity)
- I want tighter security
- I want to change the ratio of IT infrastructure support to Business Development support
- I want a world class disaster recovery
- I want my infrastructure to be compliant with government regulations
- I want better control over the applications running on my network (Shadow IT)
- I want disparate data sources integrated
Ultimately, any solution considered should work for your business – not just now, but into the future.
After that vision is defined, the next step is determining how you can achieve those goals in the most efficient way possible from a time, cost and sustainability perspective. Cloud might be the best answer to help you achieve those goals, but you might realize a different solution better fits your business.
The biggest headwinds you’ll face won’t be born of technical challenges, as all of those problems are solvable. Lack of clarity on your needs is where the problems will start, and they won’t stop until this core issue has been addressed. Clarifying your vision of what the enterprise is trying to achieve is the most important step of the cloud journey and oftentimes, the step that will dictate success or failure.
To learn more about our approach on how to get cloud right, please reach out to us with questions. We will also be presenting more on our methodology on June 15th at the Mid-Market CIO and Technology Leader Blueprint Summit . We’d love to hear from you about the unique challenges facing your business – Kenway is here to help.