Successful public cloud adoption means being clear on your end goals before embarking on the journey. But many organisations, both large and small, skip the essential first step; creating a comprehensive public cloud strategy.
First let’s consider why this is and what the consequences are of not having a cloud adoption strategy.
The cloud is sometimes superficially referred to as just someone else’s computer. But the cloud is more than a mere product; it’s a complex transformational opportunity. And it’s this oversimplification that could explain why cloud migration plans and implementation plans are often conflated with cloud strategies when they are, in fact, different things.
Gartner defines a cloud strategy as:
“A concise point of view on the role of the cloud within the organisation. It is a living document, designed to bridge between a high-level corporate strategy and a cloud implementation/adoption/migration plan.”
We frequently encounter organisations that call their migration plans their strategies. And indeed, Gartner adds: “A cloud strategy is different from a cloud adoption or migration plan.”
The risks of not having a public cloud adoption strategy
Often, the decision to adopt the cloud is highly reactive. It may be because of a critical business event or the pressure to reduce costs quickly. And it’s this sense of urgency that can, understandably, compel organisations to press ahead with a cloud migration project without developing a cloud strategy.
So, what are the risks of adopting the public cloud without a strategy? Principally, you could fail to unlock the immense benefits of the cloud, effecting change without realising value. Other dangers include:
- Avoidable business disruption
- Unnecessary complexity
- Inadequate governance
- Making poor choices
- Reduced operational visibility and control
- Misaligned system architectures
- Atypical system configurations
- Higher staff costs
- Unexpected bills and cost spikes
- Low or no ROI
- Confusion around objectives and expectations
Of course, it is possible to fix these things, but the process could take weeks or even months. So, prevention – meaning a robust strategy – is undeniably better than the cure.
Developing your public cloud strategy using Microsoft’s Cloud Adoption Framework
We follow Microsoft’s Cloud Adoption Framework (CAF) for client engagements – a tried and tested approach for adopting the Azure public cloud. It’s an invaluable resource for business decision-makers, IT professionals and cloud architects, equipping them with the documents, tools and best practices to inform their public cloud strategy.
Here’s a top-level view:
Microsoft’s Cloud Adoption Framework (CAF)
Working through the framework helps drill down into the drivers for migrating to the public cloud. These drivers typically fall under three categories:
Could motivation drivers
Steadily working through the framework:
- Encourages due diligence
- Quickly identifies and dispels false assumptions
- Promotes successful business outcomes
- Positions your cloud adoption in the context of business priorities, not as an IT change initiative
And by concentrating on concise, defined, and measurable goals, CAF helps lead Q&A sessions with your stakeholders. Here are some example headline-level outcomes:
- Fiscal: Revenue, cost, profit
- Data: Innovation, democratisation
- Agility: Time-to-market, provisioning time
- Global Reach: Access, data sovereignty
- Customer Engagement: Cycle time, intelligent contact centre
- Performance: Reliability
Ensuring a successful public cloud migration
We help our customers make informed decisions on the types of cloud deployments that make sense from all angles – the risks, costs, benefits and operationally. For a successful public cloud migration, understanding the scale, drivers and transformation challenges is vital.
And nothing is a foregone conclusion – each client organisation we help doesn’t always go down the path of a full datacentre migration to the public cloud. This is because the proper justification must exist first to ensure successful cloud adoption.