In the past, the term ‘cloud computing’ would have raised a few eyebrows in the IT domain. Today, most organizations are very much aware what cloud computing is and the several different cloud service models that are available. Enterprises have gone from asking ‘what is cloud computing’ to creating and executing their own cloud strategy using advanced technologies. When talking about cloud computing, people often view it as a 21st century invention. But going back in time, one will realize that cloud principles have existed in the past. From providing access to a central computer through dummy terminals in the 1940s, creating the concept of virtual machines to execute multiple operating systems simultaneously in the 1970s, and telecommunications offering shared access to users in the 90s, cloud made its presence known at various time periods. Today, this concept has evolved into something that most companies want to invest in because of the reliability flexibility, scalability and efficiency cloud offers.
In the past, organizations who were new to the world of cloud were asking vendors to build a cloud strategy for their business without an understanding the true potential of cloud. They wanted to move to cloud because their competitors were doing it. But today, enterprises have more knowledge and an in-depth understanding of the numerous possibilities that cloud offers for business innovation. They develop their own strategy to adopt cloud and execute it effortlessly. Cloud adoption is a planned move by organizations that are trying to reduce technology costs, alleviate risks, and achieve scalability. Adopting cloud, an enterprise can transform IT from being an in-house software capability into an outsourced capability.
Although enterprises talk about cloud adoption very often, it is not possible to facilitate a seamless migration without a clear strategy in place. The effective planning for adopting a cloud strategy should start with a detailed idea of the infrastructure. An enterprise may have skilled IT experts to do it all on their own. But an overworked IT department already managing several systems may not have the manpower or time to execute a larger and complex project such as an enterprise cloud migration. Alternatively enterprises can use a qualified and experienced cloud readiness team to perform a detailed assessment, taking into account specific organizational objectives. A team of experts will perform a meticulous analysis on an enterprise’s current environment including infrastructure, data bases, networks, applications, customized hardware, extensions and interfaces. The team would also identify and document the features of the infrastructure that could be impacted due to the migration to cloud. Once a comprehensive report is created, based on the outcomes the team will recommend a plan of action to accomplish the best migration strategy.
Cloud adoption is more than just choosing a technology and moving to it. As the concept of cloud is continuously evolving it is necessary to create a cloud strategy keeping the future possibilities in mind. If an organization has enough resources and an IT team ready to carry out the cloud adoption, then they can start by assessing cloud deployment challenges, risks involved in cloud adoption, opportunities, and the present success rates. It is also essential to understand the business value and determine the feasibility in terms of technology to deploy the existing applications in cloud. The IT team should decide which applications should be moved to the cloud. Business-critical applications can be stored separately if the cost of moving those to cloud is on the higher side.
Based on their initial assessment, the IT team will have a good idea of organizational needs and goals. These findings will help them adopt a practical cloud adoption strategy that will effectively sync with the organization’s vision. When taking enterprise goals into account, factors such as new capabilities that will be brought to the market place, services currently restricted due to time to market requirements, opportunities to avoid higher operating expense, capabilities to ensure unlimited access to consumers and devices, and scalability should also be taken into account. Mapping these goals in the cloud adoption strategy will help business technology evolve as and when IT related threats are identified and mitigated.
A cloud adoption strategy should be able to maximize the ROI. In order to do that, the cloud adoption team should be properly trained on the basic concepts of cloud computing including characteristics of cloud computing, service models, and deployment models. Knowing the pros and cons of each model will help them develop a business case and ROI model that can be used in the analysis of cloud services. The organization needs to rethink their IT governance strategies to suit the present cloud strategy. The IT governance policies may have to be completely rewritten in some cases. The changes in a governance model may include defining roles and responsibilities for stakeholders in the cloud adoption and allocation of funding and resources for the same. The existing IT policies must be amended to reflect the change in the organizations.
Before getting on to the phase of selecting a vendor it is crucial to periodically evaluate the organization’s cloud strategy maturity level. This will help identify shortfalls and gaps between the organization’s cloud vision and the present state. This information is vital for understanding what type of assistance is required for successful planning of cloud adoption strategy. In addition to all of these parameters, for a cloud to be successful, organizations should take efforts to identify areas in which the eventuality of business innovation occurring is high and revolutionize and differentiate those areas using cloud computing.