February 6th, 2020

How to do cloud the right way: 7 best practices for success

Moving to the cloud is a good thing, but it is critical that an organization proceed with guidelines and best practices in mind, as transforming from on-premises to hybrid cloud-based IT requires more than an understanding of the technology. Here are some helpful hints to get you started on your cloud program journey.


No. 1: Define cloud

First and foremost, what does cloud mean to you and your organization?

This sounds like a simple question, but everyone seems to have a different answer, and making sure you’re correctly defining cloud can have far-reaching impacts for your organization. Some say cloud is automated virtualization on premises, because users can request virtual machines quickly, and others say it is software as a service (SaaS) that powers their business. Some might counter that cloud is about using the native capabilities of public cloud providers such as Amazon Web Services (AWS). And then there are others who argue that cloud is not a destination but rather the way IT should operate to deliver value.

Cloud is not a destination but an experience. Cloud is a different operating model for IT, where infrastructure becomes code, functions become fully automated, and both infrastructure and application code are launched into live production environments without the constraints of release windows. Cloud is also a world where human error and inefficiencies are virtually eradicated when implemented and configured correctly.

Before you embark on your cloud journey, figure out what cloud means to you and how that definition aligns with your organization’s goals.

No. 2: Determine whether cloud is right for you

The next question to answer is, “Why cloud?” If you’ve read Simon Sinek’s book Start with Why, you might remember the line, “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.” The cloud experience significantly changes the way enterprises currently operate their businesses. This change impacts people, process, and technology, and, by far, the people aspect is the most difficult—and the most impactful. If you want your teams to follow you on this journey, they need to buy into why you are doing it.

Conducting cloud adoption workshops before starting cloud initiatives enables you to openly discuss the hidden issues, face fears, understand and agree (even in principle) on the desired outcomes, and generally get aligned with the “why.” The consensus and shared vision established during these workshops allow the company to more easily overcome the various issues you may encounter along the cloud adoption journey.

For example, a common issue is not getting security and governance groups involved early enough. Teams can get defensive and even adopt a “not our problem—you should have asked earlier” attitude, which of course has a negative impact on progress. This is not because they are not interested in helping, but because they are put on the spot and being told what to do instead of being included as part of the solution from the start. Prevent the finger-pointing by getting consensus early.

The key benefit of getting consensus and addressing the question of why is that it makes you think through the problems you are trying to solve. Cloud, as good as it is, might not be the right answer for everything.

Consider the classic people, process, and technology intersections shown in figure below.

People, process, and technology make up the what of any transformation, including cloud adoption, but they are not the why. There are different “whys” you might identify. The three most common drivers for “Why cloud?” are:

1. Culture change is at the intersection of people and process. Companies need to break away from the status quo and the “we have always done things this way” mentality.

2. Time to value is realized by getting the best out of process and technology. It is not just about the automation of software deployments but rather improving the entire value chain.

3. Innovation is driven by people applying technology to come up with new ideas. Cloud certainly allows companies to experiment and innovate much faster than they were able to before.

Make sure you are clear on why you want to go to cloud, before you embark on the journey.

No. 3: Make sure the timing is right

Humans are creatures of habit, and change is hard. For some people, it is never the right time for change, and so-called analysis paralysis is prevalent in a number of organizations. On the other hand, just because cloud might be the right answer for you doesn’t mean it is the right answer right now.

For example, if you have a long-term contract with your data center provider and still have a few years left, now might not be the right time for cloud. Or, if you just made a significant investment in your on-premises infrastructure, you may have to wait a couple of years before taking on additional financial obligations.

But the biggest reason the time may not be right is that the organization is not ready for the change. For example, you might be going through a number of changes already (an acquisition, a reorg, a new ERP system implementation) and do not have the capacity to absorb more structural changes. Cloud transformation involves exercising every one of your organizational muscles, so you need to be truly ready to do that. The simple “sure, sure, we will just deal with it when it comes” approach is not going to work. You need to be truly prepared to face the challenges ahead.

So, are you ready for change, and is everyone aligned with what that entails?

No. 4:… continue reading the article HERE





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