How To Get Your Cloud Strategy Started

Many companies thinking about a cloud strategy are in different states of readiness where it’s not really a question of if a move to the cloud is going to happen but rather when and how it’s going to happen.

Still, even for those who have a cloud strategy in place, several questions remain:

·      How will we actually get started with this strategy?

·      As we wrap our hands around the application portfolio, how do we figure out which app will be the first one in the cloud?

·      What’s our criteria for prioritizing?

For all of the meetings, strategizing and putting thoughts on paper, implementation is what makes a cloud strategy real. Here’s a pragmatic approach to get your cloud strategy in motion.

First, it’s important to recognize that many system architects are in a tough spot when they attempt to implement a cloud strategy because a lot of them are looking at dozens of software applications running in their portfolio. With so much to think about immediately, it’s hard to know where to get started. This can lead to frustration for all parties and stop a project in its tracks before it gets off the ground. So how do we reverse that trend with a more productive entry point for the project?


The Start Before The Start: Phase Zero

We strongly recommend engaging in what we call Phase Zero. This is the foundation we must to think about even before the individual applications are prioritized. You may have a portion of your cloud strategy figured out, more or less, but chances are there are plenty of other considerations that you haven’t factored in quite yet.

Rather than starting headfirst into implementation, Phase Zero allows us to take one step back and ask if we have all the components in place to be successful. Think of this like a cook asking if he has all of the essential ingredients for the recipe before he turns on the oven. You don’t want to be midway into cooking and realize that you don’t have a few ingredients, right? Similarly, many Enterprise Architects have started cloud implementation programs only to realize that several important elements have not been addressed. Consequently, Phase Zero calibrates the cloud strategy so that we can ask the proper discovery questions well in advance.

Before taking your applications into the cloud, we need to establish the basics so that the process is a seamless one. Which applications should go first? How do we handle security, network connectivity and provisioning of the cloud account? Is there a particular process that would be best for us to follow?


Pitfalls That Can Be Missed

With Phase Zero and prerequisites for success well established, we also need to consider the pitfalls that companies often miss when taking apps to the cloud.

Now, these pitfalls occur because they’re rarely top-of-mind. In fact, they’re frequently the more boring, “unsexy” aspect of cloud transitions that organizations don’t think about but will absolutely pay for later on if they’re ignored.


For example:

·      Failure to consider organizational readiness for the cloud
It’s as simple as this – if your organization isn’t prepared for the cloud, the project will fail. Guaranteed.

·      Having the project handled by an “ivory tower” architect who offers great design that nobody can follow for all practical purposes.
People need to connect to each other from all areas of your organization and the cloud shouldn’t be treated as a separate connection. You have to treat the cloud as a vital data center to log into before you move forward.

·      Going “All In” on a cloud migration project means a lot more than simply copying over apps to the cloud. This line of thinking rarely works and can create a number of headaches, both logistical and financial.

·      Failure to consider security or monitoring is also a problem. Will we be able to send data with ease and establish connectivity? If not, what is impacting that level of speed? How should we adjust our security posture to make it inclusive of the cloud?

Factoring in all of these non-tangible pieces is critical to avoiding pitfalls and achieving long-term success.


Realistic and Practical Next Steps

As the potential pitfalls for derailing the project have been addressed, we can now put the steps in place toward making our cloud migration successful, including:

·      Create A Business Case For The Cloud
A business case is a financial justification toward going to the cloud. So often when we ask why a company is going to the cloud, it’s frequently due to the fact that, well, everybody else is doing it. We need deeper reasoning than jumping on a bandwagon.

·      Determine A High-Level Migration Approach

·      Proof Of Concept
Find one candidate for proof of concept that you can take to the cloud and validate that your approach is solid. This is your “guinea pig” that you can evaluate based on common pitfalls and prerequisites before taking a particular application to the cloud.

·      Validate Original Business Case Assumptions
Coming full circle through validation of your initial assumptions, you can evaluate which of your assumptions were correct and where you’ve undoubtedly learned a few things so you can course correct for the next application you may take into the cloud.


At Silent IT, we’re excited for our own Josh Davidson to be presenting on this very topic of a pragmatic approach to getting your cloud strategy under way when we come to the Camp IT Conference on July 12th.

Interested in attending and want some free passes?
Email Eugene Khazin at today.