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Six Steps for Creating Your Cloud Strategy

Often times we find that organizations adopt cloud technologies in a haphazard manner addressing specific needs when they arise, overlooking any critical central planning. As a result, organizations have their functions and resources spread across various cloud systems and platforms, which isn’t just inconvenient, it also drives up costs.

In order to truly gain a competitive advantage, companies need to focus their efforts on cloud-first strategies. Nearly 30% of all technology providers’ software investments will migrate from a cloud-first approach to cloud-only strategy. This is indicative of the need for companies to focus on their cloud strategies. In doing so, companies can ensure that their cloud decisions are in line with their overall corporate goals. Below we’ve identified six key factors to consider when planning your cloud strategy:

1. Cloud-First Strategy

“Cloud-First” isn’t the same as “Cloud-Only” — this means the cloud implementation should move beyond the IT department to be embraced by the entire organization. With this approach, you must explain the benefits of cloud infrastructure to the entire team and business leaders so they can derive business benefits from it

2. Cloud Migrations

Companies often wonder whether its beneficial to move their existing applications to the cloud or manage them in their data centers. Migrating to the cloud is usually done to reduce costs; however, not every application will cost less in the cloud. When considering this route, you should prioritize migrating those applications that have a high variable usage, otherwise you’ll be paying for resources you won’t need. Additionally, you should consider the overall impact of running your business work on interdependent apps, the necessity of agility, whether the app is eligible for server-less computing, and if there are specific company functions unsuitable for the cloud.

3. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) for Non-Revenue Apps

You should consider SaaS as a possible delivery method for applications that aren’t necessary for revenue generation. Services like emails, CRM, payrolls, etc., are essential for all businesses, but you can find SaaS options for these services. By outsourcing these services, your organization’s IT team can focus on applications that give your business a competitive edge.

4. Legacy Applications

Most organizations and businesses have a handful of legacy applications that take up way too many company resources and deliver poor results. These legacy applications also pose a serious security threat, which often results in difficulty finding personnel that can manage these apps. If your legacy application isn’t working as effectively as it should, it’s time to move your efforts to a cloud infrastructure. It’s important to note that there are several applications that can effectively move legacy applications — even existing COBOL applications — to IaaS or other cloud-based platforms, and if applicable, even automate the migration of applications from physical servers to the cloud.

5. Multi-cloud Governance

Even with just a single provider, it’s difficult to govern cloud computing. But when moving to a multi-cloud approach, the difficulty multiplies. Cloud providers offer self-service resources, which first makes it difficult for organizations to gain info into and manage what’s being consumed. For effective cloud integration, organizations must manage the consumption of cloud services by cloud providers.

6. Overall Strategy Governance

It’s not enough to just formulate a cloud strategy, but rather, you must work to actively govern it. Once you start cloud integration, you need to continually monitor and adjust it. For example, you may need to adjust management processes to facilitate a hybrid approach. For this you must make sure your Operations team understands the workloads and how they’re being updated. For risk and compliance issues, the security team should also be briefed on what the cloud provider is responsible for and what aspects of security must be handled internally. Here you’ll also need to be wary of cloud vendor lock-in — if you find a better vendor down the line or your existing vendor doesn’t work out, you’ll need to know if you can effectively migrate to another vendor or access your data.

Creating A Successful Cloud Strategy

Cloud integration can help all organizations get a competitive advantage and increase their productivity. However, you must avoid piecemeal adoption of cloud infrastructure because it isn’t sustainable and leads to serious security risks, while also driving up costs. When you’re ready to integrate cloud infrastructure, you need to create a comprehensive cloud strategy, which includes handling cloud migration, legacy applications, and facilitate governance for your multi-cloud approach and overall strategy.

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