Cloud strategy: 3 components of a successful strategy
Opting to work in the cloud seems like a no-brainer for many organizations. With the numerous cloud solutions available today, embarking on the cloud journey is easier than ever. However, before determining "how" to migrate to the cloud, it’s important to first determine "why" this should be done, and determining your cloud strategy.
Cloud architecture: from hazy to crystal clear
In recent years, the general opinion within organizations on cloud has transformed from reluctance to enthusiasm. Increased confidence in the security and reliability offered by cloud suppliers has even made working in the cloud a matter of course. In addition, the change brought about by COVID-19 has further emphasized the importance of agility and scalability with regard to IT infrastructure.
Although the acceptance of cloud architecture is gaining tremendous momentum, implementing it is still quite a task for many companies. According to international market research firm IDC, one in three organizations sees migration to the cloud as being their biggest challenge. Before deciding 'how' to migrate to the cloud, it’s therefore important to answer 'why' first. By considering the strategic questions, it’s possible to create a solid foundation for subsequent decision-making. This will allow you to better anticipate the pros and cons of the cloud for your organization.
The 3 components
1. Shaping the IT landscape
Many new terms exist in the area of cloud computing and their use adds some confusion. The goal of the cloud strategy is to provide clarity for every stakeholder. IT consultancy firm, Gartner recommends starting with three basic questions:
- What are the definitions?
- What are the business goals?
- What will the interpretation of the cloud solution be?
The answers to these questions are essential to make sense of the IT landscape. Many organizations are opting for a cloud-first strategy, where cloud leads the way in choosing new applications or infrastructure. Start-ups, in particular, opt for a cloud-first strategy, although more and more small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are following suit. Furthermore, the choice of IT landscape should be central to the cloud strategy: public, private or hybrid cloud. The advantages and disadvantages differ per organization. The cloud strategy should also indicate where services will be sourced from. Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform are well-known cloud suppliers.
2. Cloud strategy services
Public, private and hybrid clouds offer their services as flexible, scalable functionality: Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) or Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS). Organizations with a cloud-first strategy will usually select SaaS. This eliminates the need to develop their own apps, platforms or infrastructure. A PaaS model is suitable when an organization only wants to develop its own apps. In that instance, a cloud provider only provides the infrastructure and platforms. With the IaaS model, only the infrastructure is delivered.
3. The ROI of the cloud
In addition, a cloud strategy should offer insights on its contribution to the organization and its alignment with the business vision. After all, migration to the cloud is a costly and extensive process. However, there’s much complexity in calculating the ROI of a cloud migration. Directly comparing the cost of hosting in the cloud with on-premises will ensure that a cloud migration seems to offer no business benefits. Migrating to the cloud impacts on many other areas however, all of which should be considered in the overall cost picture. Additional benefits exist for areas such as business agility or data center renewal, all of which ultimately deliver ROI. These factors should influence the conversation on "why" a cloud migration is the right choice.