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Build Your Cloud Strategy — The Right Way

 
A rapidly growing cloud presence demands careful thought and planning. Here’s what you need to do to set your organization on the right course.

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Now that cloud computing is an integral part of virtually all IT infrastructures, it’s essential for every enterprise to prepare a comprehensive and flexible cloud strategy.

Dave Bartoletti, a vice president and principal analyst at IT research firm Forrester, recently observed that cloud computing has become an essential linchpin in enterprise business technology. “Customers demand more cloud-enabled experiences.” Business leaders want the latest cloud applications, developers want new cloud-native tools to deliver software faster, and tech managers need cloud infrastructure platforms to run it all, he explained. “You’ll only realize these benefits with a pragmatic cloud computing roadmap.” Forrester presented its strategy for developing a cloud roadmap in its recently-released 2020 Cloud Computing Playbook.

Dave Bartoletti

While leveraging public cloud resources provides tremendous value, transitioning to the cloud is not as easy or intuitive as many IT leaders expect. For many IT organizations accustomed to operating on-premises data centers, cloud adoption can also mark a major paradigm shift, noted Scott Sinclair, a senior analyst at IT research firm ESG. “The need to leverage both on- and off-premises resources is a top driver of IT complexity,” he said. “A cloud roadmap reduces the risk, cost, and complexity of integrating cloud resources as operations become more efficient and more predictable.”

A well-crafted roadmap will provide guidance at every step, observed Josh Ma, CTO at life science industry cloud platform provider Benchling. “Successful cloud integration requires careful alignment, planning and coordination across the organization,” he added.

Building the roadmap

When creating a roadmap, the goal shouldn’t be developing the optimal cloud strategy, but determining how cloud technologies will best match the enterprise’s business strategy. “The resulting cloud roadmap will be unique to your business and ever evolving,” Bartoletti explained. Generic advice or reference architectures won’t suffice. “Steer your technology executives away from ‘shiny objects’ and toward a more pragmatic approach informed

Scott Sinclair - ESG

Archana Vemulapalli, general manager for IBM Network Services, advised that the best way to begin building a cloud roadmap is to baseline the current state of people, processes, and technology. “Cloud adoption will change how an organization operates,” she said. Next, prioritize the applications that will be headed into the cloud, and consider using a single management platform to manage and orchestrate the entire environment. “The security landscape is perpetually changing,” she noted. “How we protect applications, data, and infrastructure while allowing for the ability to move workloads and manage [assets] across multiple cloud and on-prem infrastructures need to be planned proactively.”

Bernd Greifeneder, CTO and founder of software intelligence firm Dynatrace, recommends looking toward tomorrow’s cloud environment. “You need to pick a dedicated team that can think out-of-the-box and wants to pursue new paths, such as NoOps and Autonomous Cloud,” he suggested. “Cloud technology has reached the point where teams will need to start implementing NoOps, where decisions will be driven

Josh Ma - Benchling

Building support

A cloud roadmap should never be built in a vacuum or developed only

Archana Vemulapalli - IBM Network Services

Too often, organizations attempt to build their cloud roadmap quickly, when development should actually be a multilayered, complex process requiring a significant length of time. “The best approach is to focus on building momentum, identifying the most critical projects you want to tackle first, and then preparing to iterate as many times as necessary, understanding that a fully built-out cloud roadmap will serve you in the long run,” Ma explained.

Leveraging the cloud’s full value, and the innovation it inherently offers, can only be fully achieved when an organization’s cloud strategy ties-in directly to business transformation. “Knowing the challenges an organization faces and aligning your cloud strategy and roadmap to solve business problems is key,” Vemulapalli said. “A cloud roadmap is essential — it operationalizes the business transformation vision and enables a successful transition.

Check out more of our recent articles on cloud computing:

Cloud Security Planning in the Time of Social Distancing

Predictions for Cloud Computing in 2020

AI Explosion Brewing in the Cloud for 2020

 

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