The rate of cloud adoption is increasing at a rapid pace. The pandemic this year was unexpected and enterprises could significantly manage the sudden shift of workload with the help of strategic cloud services. In order to meet the business goals, the organizations have to focus on agility and automation. A holistic cloud strategy with a systematic approach is all we need to set up an IT infrastructure that connects with business goals.
In this blog, I will walk you through the steps required to develop a defined cloud strategy for your organization. Before that, let us understand what is cloud strategy and the recent statistics of cloud computing adoption.
Cloud strategy is an optimized approach towards the cloud computing services that meet the organization’s business goals. Cloud strategy is a key component for the optimum usage of cloud services.
Considering the current situation worldwide, one of the top reasons for rapid cloud adoption is providing data access from anywhere. The impact of COVID 19 led the organizations to change their existing Cloud Plan to meet the increased demand for remote working.
The report says, 59% of the enterprise believes there will be higher cloud usage than planned.
Depending on the size of the organization and the cloud requirements, companies can adopt different cloud deployment models such as,
As per research, Enterprises adopt a multi-cloud strategy to meet business needs. 93 percent of enterprises have a multi-cloud strategy; 87 percent have a hybrid cloud strategy. The organization strategizes the cloud requirements to use cloud services efficiently.
The cloud services models are:
- Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS)
- Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)
- Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS)
The 5 steps to develop a holistic cloud strategy for any size of the organization:
Evaluate the current state of IT infrastructure
The first step in the framework is to evaluate the current state of the IT infrastructure of your organization. Understanding the current IT infrastructure will help you to identify the gap that can deliver business benefits to your organization.
Before migrating to the cloud or choosing the cloud provider it is very important to know the current infrastructure in terms of workload, hardware, the network of systems, and security.
Cloud Readiness Assessment (CRA) is carried out to classify all the workloads in terms of cloud compatible or non-compatible.
CRA helps to itemize all the data and applications that are to be moved to the cloud or retained to reach the business goal. CRA involves the following assessments:
- Current storage used
- Current technology used
- Security and risk assessment
- Cost and benefit assessment
Define the Desired state of IT infrastructure
Once you evaluate the current state of IT Infrastructure of your organization, you should prepare a document of the desired state of IT Infrastructure aligned with your business goals. The goal of this step is to maximize the overall efficiency of the cloud infrastructure in terms of productivity, cost-efficiency, agility, and scalability.
The following steps are carried out to prepare the desired infrastructure depending on the size of the organization.
- Identify the areas to focus based on core competencies
- Determine the strengths and weaknesses of the current IT environment
- Evaluate an ideal IT environment required
The ideal IT infrastructure can vary according to the size of the organization and the business goals. An ideal IT environment possesses the following characters:
- Low upfront costs
- Low risks
- Connected agility
- Highly secure
- Optimized performance
Identify the gap
Once you evaluate the desired IT infrastructure, the gap analysis is done to prepare an action plan. In this step, you evaluate the gap between the current state of IT infrastructure and the desired state of IT infrastructure. A clear understanding is achieved and answers, which applications and data are to be,
Considering the interdependencies, we can evaluate the non-functional aspects of the current IT structure. This step helps us to solve issues with security, storage, maintenance, resilience, and cost of operations.
Analyzing risks is an important step before adopting the cloud services. The risks during the cloud adoption or migration can be in terms of software capability, IT infrastructure and data. The key risk factors are:
Data Security: Data is a critical resource of organizations with highest priority in terms of security. In cloud computing, the data is committed to a third party which resides along with all the other data. This demands a powerful access security.
Service Reliability: There is huge dependency on internet connectivity. The cloud services should be reliable with continuous network avoiding abruption by the cloud provider to the customer.
Cost optimization: Cost is the key factor to be considered while adopting cloud. According to Flexera 2020 State of the Cloud Report (The survey conducted in the first quarter of 2020), respondents estimate that 30 percent of cloud spend is wasted.
IT Skills: Cloud adoption is a complex process. Lack of required skill sets can increase the risks of cost and security.
Develop a Cloud Roadmap
Once you identify the gap, prepare an action plan. The main goal of this step is to decide, What are the changes to be made in current IT infrastructure to achieve the target?
Which cloud services are aligned with the business baseline?
Which software or applications are to be moved to cloud?
Which applications to be retained?
Which cloud services model to be selected based on company requirements ( IaaS, SaaS, PaaS)?
Which cloud service provider to choose based on cost, reliability and security?
Which cloud deployment model to choose based on the business goal and size of the organization?
When you find the answers for above questions, you are on the right path of cloud strategy. Define the cloud migration roadmap with clear milestones and communicate to the team to initiate the cloud migration process.
Understanding the organization’s requirements and developing an optimized roadmap will not only ease the transition process, it will also maximize the ROI, Speed up the transition, increase productivity in terms of agility. According to Gartner, “Today, most organizations do not have a formal cloud strategy, although by 2022, 70% of organizations will have one”
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