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Don’t be directionless: Seven steps to creating a cloud strategy

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Over the years we’ve talked a lot about the different pertinent issues and considerations as you move along your journey to the cloud. However, it struck me that perhaps one of the most important steps – and certainly the first step for any organisation - on that journey is developing a cloud strategy.

While not having a strategy doesn’t necessarily mean that your cloud environment won’t work, it will almost certainly guarantee a higher risk approach and potentially sky-rocketing costs. Indeed the phrase ‘fail to prepare is to prepare to fail’ is applicable here. A considered and well thought out plan is worth its weight in effort.

So where to start? There are seven steps at a minimum that you need to go through to create a valid and considered strategy.

  1. Create your vision: Be clear about it. Understand it and ensure that it feeds into the next six steps.
  2. Understand your business need in detail: what it is and why it exists. Engage with the business to truly get to grips with what a cloud environment needs to achieve. Consider building use cases where you look from the outside in as this will give you perspective. Remember that you’re buying a service, not a technology.
  3. Look for opportunities to innovate: once you’ve met the business need, how can you use the cloud to innovate? Can you add an element to improve and exceed the business need; can the cloud also be utilised elsewhere in the organisation; or can it be used in an entirely new way to offer your customers something innovative.
  4. Be clear what you are looking to achieve: once you know the business need and the opportunity to innovative, be clear on the benefits that cloud needs to deliver. Use the check list below to ensure you’re getting maximum output.
    1. Reliability
    2. Capital preservation
    3. Flexibility/ Agility
    4. Access to Innovation
    5. Scalability/ Reach
    6. Speed
    7. Efficiency
    8. Management of cost
  5. Consider the network: To the user, the network and the cloud are the same thing. Don’t let it be an after thought as part of your service delivery. Do you have the necessary performance and reliability to deliver service from an external datacenter? Make sure that you know how it will performance in a cloud world.
  6. Good governance: It’s vital that you measure and mitigate risk. Make sure that you know how you will manage and contain costs in an on-demand world.
  7. Consider operations: How will you continue to manage a service that is sourced in part or entirety from the cloud and where the underlying technology is invisible or abstracted?

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