Making big decisions for any part of your business is never simple, however choosing when and how to migrate over to the cloud can be one of the most complicated - even...
Why do we need a cloud strategy?
A well-thought out and defined cloud strategy gives you the best chance at carrying out a successful migration, coordinating with all of the relevant departments within your company, as well as your business goals.
Your strategy is a place where you can outline all of your requirements and can be used as a guide for the rest of the business to understand how the transition will affect them and any other information that they need to know.
Writing a cloud strategy can seem like quite an overwhelming task if you’re not sure where to get started. In this article, we’ll give you actionable tips on where to start and the most important areas to consider when building your plan.
Define your goals
Assess your current situation
Once your goals have been outlined, it’s time to take a look at where your IT department currently stands in terms of introducing new technologies. A Readiness Assessment can be carried out to understand whether what you have in place at the moment can take on something new, or whether changes and updates need to take place first.
In this document, you can rank different areas in terms of their readiness and correct any of these issues before beginning the migration.
Choose your cloud deployment model
Your cloud deployment model is basically where your data will live and who will have control over it. The four deployment models that are commonly used are:
- Public: data stored on third party servers
- Private: owned by one specific company
- Community: owned by several companies
- Hybrid: a ‘mix and match’ cloud encompassing the best features of the other cloud models
Different models are designed to suit different business needs, so you will need to familiarise yourself with the characteristics of each model and decide which one is the most appropriate for your organisation.
Prioritise cloud initiatives
When deciding on your business goals, you may have already carried out this next step, but it’s worth highlighting regardless. You should note that different departments will have different opinions in terms of which projects should be considered as a priority. However these priority projects will need to be agreed across the board before beginning your migration.
Within this area, make sure that you highlight which departments are affected, which IT services support those departments and which cloud services will be of the highest priority in relation to this information.
Identify potential risks
There are a range of different risks that are associated with cloud migration, some which may be more relevant to your business than others. Typical risks can include things such as:
- Inadequate visibility or control over data
- Wasted cloud costs
- Loss of data
- Increased security challenges
Identifying these risks is quite a technical job and requires a dedicated IT team, often requiring previous experience within the industry in order to complete it to the standard necessary. It may be that you need to bring on a specialist cloud partner to complete this role and help you navigate this area sufficiently.
Share the strategy with relevant stakeholders
Once you have outlined the key areas of your strategy, you will need to share this with the relevant stakeholders within the business and ensure that everyone agrees with the process you have summarised.
Whilst communicating the strategy with stakeholders is of the highest importance, we also recommend sharing it with other areas of the business within company-wide messaging so that everyone understands the importance and benefits of the migration. It may be worth changing the messaging depending on which department you’re speaking with so that they can understand more clearly how it affects them and their role, and how it can be of benefit to them in the future.
Once the strategy has been fully agreed and the business is ready to implement, it’s time to define the next steps.
The first step we recommend is outlining a clear roadmap which defines all of the key milestones with attached timelines for achieving each of these. Each milestone should have assigned roles and responsibilities for people who can share updates, learnings and best practice with the rest of the business.
You must remember that any new service that is implemented will need ongoing support to ensure that it is functioning to the best possible standard. This is another area where a specialist cloud partner can assist if you do not have the internal knowledge within your IT team. To find out more about choosing a new cloud partner please read our white paper.