November 5, 2015

Fundamentals Of A Cloud Strategy

By Sourin Paul

Cloud Transition Planning For Your Business 

In case you have been hiding under a rock or have been ever consumed in keeping the lights on for your traditional IT landscape (more probable), you may have not had ‘The’ opportunity to lay out a Cloud transition plan for your organization.

Whether you are part of a Medium business or a larger Enterprise, your users likely already benefit from leveraging a hosted office collaboration applications e.g. Emails, Document Repository, Contact Management etc.. In all likelihood, these same users would prefer to expand usage to additional business applications (B2B, B2C etc…) allowing them enhanced mobility while reducing IT Capital & Operating costs (reducing Infrastrastructure costs etc…) and complexity.

For most organizations, the primary hurdle is in identifying:

  • ‘When’ these investments must be made?
  • ‘Who’ will be impacted & ‘How’? and
  • ‘Why’ are these investments necessary? (Cost of Competitive advantages).

The larger the enterprise, the more complicated will be this transition plan. However, there are few fundamentals which will serve as a starting point to all.

Constituents of Deriving a Cloud Strategy:

For simplicity, I am merely listing the essential areas, while we can spend hours inventorizing, analyzing and discussing them in further detail.

 

1. Assess your Current & Future Consumptions:

  • What applications or services are currently hosted and managed by internal IT organizations/ vendors?
  • Who do these applications cater to Your Employees, Partners & Your Customers?
  • Which of these applications would need to be Updated and When, to support your continued business growth?
  • Which of these application vendors have already a SaaS solution that you can transition to?

2. Understand your Business:

  • The current maturity level of your organization. What are your interoperability requirements for core operational groups (HR, Finance, ERP, SCM etc…)?
  • When it comes to Governance, Risk, and Compliance, there are no one-size-fits-all. What are your specific data security and compliance needs?
  • How will you build an eco-system for your Partners or Customers once you have translated to the Cloud?

3. Laying out the Plan:

  • Understand the Financial risks associated
  • How can you consolidate services and existing infrastructure/ investment?
  • Develop a cost effective plan to position a services ecosystem for your users instead of negotiating them individually

For smaller businesses, the benefit of migrating to a SaaS (Cloud) is can be more application can provide immediate ROI. For e.g. A SaaS application can immediately bring in mature capabilities/ operational efficiencies which were earlier only accessible to the Enterprises. A simple explanation can be a Lower Subscription pricing model (in comparison to perpetual license costs).

For complex Enterprises, ‘Cloud’ (applications/ vendors) does not need to be perceived as a competitor to its existing IT organization. While a pre-packaged PaaS application may provide its tech-savvy users an ability to conveniently build additional capabilities, it can also quickly add complexity and interoperability issues within its existing landscape. The benefits and challenges of Cloud computing and its provisioning (particularly in PaaS and IaaS) needs to be reviewed clearly with the business. This will enable business owners to understand the Security and Compliance issues in fragmenting capabilities across multiple vendors/ applications. Thereby enticing them to collaborate with IT Organizations and mature their adoption of Cloud applications over time.

By Sourin Paul

Sourin Paul

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