There are multiple online resources providing advice about how to develop an effective cloud strategy, but many overlook the fact that all cloud strategies are unique to each individual business. Fortunately, Forrester has now published a guide for Infrastructure & Operations Professionals that overcomes this issue.
Ever since businesses first started moving their operations to the cloud, industry professionals have been proclaiming “You need a cloud strategy” to anyone who would listen. Apparently, not many people did. In 2016, Gartner estimated less than a third of enterprises had a documented cloud strategy, and it’s probably likely not all of them were enforced.
Part of the problem is that it isn’t always clearly explained what a cloud strategy is and why businesses might need one. Furthermore, many articles discussing how to develop an effective strategy tend to focus on strategies for businesses with no existing presence in the cloud. So, if your business isn’t starting from scratch, it appears it’s already too late.
One final issue is that a lot of advice about developing an effective cloud strategy focuses on one particular way of formulating a strategy and executing it. This single-way approach isn’t necessarily the right approach for every business. Basically, there’s no one-size-fits-all cloud strategy because cloud strategies are unique to each individual business.
So, what is a cloud strategy? And why would I need one?
Before businesses move some or all of their operations to the cloud, they typically ask themselves three questions:
- “What can be achieved by moving to the cloud?”
- “Is the effort required worth it?”
- "If so, how are we going to do this?”
The “how” is your cloud strategy—effectively a game plan that results in a roadmap for cloud migration.
The purpose of the game plan is to define the business’s ambitions in the cloud and how it’s going to achieve them. Without it, your business will likely have a fragmented approach to cloud adoption, resulting in issues such as overspends, Shadow IT, and security risks. The game plan is also a useful tool for monitoring your business’s progression towards cloud adoption.
However, every cloud strategy is different. This can be for reasons such as your existing on-premises IT infrastructure being more/less adaptable to the cloud, your IT personnel being more/less skilled at adapting the existing IT infrastructure, or your business’s C-Suite being more/less supportive of your ambitions and the objectives of a cloud migration.
What if I already have a presence in the cloud?
This is a further and important reason why there’s no one-size-fits-all cloud strategy. The likelihood is that most businesses are already using some cloud-based tools for their day-to-day operations, and this can complicate the development of an effective game plan if Infrastructure and Operations Professionals are unaware of which cloud-based tools are being used by whom.
For this reason, businesses in this situation are advised to use a solution such as CloudHealth by VMware. CloudHealth’s cloud management platform provides total visibility over assets deployed in the cloud so that Infrastructure and Operations Professionals can analyze and manage cloud costs, usage, performance, and security in one place.
With a depth of information available at their fingertips, Infrastructure and Operations Professionals can see what works and where costs can be saved, and build their conclusions into the business’s game plan in order to avoid unforeseen events as the roadmap unfolds—bearing in mind that a game plan has to have a certain level of fluidity to address the evolving cloud computing environment.
How to develop an effective cloud strategy
Whether your business is starting from scratch or already has a presence in the cloud, Forrester has published an excellent guide to developing an effective cloud strategy entitled “Build a Pragmatic Cloud Strategy that Delivers Real Value to Your Organization”. The guide is deliberately “business-neutral” in order to provide businesses in all industries and at all stages of their cloud journeys with the advice needed to develop an effective cloud strategy.
Download your free copy of the guide here, or contact us to request a copy.