Vision, Strategy, Mindset: What Makes a Cloud Leader

Melodye Mueller
VP of Marketing


A couple of weeks ago, I discussed why we conducted ‘yet another’ cloud survey. In that blog, I outlined the goals of the project and methodology behind our approach. The focus was on Cloud Leaders, what sets them apart and, more importantly, what they are doing differently from the rest of the pack.

This time around, I’ll recap the key characteristics of the leaders and how it’s impacting their business.

One of the first findings the survey revealed is that the top tier (i.e. respondents who fall into the ‘cloud leaders’ camp) had a clear Vision and Strategy. In fact, leaders are 10 times more likely to have a “crystal clear” vision for their cloud strategy. This may sound cliché, but the reality is that cloud leaders have a well-defined, detailed plan that outlines requirements, resources and how they will measure success.

The next big differentiator is that they have a “Make it Happen” mentality. 76% of the top tier, or cloud leaders, in the survey have actually defined a role within the organization that is dedicated to vision, interdepartmental engagement, and ultimately implementation of the strategy. We call this role a cloud steward, but the titles vary greatly by organization (check out the image on the right for a sampling). The unifying theme for this role is that they are the frontline “general” responsible for leading the charge in their cloud or hybrid strategy.

These cloud stewards not only provide a cohesive viewpoint for the organization but they also ensure accountability. Interestingly, when respondents were asked how this role is perceived internally, 71% of our Cloud Leaders said “Extremely Favorably,” and that they viewed the individual as a strategic partner. I believe this speaks directly to their perception that the position and responsibilities are viewed as a business enabler -- versus the traditional security and IT teams, who are so often seen as a "house of no" and therefore left out of critical discussions (to the detriment of the business).

Leveraging technology to make technology work is another commonality among the cloud trailblazers. They have a holistic approach to management of their environments and actively look for the best tools and platforms to meet specific needs for cloud centric and hybrid environments. On average, they’re relying on a mix of public, private cloud, and data center – with most of their infrastructure on the former.

Hybrid and multi-cloud environments are on the rise across all cloud users, not just among the leaders. This reality triggers a whole new set of considerations, as organizations grapple with the increased complexity. Cloud leaders shine here: they’re relying on sound governance strategies to simplify day to day management and streamline decision-making while still promoting decentralized management and maintaining agility. In my next blog, I’ll unpack these concepts and also look at what we can learn from the successes of smaller organizations.

Full survey results:

Secrets of the Cloud Leaders

By what title is the 'cloud steward' in your organization known?

Fig   |  Secrets of the Cloud Leaders