Companies Are Adopting Cloud, but Do They Really Know Why?

By now, we have entered the Cloud 2.0 era. Cloud capabilities, like any other technology in the past, have been maturing — and cloud is now seen as much more than a destination. It is a true business enabler, designed to deliver value to the organization and help achieve its overall goals and objectives. Leaders want to improve their IT organizations, improve their businesses, and improve customer experiences.

Enterprise modernization is one of the key use cases for cloud to help companies create and enable more modern, agile, sustainable, and secure IT. On top of that, cloud allows for rapid business innovation by assembling and consuming new cloud services coupled with expert advice from third parties to deliver business value to customers. Cloud is truly becoming “customer first” and helping to unleash technologies like 5G, edge, artificial intelligence, and Internet of Things to transform entire industries and make them more intelligent.

No matter what cloud use case you are pursuing, you will still have to work through some fundamental areas: determining the right placement of applications & workloads between on-prem and cloud (or multiple clouds); estimating and predicting what it will cost to get there and to successfully operate in the future; and establishing the right security posture to ensure your applications and data are safe and protected everywhere.

To ensure you’re not falling into the trap of moving to the cloud “just because,” it’s vital to have a clear strategy for your cloud adoption initiatives. Assessing your business needs and the relevant use cases will help, but even more importantly, you must adopt a different mindset — one that focuses on cloud as the means as opposed to the destination.

Here are three mindset shifts IT leaders can make to effectively orchestrate a measured approach to cloud adoption:

1. Understand that cloud transformation is a means to achieve a goal — but not the goal itself.

Sometimes we see companies forget to answer a key question in their cloud adoption: Why are they moving to cloud? There are more specific questions that — when answered — can help to justify the move:

  • Can cloud help the business enter new markets?
  • What is the potential impact of cloud transformation on our operating model?
  • Will moving applications to the cloud improve reputation, agility, innovation, or ways of working?

At the end, the business must ensure cloud will drive optimal outcomes like reducing costs, increasing speed, and improving business value — all in a secure way. If cloud can help to achieve these goals, then it’s the right decision. With this approach, cloud is a vehicle to achieve goals, and its speed, cost, and consumption, are all closely measured to maximize the outcome.

2. Have a complete strategy and business case for migrating to the cloud

The operating model for businesses is changing, and cloud is driving that change. But we shouldn’t expect data centers to go away – as the hyperscaler cloud platforms are continuing to build them. Preparing for a world where cloud and on-prem work in harmony is a more realistic scenario for IT leaders evaluating how to structure their cloud measurement strategies. A first step is to assess the current situation. The evaluation of the application portfolio leads — for each application — to a recommendation of the best architectural target and the associated migration path. Then, the evaluation of the platforms that must receive the migrated applications makes it possible to establish platform update recommendations (these platforms often support the organization’s critical systems) prior to execution. Finally, the assessment of the cloud maturity of the organization identifies projects that will make it possible to achieve operational excellence.

3. Understand your cloud economics and put the right metrics in place to measure success.

Some business leaders say they’ll know success when they see it. This approach does not work well in transitions to cloud operating models. Companies need to take a “design to cost” approach that allows them to optimize consumption, right-size resources, and manage licensing and contractual obligations. Quantifying success metrics and monitoring them carefully leads to better outcomes. To truly measure a cloud migration program, IT leaders must first define what “good” looks like — and communicate it across the IT organization. How is it enabling better value, business outcomes, and employee experiences? Ensuring the right strategy, governance, talent, and technology are all in place is the holistic approach needed to make the program successful — and quantifying and monitoring that success leads to better outcomes.

Technology has many buzzwords and trends that seem mandatory, and cloud adoption is no exception. But while all companies should have started their cloud journeys by now, those that take a practical path and use cloud to their advantage will see the greatest results and organizational support as they continue to scale. “Shifting to cloud” and “optimizing how you use cloud” are two separate actions that deserve clear distinction.

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