Don’t fall into the trap of short-term thinking with the cloud

I regularly speak with companies about their cloud strategy and find that planning is often too short-term. By considering the human aspect and a potential exit plan from the cloud, we can shift the thinking to more long-term and devise a more comprehensive cloud strategy.

The main reason that companies often take the wrong approach with cloud adoption is many organizations have stumbled into the cloud. Cloud platforms or cloud applications often make their way into organizations through development teams without being part of a long-term adoption strategy. Over time, the solution can become the standard for the organization, and it then makes it difficult for the organization to change their approach and tools – even if at a strategic business level a different choice would deliver better results.

The available financial resources can also influence the strategy and play a role in making short-term decisions. Making your IT ‘infrastructurally dynamic’ demands considerable investment. This includes not only (orchestration) technology, but also assessments to determine where data and applications can be utilized most effectively. It can be quite demanding to do this exercise as it’s difficult to determine what benefit the investment will have in the long term.

Increasingly, a cloud strategy is being devised based on the current needs of an organization which is an easy trap to fall into. A quick way of forcing yourself to look a bit further ahead is by expanding your checklist to include two points: the exit plan and the human aspect.

The exit plan

Other than budget availability, many organizations do not know where to begin when it comes to cloud strategy. There is a tremendous amount of information available, and gathering this information demands quite a lot of time. For that reason, word of mouth recommendations still score high when making choices on services and products. Don’t be tempted to just take tips from your network if you have not yet explored options for yourself.

A thorough cloud strategy is complex and therefore demands a custom approach, such as preparing an exit plan. It has not yet been legally determined that the chosen cloud service provider will be the enabler for a switch to new cloud technology. There is little jurisprudence and, in such cases, it should be detailed how independent an organization is from a cloud service provider. As an organization, you would be better off having a good cloud exit strategy with a detailed exit system.

The human touch

Mapping out the organization’s roadmap and including this in your cloud strategy is certainly not a luxury. Where are we as an organization at this time? Where will be in five years? What will we do to enable change? You will notice that, by answering these questions, you will have a stronger position when entering into negotiations.

When doing this, focus on the themes of data management and data mobility – that will help with finding the right cloud partners for a long-term strategy. That’s because, in the coming years, the cloud will make increasing demands on the human aspect from both sides. Account managers are being given an increasingly important role at cloud providers because there is a growing need for personal contact. Additionally, it is good to realize that employees have a great deal of knowledge and experience available about the industry, customers and the trends that are at play. Take advantage of this. Cloud is more relationship-based than ever before. Once we become aware of this, people will make an effort to spend more time developing this.

If you are faced with a cloud choice in the near future, be sure to be well-prepared when searching the market to examine the possibilities closely. The known public clouds of Amazon, Microsoft, and Google function fine for resolving some of IT issues, but they are not the ‘Holy Grail’. Their battle to become the world’s dominant public cloud platform has helped tremendously with developing the market relating to cloud computing and accelerating adoption. In my opinion, to achieve a well thought through strategy, companies will have to move their horizon slightly further into the future. That will help them later to actually be free as a bird in their IT needs instead of stuck in a cloud.

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