Posts Tagged ‘ Hype ’

You sold me on the Cloud. Now what?

After tons of reading, attending numerous events and speaking to peers in your industry you¬†became convinced: The cloud is where you need to take your company going forward. Now what? Like any major project you’ve taken on, going to the cloud requires a strategy and a roadmap.

Strategy has nothing to do with cloud per se – cloud is simply one potential solution to a particular strategy. So what’s your strategy? Are you trying to reduce infrastructure costs? Enable more work-from-home employees? Improve your scalability to deal with massive surges in sales? Handle a more mobile, more connected, more bring-your-own-hardware work force? Perhaps your strategy is a combination of all these things (and more), but it needs to be articulated and then you need to prove that the cloud offerings you are considering are able to fulfill that larger business strategy. Cloud is often only one peice of the puzzle.

The roadmap you build is your path of execution. Perhaps you’ll start with a straightforward milestone of migrating email to the cloud using any number of Software As A Service offerings. These are the low-hanging fruit opportunities that are currently bundled under cloud services. But there are more challenging milestones ahead… Infrastructure As A Service and Platform As A Service offerings require a lot more consideration, a lot more effort and carry a lot more risk-reward potential. Rewriting a web site to take advantage of the elasticity of the cloud can be a very risky effort – you’re taking a web site that currently works and potentially breaking it. But the ability of the cloud to absorb a massive influx in traffic can pay back in revenue all that risk and more.

The amount of hype around the cloud makes it possible to believe that there’s a magic cloud lamp out there somewhere – that all you need to do is rub it and your company is in the cloud. The reality is much more painful. Inflexible applications, questionable security and technology silos make your flight the cloud more than a little turbulent. Some bits of cloud migration may look¬†easy, but most are not.

As you work your way through your organization evaluating how cloud can bring your strategies to fruition, you’re actually going through a form of business process re-engineering. Don’t Panic! This is a natural side effect of any major IT project. You cannot help but scrunitize what your organzation currently does and ask the question “Does this make sense?” and “Could we do it better?” Moving to the cloud is not unique in this effect, nor is it separate from it.

Ultimately, you’ll discover that virtually all cloud implementations are not “pure” per se. There are always some elements of an application or service that still reside on-premise. For the foreseeable future, all significant cloud implementation are hybrid implementations. Don’t feel bad about it, it’s the way things need to be, perhaps indefinitely.

You’re sold on the cloud, so congratulations! Strategize, plan and move carefully. We’ll see you out there.