How to Get a Cloud Transformation Project Started

With organizations challenged to keep up with the demands of their ever changing business and modern savvy customers, more IT departments are turning to the cloud for solutions. Ensure your business is taking advantage of the cost savings, speed to market, flexibility, scalability and integration capabilities that only the cloud can provide. A regimented approach to implementation can simplify cloud adoption.

What are common IT challenges in a cloud transformation project?

A sound cloud transformation strategy can reduce IT spending, control and manage disparate silos across multiple lines of the business, and pay for underutilized capacity caused by seasonal or cyclical spikes. It can also build a strong disaster recovery model without jeopardizing security.

What can cloud do to help?

A solid cloud strategy can shorten delivery cycles to the business and free valued resources from mundane operational tasks to focus on more impactful business driven-goals, dramatically reducing overhead costs. Seems like every workload should be running to the cloud full speed, right? Yet, for a combination of reasons, this is not always the case.

Why do enterprises delay?

Many organizations find themselves in need of help to define a cloud transformation project strategy to move to the cloud and are challenged to balance TCO savings with a fear of a lack of control. Some are hesitant to move their mission-critical workloads to the cloud because they worry it may not be as secure as traditional on-premise environments. This fear is real but is unfounded. According to Gartner, “through 2020, public cloud infrastructure as a service (IaaS) workloads will experience at least 60% fewer security incidents than those in traditional data centers.” Still others worry that it will hinder their job security or are stifled by a shortage in skills and resources to drive such a shift in business models. The bottom line is, many organizations are still struggling with their journey to cloud.

How much traction is cloud gaining?

Despite pockets of resistance to make the move, the industry is trending more heavily than ever towards leveraging the cloud. If you take a look at the cloud predictions by Gartner, they predicted that by 2022, cloud spending would be around $257 billion, up from $242 billion in 2019. Fast forward to 2023,  a short four years later, and they are forecasting nearly $600 billion in spending.

It’s not totally far-fetched as most workloads experiencing a 40% or better reduction in the TCO when moving from on premise to the cloud, it seems like a no brainer to make the move. That said, even organizations who have determined they will embrace a cloud strategy will face push back.

How should enterprises approach cloud?

First, the business need to evaluate the mindset and readiness of their organization to move to cloud. This starts with interviewing teams across IT to understand their environment, level of cloud awareness, and existing cloud skills/education levels to learn about any experience with cloud projects. This enables teams to be a part of the discussion while providing valuable insights about their level of readiness.  It also helps identify possible pockets of resistance, and identifies champions across the various teams to help get things rolling and approved.

Next, for any cloud transformation project, they need to build a pipeline of workloads that will come on to the cloud. This begins by identifying the list of applications that are ideal candidates for cloud. From there, they should perform an assessment of the workload’s readiness to move to the cloud and build the migration strategy. Then, they should go forward with seeking approvals to migrate.

From there they should kick off the process of performing the migration of the first workload to the cloud. This includes the primary discovery exercise where they work through the challenges of migrating an app to the cloud. Along the way, it’s important to make note of the challenging elements of the migration effort and how those issues were resolved, learn from the experience and build upon the knowledge. From this, the lessons learned will enhance and accelerate future workload migrations. They build on that knowledge with each new workload to gain momentum and success in their overall cloud journey. The bottom line is in order to scale to the cloud successfully, IT and LOB sponsors need to align with the enterprise.

What’s the best way to gain support and momentum?

Even when a corporate directive has been issued to move to cloud, there are still many pockets of resistance to doing so across the various workload owners.Organizations must educate not only their IT teams but must also help their business owners see the benefits of a cloud model. In order to do so, they should take a regimented approach to the cloud. This starts with building mind share and support for the initiative.

The best way to do this is to gain enterprise-wide commitment and to identify and leverage an executive level sponsor for the program. From there, they must work to identify and assign resources dedicated to the cloud initiative across BCP, legal, security, compliance, and procurement teams. Getting representation from each of these areas is critical to success because these are the team members who will champion the cause and help ensure acceptance across the enterprise. Because the same policies and methods that work for on-premises do not always work well for the cloud, part of this endeavor will include working across these areas of the business to update policies and methods specifically for cloud.

Finally, organizations must then work to secure foundation funding for the cloud initiative. It’s important to note that securing this funding at the enterprise level and not just at the wave or application level is key to success. Securing this funding up front will also help speed up the overall initiative when it comes down to execution.

How can I leverage cloud to my business’s advantage?

Cloud can help modernize an organization’s business. It can turn CapEx to OpEx for predictable spending and the pay-go model ensures they’ll never have underutilized capacity and will only ever pay for what they use, when they use it. The cost savings of 40%+ on average over traditional on premises environments will allow organizations to redirect funds towards projects that drive meaningful results for their business and clients.

In short, building a roadmap and guiding principles for a cloud transformation project is the best way to accelerate an organization’s efforts. Aligning the people, processes, policies, foundational architectures, funding and execution plans up front will ensure they are able to take advantage of the cost savings, speed-to-market, flexibility and scalability, and integration capabilities that only the cloud can provide. In the event that an organization needs help in this journey to cloud, there are plenty of cloud service providers with robust capabilities who can help.

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