Despite the strong interest in public and private cloud infrastructures, few best practices on implementation are widely accepted. Many organizations are still determining the similarities and differences with traditional forms of computing. The temptation is often to lead with a technology solution, but a broader view on how the technology will be aligned to a long-term business strategy — as well as implemented, supported, optimized and updated on an ongoing basis — is needed. By considering the specific aspects of cloud infrastructure together with a structured approach to IT strategy, it’s possible to align cloud usage to your business goals and avoid wasting resources that ultimately put your organization at risk.
Here are three steps you can take to help you get started:
Step 1: Determine the benefits
While this step may seem obvious, organizations still need to come together to figure out how cloud can be the best option for a specific application or workload. IT teams must sit together with business decision makers and internal stakeholders to determine a cloud infrastructure’s suitability to help the organization meet its business goals. Begin with a clear articulation of cloud’s benefits and challenges and discuss the nature of the application, the workload, the data and industry regulations or business requirements to be supported. A total cost of ownership (TCO) calculation is also a helpful first step when determining the scope and benefits of a cloud infrastructure for your business.
Step 2: Find the right cloud model for your business
Once a workload or application is identified as a good candidate for the cloud, the next step is to find the right cloud fit for your organization. Identify the factors that are important to your business such as security, compliance, ease of integration, post-sales services and/or support. You should also take the time to align your cloud strategy to your existing IT strategy. For example, your IT organization may have existing infrastructure they wish to keep that is aligned to a previous purchase cycle. Then make sure economics play a role in your choice.
Step 3: Create a go-forward plan
Once the business needs are identified, there are a number of considerations that must be understood when looking at the broad range of possible solutions. These include architecture, operating mode, governance, sourcing and culture. One of the best ways to do this is to determine roles and responsibilities. For example, many routine tasks once performed by in-house staff are now the responsibility of the cloud service provider. Identify who will provision, perform system backups and other administrative functions. Discuss how post-sales services such as consumption plans or managed services will be handled and ensure your cloud-governance framework includes a set of policies and standard practices with proper checks and balances. Don’t forget to create a line of communication between business unit owners, IT teams and C-suite executives to ensure cloud challenges are not swept under the table only to reappear later.
At Nortal, we help customers achieve these steps and successful cloud deployments through our cloud workshops. Our global experience has led us to examine business problems in depth and align cloud usage to help solve them. Nortal’s work with the Estonian government to deliver citizen services is a great example of this. We created about one-third of what is known as Estonia’s e-Governance information systems. This includes the e-Tax solution, Telia’s self-service, the census IT system, the e-Ticket system for ferry transportation, Unemployment Insurance Fund information systems and much more. And in each case, a cloud workshop was the first step.
To find out more about Nortal and how our cloud workshops can help your organization achieve business success, contact us.