80% of businesses report improvements in their operations after adopting the cloud and performing successful migrations, as part of their digital transformation.
It’s clear that, for most organizations, cloud implementation is a necessary component of maintaining competitiveness in the marketplace.
Any attempt to successfully migrate to the cloud must be meticulously planned, because without first developing some cloud adoption strategies it’s likely your transition to the cloud would be disastrous.
The best way to plan your cloud deployment is to develop a cloud roadmap (ideally with the help of cloud strategy and planning experts).
In this blog, we’re going to outline the 6 main stages of a cloud roadmap strategy (also known as a cloud strategy framework) that must be followed in order to implement a successful cloud migration. Also, we’ll be describing some of the top types of software and digital items that are most benefited by switching to a cloud native system.
What is a Cloud Strategy Roadmap (Exactly)
A cloud strategy roadmap is a specifically-crafted plan designed to ensure your organization has identified what it wants from its cloud transition and how that will be achieved.
It’s a good way for IT teams and stakeholders to collaborate and align on goals before implementing any migration attempts. A cloud strategy roadmap will include key tasks to be completed and deadlines to be met so that there aren’t any missed steps in the process when migrating your identified workloads onto either:
- Your own cloud servers
- Other providers’ data centers
It’s important to abide exactly by the cloud roadmap strategy laid out by your IT team, executive and internal stakeholders, as it essentially acts as your unique guide to a successful cloud adoption plan of action, the following of which ensures your core IT functions are both retained and enhanced by the act of moving to a cloud-based operating model.
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Your Cloud Strategy Roadmap: 6 Essential Stages
As determined by numerous cloud strategy and planning firms, here are the 6 must-have stages every business should incorporate when creating their cloud strategy roadmap.
Align Your Cloud Implementation Team on All Objectives
A good cloud planning strategy starts by ensuring your team understands your business’s overall goals for adoption and aligns them with your company’s IT goals.
Then you must identify action steps that will get you there —such as defining KPIs, metrics and the timeline in which you want to measure success once these strategies have been implemented into day-to-day work routines.
Migration is often seen either solely from an applications perspective (i.,e., “App1 goes into IVA”) or across silos within different departments like marketing/sales which are primarily focused on only the end result and UX. It’s imperative that all departments are aligned on goals and there are no silos of segmented information from one another.
Create a Decisive Plan of Action for Your Cloud Implementation Project Plan
This stage of the cloud strategy roadmap will outline the specific steps you need to take during implementation.
First you must choose the right cloud computing provider for your needs and negotiate a contract that works for you. Then you must build out any missing capabilities in your IT asset infrastructure such as network, security and other tools.
It’s at this stage of planning your cloud computing strategies as well that you should clearly identify each and every digital asset you plan on migrating to the cloud, whether it’s part or all of your current IT stack. It’s very common for businesses to live in a hybrid environment where some assets are on-premise and some in the cloud, but more and more companies are considering a heavy cloud presence, as technology advances.
In general, most businesses choose to migrate their:
- Email Servers
- ERP and Collaborative Software (like Oracle, databases and applications)
- Digital Phone Systems
- Corporate Data
- Customer Data
- Mission-Critical Workloads
- IT Resources
- Business Applications
Ensure that your cloud provider is one that will be able to meet your cloud computing needs now and in the future.
Perform a Proof of Concept
Here, it’s important to perform a proof of concept, or pilot, before transitioning critical business functions. During this stage you will want to:
- Finalize workloads for migration
- Thoroughly test the migration process
- Define your cloud management workflow
- Adopt implementation best practices
- Analyze how workloads perform in the cloud
If managed correctly, your organization will notice a substantial improvement in the performance of your essential IT assets once effectively moved to the cloud, thanks to this particular stage.
Establish Ongoing Governance to Mitigate Risk
Migrating to the cloud is an exciting opportunity for your business, but it’s important that you take precautions.
The goal of a successful migration includes setting up robust processes and automating tasks throughout this process so they can be done without interruption or disruption in workflow – which also means being aware of what sensitive data might exist on-premises as well (and how much access each person has).
You must maintain constant governance of the new, specific cloud system you’ve set up in order to ensure your cloud service doesn’t create more problems than it provides solutions. This includes having a clear guideline as to who can do what, how to purchase what you need, and limit who has access to provision cloud resources. It’s also important to know what your process is to de-provision your cloud assets so you can stop any unnecessary spending.
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Scale and Optimize
At this point in your cloud strategy roadmap, your cloud instances should be running smoothly.
You should consider making investments that will improve your existing use and help address any operational challenges you might be facing as an organization – such as aligning all stakeholders around a need for continuous development or optimization.
It is also important to work with a cloud partner that can provide ongoing guidance and expertise to ensure you are getting the most out of your cloud solution. Because business needs are constantly shifting, you may demand more or less of your cloud environment at any given time. Your cloud partner can review everything from your licensing and consumption to applications and virtual machines and make recommendations to increase efficiencies and reduce spend.
Keep Your Cloud Secure
Many organizations struggle to determine where their cloud service provider (CSP)’s responsibilities end and their own responsibilities begin, which opens them to numerous vulnerabilities. It’s important to remember the cloud is a shared responsibility, especially when it comes to security.
Ongoing success of your cloud-based digital transformation will hinge upon the continued collaboration of your internal teams to ensure cloud security best practices are being followed.
Your CIO, dev leaders and team members, operation leads and team, plus any cloud experts on your staff/third party vendors, all need to work together in order to ensure your singular or multi-cloud solution is configured correctly to establish visibility, reduce threats, and provide maximum benefits to your business for the long term.
Getting Qualified, Expert Help Planning Your Cloud Strategy Roadmap
Here at Buchanan, we have been helping businesses of all sizes, in all industries successfully plan and migrate their essential IT assets to the cloud for over a decade.
We have the right experience, business acumen and technical expertise to ensure that your cloud solution is implemented correctly and continues to work for you in perpetuity.
If you have questions about what kind of cloud strategy roadmap is required by your business, talk to us today and set up a free consultation. We’ll work with you to identify your exact needs and create a plan together.