Cloud computing is high on the list of IT priorities for corporate companies. To achieve its cost optimization targets, an enterprise may opt for cloud computing but has to have a clear cloud strategy to implement it.
Setting up an enterprise cloud is a strategic and sequential process:
- Outline business objectives
- Identify the right cloud and cloud provider
- Plan and architect the cloud
- Estimate the costs
- Ascertain the security implications
- Monitor and stay compliant
In this post, we’ll leave you with a primer on outlining a great cloud strategy in the form of six simple questions.
Why cloud computing?
Being cognizant of the primary reason(s) behind setting up the cloud is the quintessential first step. Is technology your business backbone? Or is the cloud aimed at future-proofing your business assets? If it’s the former, then the choices will always revolve around reducing costs, driving revenues, boosting productivity, or a combination. If it’s the latter, though, then the considerations, amongst costs, should be on accessibility, recovery, security and compliances. This, not saying that the two would ever be exclusive.
What are your business needs?
Moving from traditional channels to the cloud is often a transformation exercise. Listing your business needs for the present and future helps identify cloud providers with the relevant technology to match your futuristic requirements. Especially in an enterprise setting, planning for 5 years down the line reaps huge benefits.
This also helps recognize the right cloud architecture for the business that will conform to, comply with and secure all the business processes, standards and procedures.
Which cloud should I go for?
The choice of a cloud is one of the longest standing debates in the internet world. Public clouds (AWS, Azure, GCP etc.) let you get started immediately and also tempt you with credits and other monetary benefits. However, achieving economies of scale with public clouds requires time and a strong focus on technology as the business backbone. Public clouds are more popular with start-ups as these take away the headache of managing infrastructure and allow startups to be agile.
Private clouds, on the other hand, don’t offer monetary benefits, but since the underlying infrastructure is all yours, these, technically, give the most flexibility. Private and hybrid clouds are great options for maturing businesses who have a handle on data security, compliance as well as finances.
What is my business model?
If the primary reason is to future-proof your business assets, running and maintenance costs would more or less span the entire consideration spectrum.
However, if you’re a technology-led business, e.g., software, banking, e-commerce etc., there needs to be considerable thought given to your business model. Are you offering standalone software? Is it hosted on-premise? Will it be available to users over the internet? What is the licensing model? Do you plan on releasing APIs for developers to tinker with and extend your software? Are you providing your offering in an ‘as-a-service’ fashion? Are you providing infrastructure?
These questions are paramount to building the right cloud strategy. In other words, you want your business to run and scale on the cloud, and not keep running into infrastructure management issues.
How transformable are my processes?
Your key business processes can and will evolve over time. Ideally, if you plan to move to the cloud, you would want to ‘improve’ your processes. Or optimise them, in other words. You don’t want manual process bottlenecks to slow down the overall efficiency of your business.
To answer this question, you will have to open up to the possibilities of more automation and fewer manual interventions. Think along the lines of assisted workflows. While you yourself may be a proponent of automation goodness, other process owners in your organisation may not. At the same time, process improvement, while on everyone’s wishlist, has clear costs associations.
In other words, cloud strategy is a total mindset transformation, with execution being the easier part that follows.
What are the trends?
Lastly, you may not need to ‘follow’ trends, but the minds driving the transformation to the cloud need to be on top of trends. Technology has grown more in the last 5 years, than the 40 years combined before that. For example, hardware gave way to virtualisation, which has given way to containers. Software, which started as machine-installable, have created subscription economies.
Whether you’re a technology-led business or otherwise, familiarising yourself with these nuances will go a long way in taking the right decisions for your business.
We call ourselves technology-business experts. As one of the fastest growing cloud computing startups in Asia, we work globally and help businesses design, architect, setup, manage and monetise clouds and cloud offerings. And we’re always happy to chat over a cup of coffee.