CIOs are often tasked with providing a platform and roadmap for technology which enables the business to grow, scale and pivot according to the market demands – all while operating with IT budgets which, more often than not, are shrinking.
Public cloud platforms are the first thought that springs to mind when it comes to future-proof platform and tech.
The uptake in public cloud platforms is growing rapidly and unlocking enormous benefits, as organisations mature with their understanding of the cloud and reach end-of-life with their hardware investments. Gartner forecasts the worldwide public cloud services revenue for 2017 was $260 billion, and expects growth of up to $411b by 2020.
We speak with many customers without the right plan or blueprint, left with a cloud environment they don't understand, cannot articulate what they want to achieve with it, and which is costlier than their on-premises setup.
Planning your cloud initiative? Keep the following five key considerations at the forefront of your thinking.
Why are you building a cloud platform?
Migrating to the cloud is no longer the primary question - getting there with the right strategy and roadmap is.
Start with your key business requirements and ensure there is continuous alignment from both your key decision-makers and your organisation as whole - IT department, operations, etc - to this need.
Focus on what the business is trying to achieve rather than the technology features; an example of this could be a business wanting to reduce time on budgeting and planning, aligning the proven efficiency gains and productivity potential of Azure Cloud to achieve this objective across the organisation.
The technology solution will be shaped by the business and technical requirements derived from the “job” the business needs to do.
What is your long-term operating strategy?
Consider the strategy for when you move from planning and design into BAU; do you see your internal team managing this day to day or do you want to lean on a 3rd party Managed Services Provider (MSP) to manage this?
Organisations have started to transform their internal IT teams to focus on business projects and letting their cloud partners manage their IT projects, changes and unplanned work in order to innovate.
How are you going to measure the success of the initiative?
Firstly, as a business everyone needs to agree to what success means.
The three main areas of success are: deliverable, process and stakeholder.
When establishing the success criteria they need to be aligned with the stated business requirements, weighted and prioritised, agreed upon by all stakeholders and regularly adjusted or reviewed as part of the initiative.
This should be documented; include what data you need to collect to measure success and how you collect them.
Some examples of metrics are: total cost of ownership, speed and rate of change, risk and compliance improvement or enhanced capacity utilisation.
What does the continuous improvement model look like once the cloud goes live?
As part of the planning and design, considerations need to be made around the ongoing improvement of the platform, whether this is done internally or managed by a Managed Services Provider (MSP) such as Xello.
Four common models include Six Sigma, Kaizen, “Fail fast, fail forward” and Perpetual beta.
More on these models can be found here.
What industry regulations and compliance frameworks do I need to adhere to?
Consider security compliance and regulatory compliance.
Some common examples or security or regulatory compliance are:
- Victorian Electronic Records Strategy (VERS)
- APRA Guidelines under CPS 231 and SPS 231: APRA regulated entities must develop contingency plans such as an exit strategy to transition from one arrangement to another
- Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) Cloud Computing Security Considerations
Once you are in the cloud with the right blueprint, the business can use this as a platform to scale, grow and pivot rapidly. This is a result of continuous engagement and alignment with the business, pre and post transformation.
It is also crucial, depending on your operating model, to revisit the cloud blueprint from time to time to ensure that it is still efficiently and effectively meeting your exact business requirements.