Cloud computing is the technology that enables users to store and access their data and programs over the internet instead of relying on computers or external hard drives. Today, cloud computing has gained significant importance. It provides extensive flexibility and cost management to its users who otherwise may have to stay limited or spend more money for storing extra data. Furthermore, the cloud infrastructure improves energy efficiency and supports environmental needs effectively by reducing paper waste, physical products, and hardware. Besides, it provides high-end security as well. The economics of cloud computing permits its users to store much data at a low-cost people. It has successfully convinced many people to take up a cloud service provider. However, while people can comfortably use cloud computing services, not many are aware of the importance of planning a cloud strategy.
Importance of Planning a Cloud Strategy
Currently, there are several cloud services available over the internet. However, data analysts and researchers have shown that only a few have witnessed significant growth through cloud services. One of the critical findings contributing to various cloud service providers' success and failure was a cloud strategy. Most cloud service providers have focused primarily on delivering a straightforward "Cloud-First Approach." While the process did provide them with initial impetus, it lacked sustainability and retention capabilities in the long run as others have had better cloud services. The better cloud services come directly with a better cloud strategy. Hence, a cloud strategy is essential, but what is a cloud strategy?
Cloud strategy is essentially a method or guide that allows an organization to balance the essentials of cloud services while maintaining risk exposure and usability. Furthermore, it increases the visibility and branding of a cloud service. However, the process of managing the internal and external services in cloud computing can become overwhelming. But the lack of it can leave any cloud service provider with less guidance, more maintenance cost, and a poorly configured environment that eventually pushes away the cloud service users. Therefore it is also essential to plan a suitable economics of cloud computing strategy to reap more benefits from it.
Steps to Plan a Cloud Strategy
Cloud strategies have become instrumental in providing a competitive edge to an enterprise providing cloud services. However, enterprises must not rely on a blue-printed cloud strategy cause there is none. Different cloud service providers may have additional requirements and can further help to address poor cloud computing behaviors too. However, all of them can follow these six steps to plan a cloud strategy that can work for them effectively.
Decide the Business Objectives
The first and foremost step involved in planning a cloud strategy is to define your business objectives. Once the business objectives get set, it can define realistic goals from it and decide business capabilities. Furthermore, it can even help align future cloud strategies through targets and measures it needs to meet in an organization or enterprise.
Assess the IT Architecture
While focusing on the technical aspects of setting up a cloud strategy is critically important, one must ignore the architecture. A cloud computing system will not deliver on the planned business objectives without taking the business architecture into the technical implementation roadmap. So, please focus on the analysis part of business IT architecture is essential to help improvise and rework the existing roadmap towards a flawless cloud implementation.
Future State Analysis
One of the reasons cloud strategy is important is its ability to provide long-term benefits and growth to a cloud business. It is why a future state analysis is essential as it helps to develop a vision that positively impacts the business processes of the cloud deployment. Future state analysis must include cloud security, account authentication, and confidentiality of the user identification.
The fit-gap analysis allows cloud services to identify any gaps or issues that can affect the cloud services. It requires an in-depth assessment of the cloud investment and architectural planning to evaluate and streamline the planned cloud strategy's secure and dependable implementation.
Once the business objectives are defined, and all the fit-gap analyses and future state analyses are considered, the organization must assess the risk involved in the cloud strategy implementation. A risk-aware cloud strategy can potentially be the difference-maker in finalizing the success and failure of the cloud business. A business risk assessment critically involves two types of risk which are:
Delivery Risk involves failing to deliver the required capabilities because of poor project management, lack of clarity, and unreliable vendors.
Benefit-Risk: It involves mainly the lack of awareness of the business depth that can bring immense benefits. It occurs due to the improper alignment of the business with the IT department, undefined metrics, and improper technical standards.
It is the final step in planning a cloud strategy to deliver viable quality and high-end cloud computing services to the users and gain benefits and an edge in the cloud market. A proper cloud implementation requires establishing a management framework that can effectively arrange and distribute the cloud functionalities to deploy an integrated cloud strategy.
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