To make migration to the cloud as efficient and smooth as possible, it’s important to consider a detailed strategy in advance; this will help avoid unnecessary costs, perform cloud optimization, and, most importantly, align it with the main goals of the business. If you do not have a clear strategy, you can spend a considerable amount of time and resources testing different and often contradictory approaches, without getting any closer to completing the key tasks of the project. Learn how to prevent this and maximize the benefits of cloud migration.
How to create a cloud strategy: key phases
A complete and considered cloud strategy includes many different elements. To avoid confusion or missing out, we suggest you follow the plan below.
1. Determine your business goals
Formulate and capture both your overarching and more specific business goals, then consider how a cloud computing strategy will help you achieve them quicker.
When formulating goals, remember that they should be specific, measurable, and achievable, as well as being significant for the project and time specific where appropriate.
A competently built cloud migration strategy should provide a detailed plan consisting of specific and clear actions that will finally lead you to the realization of the overall project goals.
Strategic business goals can be:
- Engaging new customers
- Improving business processes
- Increasing the competitiveness of the company
- Business growth and expansion
- Accelerating the development and release of new products
2. Analyze your current business context
When developing a cloud strategy, analyze your current assets and problems. Consider which components of your project you can improve, and which processes can be optimized and accelerated by migrating them to the cloud. We recommend that you analyze the following components:
- Hardware condition
- Server distributivity
- Volume of memory and computing power required to operate various applications
To get the most objective and accurate view, brainstorm with specialists and managers from various company departments.
3. Assess the current state of the IT architecture
Every project has its own unique features, so there is no single plan for building a strategy that works for everyone. When preparing to migrate your business to the cloud, answer this question: how can application cloud migration improve every aspect of your project and get you closer to achieving your business goals? This analysis will help you build a complete view.
Assess the current state of your overall project architecture, infrastructure, hardware, applications, key goals and metrics.
Consider what solutions and practices that require investments and long-term implementation you’ve avoided so far: now may be the time to implement them.
4. Create model of your desired cloud
Now you need to visualize your future corporate architecture, including cloud computing, and choose a cloud provider.
Determine what exactly you expect from the cloud in full detail: how and for what purposes do you plan to use it. Consider what specific steps will get you closest to your business goals and answer the following questions:
- What technology will help you accomplish your goals?
- What applications do you plan to run in the cloud?
- How important is asset control to you?
- What metrics will you consider when evaluating the target state of the cloud?
Make a list of requirements for your cloud provider and analyze the conditions offered by different cloud solutions. In addition, identify which solutions best fit your strategy and allow you to achieve your project goals. Evaluate the advantages and weaknesses of each cloud provider and choose the most suitable one specifically for your business.
5. Analyze gaps and action planning
Once you’ve chosen a cloud provider, you need to carefully review all of its offerings again and identify possible gaps — things that could obstruct your ability to achieve your business tasks and become problematic when migrating to the cloud. Finding inconsistencies will help you migrate to the cloud with a sufficiently accurate budget calculation and avoid unpleasant surprises.
- Assess possible technology gaps and problems in IT processes. Consider what activities can reduce them.
- Prioritize each of the possible gaps.
- Develop a cloud strategy roadmap of actions that will help solve the identified issues.
Once you have analyzed the possible gaps, discuss them again with your cloud solutions provider. Develop a final plan for moving to cloud strategy, taking into account this new block and focusing on the main goals of your project.
6. Evaluate the possible risks
In addition to the many benefits, cloud migration can also bring some risks. It’s best to anticipate these at the strategy planning stage and think about how to minimize them in advance.
So, what should you pay attention to?
- Cloud security strategy. One of the most important issues to address at the start is that you could lose control of your applications operation and databases if security measures are not maintained. Find out how your cloud provider secures information in the cloud and what methods they use.
- Data confidentiality. Under local legislation, law enforcement agencies can access data and personal information stored in the cloud. Keep in mind that in certain situations this can happen without the user’s knowledge.
- Ability to achieve your tasks. By storing data with a third-party and allowing them to process the information, you are taking some risks and making yourself dependent on the cloud services provider. Try to gather feedback on your future partner in advance and discuss with the provider such aspects as a clear scoping of work, consistency in project management, results presentation, responsibility, and reporting.
7. Organize your cloud strategy plan
The result of the previous six steps should be a detailed plan that outlines all the steps in your cloud migration and their timelines. This document will give you a clear understanding of the costs, the benefits you will receive as a result of the migration, possible challenges and risks, and how to overcome them.
Adhering to a cloud implementation strategy tailored to your project will help you maximize the benefits of cloud migration and get new tools for business development, saving your team time and resources for more creative tasks.
If you are unsure whether you can develop a comprehensive and detailed cloud smart strategy on your own, you can use the services of a professional DevOps development company. When choosing such a contractor, pay attention to their experience in the field, the number of successful cases, and customer feedback.
Private cloud infrastructure design allows you to prepare for cloud migration as efficiently as possible. A complete and detailed road map will help you take into account all aspects and risks, and establish options for solving possible problems. It will also save you from being distracted by comparatively unimportant issues so that you can fullyr focus on solving the main goals of your specific project.