Finding The Right Approach To Cloud: A Guide To Cloud Smarter

March 18, 2021 6 min Read

If you have been with us over the last few weeks, you know that we have been asking you to Cloud Different™, with the three key elements of Cloud Different™ being to Cloud Smarter, Cloud Safer, and Cloud Simplified. Today, I am going to dig a little deeper into Cloud Smarter.

As we look back to the last fifteen years of cloud, we have seen a couple of different approaches that organizations have typically taken on their cloud transformation journeys.

  • Big Upfront Design (BUD)
  • Greenfield
  • Cloud First

BUD consists of an organization spending 6-12 months (sometimes far longer) to staff a cloud team, hire a consultant to do a long inventory and create a cloud strategy, pick a primary and a secondary cloud provider, develop a deep technical architecture, document all the security processes and procedures and so on and so forth. In BUD, the process is expensive but you don’t see any real business value for a really long time.

Greenfield consists of an organization starting with a brand new application and picking a team or two to build that application in the cloud. There typically isn’t a lot of planning before the team starts, the team will pick the cloud they will use based on either specific needs of their application or on what cloud the developers think is the coolest or the best for their career. The application will get built taking advantage of all the latest and greatest cloud features that fit their application and will likely be a big success. The project will run smoothly, the application will be delivered, the developers will be happy, and then… what? There has likely been little thought about cost, operations, or reuse for the next application that comes along. So not only does the team now have to figure that out, but the next team to come along will basically be starting over from scratch.

Cloud First consists of the leaders of an organization making a big strategic declaration, typically as part of their IT strategic planning process. “We are going to go Cloud First!” The leaders pick their favorite platform and everyone starts to move. Processes get put in place, teams start getting trained, applications start getting moved. We get all sorts of pretty charts and graphs about the number of migrations and the number of certifications and everybody gets excited. But often the organization gets a year or two into the process and begins to lose steam. So much focus was put on just getting started that they realize they have spent a bunch of money on their transformation and are now spending more money on their cloud bill than they expected. Some of their applications just aren’t working very well. And they still have such a long way to go. The leaders start to question the whole effort. Cloud First can be a great way to inspire an organization and get forward movement but if you aren’t careful, it is really easy for business outcomes to get left behind.

Having seen organizations all across the world struggle with these three approaches, we are suggesting a different way. We believe an organization should Cloud Smarter as part of an overall multi-cloud strategy.

What do we mean when we tell you to Cloud Smarter? We believe that you Cloud Smarter by following a three-step process of Assess, Align, and Act.

  1. Assess – Through the use of sophisticated tooling, it is possible to inventory your complete IT Landscape in a very short period of time. And by monitoring your landscape for a period of time (typically 1 month), we can also determine performance as well as the flow of data between workloads. This data allows our tooling and our experts to help determine which workloads are best suited for which cloud and can help to estimate the current TCO of your IT Landscape as well as predict the optimal TCO in a multi-cloud environment.
  2. Align – Cost isn’t the only factor in a cloud migration. It is important to align the data from the assessment with your business priorities before finalizing your plan. Considering other factors such as data sovereignty, regulations, organizational skillset, and many others can all influence the right place to land your workloads.
  3. Act – Here is where the rubber meets the road. Time to architect your migration plan and start moving into the cloud that is the best fit for each application and its business priorities. Then once you have moved your application into the cloud, it is critical that you continue to monitor and adjust to deliver against your targets for performance and cost.

These steps will allow you to accelerate your cloud journey and will allow you to extract significant additional value over what you have been doing to date. In fact, we have seen this play out with multiple clients over the last several years to migrate as much as 80% of their workloads into a cloud operating model in as little as 6 months with an average of 4x the business value.

If you’d like to learn more about what it means to Cloud Different™, check out our ebook. If you’d like to learn more about how to Cloud Smarter, check out our recent webinar on the topic. And if you want to start on your journey to Cloud Smarter, begin with a complimentary assessment. We’d be happy to help you get your cloud journey back on the right path as you Cloud Different™.

Michael Fulton Michael Fulton

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