Defining Your Cloud Strategy

According to Gartner, the global public cloud service market is projected to reach $266 billion by the end of 2020.  Additionally, more than $1.3 TRILLION in IT spending will be affected by the shift to the cloud by 2022.  It is clear this shift to the cloud from small businesses up through the largest enterprises is growing exponentially.  Organizations of all sizes adopt the cloud to help drive business transformation, such as process and product improvement, market growth, and increased profitability. The cloud delivers fundamental technology benefits that can help businesses execute multiple business strategies.  With cloud-based approaches, you can become more agile, reduce costs, accelerate time to market, and enable expansion into new markets.  Understanding the advantages of cloud adoption to a service like Microsoft Azure is important, but there are still remaining questions of Why/When/How do we migrate?   

Fortunately, Microsoft has developed a process to help, Cloud Adoption Framework for Azure. Per Microsoft“The Cloud Adoption Framework is the One Microsoft approach to cloud adoption in Azure, consolidating and sharing best practices from Microsoft employees, partners, and customers. The framework gives customers a set of tools, guidance, and narratives that help shape technology, business, and people strategies for driving desired business outcomes during their adoption effort. This guidance aligns to the following phases of the cloud adoption lifecycle, ensuring easy access to the right guidance at the right time.” 

Ultimately, the Cloud Adoption Framework helps customers undertake a simplified cloud journey in three main stages:  

  • Plan 
  • Ready 
  • Adopt 

These three main stages are preceded by a business strategy phase and surrounded by an operations phase that expands through the cloud adoption journey.  The below graphic illustrates this process: 

 

Courtesy of Microsoft: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/learn/modules/microsoft-cloud-adoption-framework-for-azure/3-define-strategy 

Across organizations of all types, sizes, and industries, the decision to invest in cloud technologies is often tightly connected to a critical business event. The reason for this connection is because the cloud might enable the appropriate solution for the event. Proper cloud technology implementation might turn a reactive response into an innovation opportunity to drive growth for the organization. 

Motivations 

There are many different motivations and triggers for cloud adoption: cost savings, operations optimization, gaining scale, reducing vendor complexity, increased agility etc.  These will often differ for each business, but the advantages to seize upon opportunities that come from migrating to the cloud are somewhat universal and could include: 

Critical Business Events  Migration Motivations  Innovation Motivations 
Mergers, acquisition, or divestiture

Reductions in capital expenses

End of support for mission-critical technologies

Response to regulatory compliance changes

Meet new data sovereignty requirements

Reduce disruptions and improve IT stability

Reduction in vendor or technical complexity

Optimization of internal operations

Increase business agility

Prepare for new technical capabilities

Scale to meet market demands

Scale to meet geographic or market demands

Build new technical capabilities

Modernize security posture and controls

Scale to meet geographic or market demands

Improve customer experiences and engagements

Transform products or services

Disrupt the market with new products or services

 

 

Table courtesy of Microsoft Azure 

 

 

 

Courtesy of Microsoft: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/learn/modules/microsoft-cloud-adoption-framework-for-azure/3-define-strategy 

While defining your cloud strategy, considering business impact, turnaround time, performance and more are important.  They allow you to see more clearly the areas of focus.  

Establish clear business outcomes and define business justifications for adoption  

Having a business outcome in mind that is backed by sound financial reasoning and support from the various stakeholders greatly increase the chances of a successful cloud adoption journey.  There are some tools available that can support you during the financial planning process: 

  • Azure Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) Calculator: Use the TCO calculator to estimate the cost savings you can realize by migrating your application workloads to Azure. 
  • Azure pricing calculator: Estimate your expected monthly bill by using the pricing calculator. 
  • Azure Cost Management: Use and manage Azure and other cloud resources through a multiple-cloud cost management solution. 

Developing a clear business justification for cloud adoption with tangible, relevant costs and returns can be a complex process. First, review some common cloud computing business value areas to help justify the cloud adoption journey: 

  • Cost – eliminates capital expense 
  • Scale – ability to scale elastically, delivering the right amount of IT resources 
  • Productivity – removes the need for many IT management chores 
  • Reliability – eases the burden of data backup, disaster recovery, and business continuity 

Overall, it is important to understand that cloud adoption is a journey that can transform how you do business.  It is a decision that requires sound thought and planning, from technical and financial stakeholders, and complete transparency and buy-in from staff to have the best chances of success. 

 

 

 

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