Here, Kevin Turner, Digital Workplace Strategy Lead at Unisys, provides some top tips on how your business can create a successful cloud transformation strategy
Many organisations are turning to the cloud to accelerate innovation, deliver services more cost-effectively, and to improve reaction times within a changing environment. As a result, cloud computing is increasing in popularity and is fast becoming a critical component of enterprise IT.
Research by Gartner confirms this, as it found that by 2020 anything other than a cloud-only strategy for new IT initiatives will require justification at more than 30% of large-enterprise organisations. Additionally, by 2021 more than half of enterprises already using cloud will adopt an all-in cloud strategy.
What’s more, in 2013, the government introduced a ‘Cloud First’ policy advising that all public sector organisations should consider cloud solutions above all else when procuring new or existing services, with the public cloud being the preferred deployment model to achieve this ‘cloud first’ vision.
While organisations race to reap the rewards of the cloud, such as cost savings, flexibility and competitive advantage, are they aware of the potential pitfalls? As revealed in our Cloud Success Barometer research, despite 93% of organisations noting they are migrating to the cloud for critical IT requirements, only a third (30%) say they have failed to realise notable benefits from cloud computing, largely because they have not integrated their adoption plan as a core part of their broader business transformation strategy.
What’s more, 77% of senior business leaders say that cloud transformation is a business issue – not simply an issue for the CIO – but only 32% of organisations have strategically planned for it.
To help plan a successful cloud transformation strategy, here are a few top tips to consider:
Build a business case
It is up to IT leaders to make a solid business case for migrating to the cloud. Organisations need to demonstrate how it could help the business achieve its goals. Perhaps the migration will improve security, employee productivity, or reduce operational costs? By explaining how this move will have a positive effect on the business’ bottom line, this will help secure the backing from colleagues.
Voyage of discovery
Conducting a “discovery process” is essential at the outset to review applications, using a portfolio approach to understand business requirements, app dependencies, financial investments and stakeholder expectations. Armed with the results from the discovery process, the migration teams need to work with stakeholders to determine the right treatment path for cloud migration.
By choosing multiple cloud providers, businesses can take advantage of the best parts of each providers’ services, customising to suit their needs and expectations as they go. Additionally, a multi-cloud strategy gives organisations greater ownership over their data, reduces risk in case of downtime, and arms them with negotiating leverage. It lets them shop around for their varying service needs among multiple vendors.
No move to the cloud is complete without cloud-enabled networking. It extends an enterprise’s network, at any data centre gateway, with secure private connections that enable a scalable and robust multi-cloud networking infrastructure.
Secure legacy workloads
Security compliance is a challenge when migrating to a multitenancy cloud environment. There are situations where applications need to be deployed across clouds and on-premise data centres in a highly distributed architecture that is hard to secure. Organisations should, therefore, invest in automation for both security controls and secure configuration compliance.
Training and compliance
Once all the technical elements of a business’ migration are in place, ensuring that employees are prepared for the change is the next step. There should be structured training around the migration, and education to make sure that organisations combat any company culture clashes early on. Organisations then need to speak with their colleagues both before and after the migration and bring them on the journey.
Innovation should be at the core of any organisation that wants to remain competitive and cloud computing is an essential component of any innovative organisational strategy. In addition to cost savings, organisations that move critical applications to the cloud can also benefit from operational efficiencies, competitive advantages and the freedom to focus on core business competencies rather than issues related to setting up and maintaining infrastructure.
By implementing these top tips, organisations can gain the benefits from migrating to the cloud, by ensuring their cloud transformation strategy is a success.
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