Do you need a cloud strategy?

With all of the press and hype around cloud computing, it’s easy to get the impression that every organization has made the leap to cloud with relative ease. Sadly, this is not always the case. Implementing cloud solutions in a large enterprise requires planning, and most importantly, a strategy.

In CIO circles, cloud computing is no longer considered bleeding edge. More than a third of current IT budgets are allocated to cloud solutions. More impressively, 86% of the respondents to a CIO survey by IDG Research have said that they have cloud projects planned or in progress. 65% of those surveyed say that their enterprises depend on cloud technologies.

Incredibly, only 37% of the respondents to the same poll indicated that they have an enterprise cloud strategy. Research indicates that companies with an enterprise cloud strategy are successful at using the cloud to reduce costs, increase efficiency, and improve business agility. Quite frankly, it pays to have a cloud strategy.

An enterprise cloud strategy provides a structured method to incorporate cloud technologies into the IT portfolio. Cloud technologies are now mature enough to offer real opportunities to those organizations that are willing to embrace and plan appropriately.

Creating a cloud strategy can offer a lot of advantages. When creating a cloud strategy, it is important to consider the following:

  • The business value of the new technology. How is the technology going to impact the business, both positively and negatively?

  • Where does the technology fit in the existing IT portfolio? Recognize that cloud computing is another set of solutions, but may not necessarily replace the existing IT portfolio. Cloud is similar to the advent of web technologies in the mid-90’s, it’s a shift in thinking. Enterprises need to expand their IT strategies to include new technologies, including cloud.

  • Cloud requires organizational change management. Cloud solutions changes the way a IT operates, as well as the CIO’s span of control.

The important point to note is that defining a cloud strategy prior to implementation is the key to avoiding unmanageable “cloud sprawl”. Think of building a network of highways – it is much better to start with a plan for where the highways lead and where they intersect.

Each organization will achieve a different ROI, depending on their business requirements, current infrastructure, applications, and readiness to consume cloud based services. The key is to understand your current environment and work with a trusted partner who has deep experience in deploying cloud technologies. This will insure you have a transparent view of the road ahead. This view encompasses the risks and rewards of embracing cloud technologies and candid conversations about where they do and don’t fit in your environment.