4 simple rules to start your cloud journey

Over the past 5 years, I have been working with many businesses on how they transform their internal IT Service offering into a more flexible, cloud ready organisation. Each and every time the same themes and challenges start to crop up. Therefore, I thought I would write up a quick post on some basic rules that should help:

Rule 1 – Ask your customers what they want.

This sounds like an obvious point, but you would be surprised how many times you will assume what they want. Following this first rule will make sure you don’t fall foul to the ‘Build it and they will come’ philosophy.

Utilise experienced business analysts, architects and project managers to sit down with the various business units and map out what they see as a blocker when requesting an IT service, what they mean by ‘cloud’ and how they feel your IT department can meet their needs.

An example of a previous customer was an assumption that the business simply wanted a portal in which they can start/stop and rebuild virtual machines. However, after a number of workshops, it became apparent their biggest want was to simply get a virtual machine up and running, without a long process.

Rule 2 – Bring everyone on the Journey

One thing you can be sure on when it comes to moving to the cloud, is everyone has their own thoughts on what the cloud is, which one to use and any risks that may or may not exist. These beliefs are normally hard to change late on in the project and will turn into blockers, holding the project up or even stopping it in its tracks!

Therefore, I highly recommend that you bring in key stakeholders from multiple teams from day one, get everyone on board with that challenges you are trying to resolve. Once everyone gets involved, they start to see their concerns being taken on board, and resolved.

Rule 3 – People and Process – Not Technology!

Everyone knows what it is like when you get a group of techies in the room to solve a problem! The biggest risk I have seen with any cloud adoption strategy is the focus on technology, and not the people and process.

Technology is a key enabler for moving to the cloud, with different tools that focus on Infrastructure as Code, Configuration Management and the various management capabilities. However, simply delivering a technology stack will not provide the key benefits provided by a cloud strategy.

Focus on key processes that will need to be adapted to fit in with the flexibility provided by the ‘as a service’ model. I can guarantee the hardest process to adapt will involve the finances, and how charge back/show back will work when moving to an Opex model.

Rule 4 – Don’t be afraid to ask!

My final rule for starting your cloud journey is not to be afraid of asking what the community and industry are doing! The cloud isn’t bleeding edge any more, and many customers have already hit the challenges that you face. Make sure you speak with vendors, consultants, engineers and social networks on how they are getting on.

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