The difference between a Cloud Strategy and Cloud Implementation Plan
Most organizations put together a cloud implementation plan when moving to the cloud. Fewer organizations put together a cloud strategy document. A cloud strategy answers the “what” and “why” questions, while a cloud implementation plan answers the “how” questions. Even if you have already moved to the cloud, developing a cloud strategy is still essential to maximize the benefits of the cloud.
What should my Cloud Strategy document contain?
The main topic areas should include:
Executive Summary – summary of drivers, challenges, and significant steps. This section outlines the “why” you are moving to the cloud, including expectations. If you are already in the cloud, are you getting the expected benefits? It also includes your cloud council members and roles.
Baselines – include your cloud computing baseline definitions and business baseline. For the business baseline, summarize the top-level business strategy, desired business outcomes, and business transformation initiatives, including potential benefits and risks.
Brainstorming – focus on services strategy such as when to consume, when to build, and how to secure, manage and govern hybrid environments. In addition, review the financial aspects of the cloud, including pricing, chargebacks, payment models, and evaluating Capex vs. Opex. Exploring and documenting all of these areas ensures understanding of all options. It also helps re-evaluate these areas if already in the cloud to ensure you get the most value.
Principles – determine your organization’s core strategy such as cloud-first, buy before build (using SaaS), multi-cloud environments, or hybrid cloud options. These may change over time depending upon your business goals.
Inventory – an assessment of where you are today workload by workload to determine performance characteristics. For example, if you have a typical enterprise application that is already virtualized and running efficiently in your data center, doesn’t vary much, and doesn’t have peak workloads, there may be no benefit in moving it to the cloud.
Alignment – covers security, governance, and compliance. State your security principles, including governance (who is responsible) and industry compliance needs. Make sure your cloud provider can meet those expectations.
Exit strategy – this may be the most critical part of the strategy. Develop your acceptable T&C’s and SLAs to compare against proposed cloud providers. Review your cloud contact to determine data ownership, backup and portability if you decide to exit. Sometimes the most challenging part about leaving your cloud provider is not terminating the contract but unraveling the technology.
Like any other document, your cloud strategy should be regularly reviewed and updated.
How do I get started?
Dewpoint is here to help you. We have infrastructure and operations professionals available to assist you in either developing a cloud strategy, performing an independent review of your current plan, or ensuring you are getting the most value out of your cloud provider. Contact us today for answers to all of your cloud questions.