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Garter: seven elements to a enterprise cloud strategy

Business Chief North America gains insight from Gartner on the seven elements for creating a successful enterprise cloud strategy

|Dec 12|magazine9 min read

“A cloud strategy is critical for every organization and should be a concise point of view on cloud and its role in the organization. Moving to cloud without a cloud strategy results in ad hoc adoption patterns, resulting in higher costs, disjointed management, security vulnerabilities and overall dissatisfaction with cloud outcomes,” commented Raj Bala, senior research director at Gartner.

1. Ensure the cloud strategy follows the business strategy

A business strategy can vary significantly from business to business, Gartner identifies that it is crucial for enterprise architects and I&O leaders to ensure that their cloud strategy aligns with and actively supports the business strategy, “regardless of whether their organisation provides consumer services, business services or other products,” commented Bala.

2. Assess the five types of cloud risk

When establishing a cloud strategy, Gartner emphasised the importance of enterprise architects and I&O leaders to assess five cloud-related risks: agility risk; availability risk; security risk; supplier risk; and compliance risk.

“Risk management must be an integral part of any cloud strategy process. Formulating specific cloud exit strategies before committing to any cloud project or vendor risk management is a key step in reaching balanced cloud deployment decisions,” added Bala. 

3. Question cost reduction

Gartner highlights that one of the most frequently asked questions is: ‘Is the cloud really cheaper?’ To answer this Gartner explains that this requires a ‘nuanced approach’. Total cost depends on multiple variables including the type of cloud service, the characteristics of workloads, and the specific circumstances of the organisation.

“As most organisations have gained experience with real cloud implementations, the benefits are more in innovation and speed, rather than cost,” said Bala.

4. Plan potential routes

“For many organizations, a cloud strategy should plan for various possible routes to the cloud,” explains Gartner, this should include:

  • Rehosting to move an application with minimal effort
  • Refactoring to take advantage of services such as cloud-managed databases, instead of migrating existing databases to the cloud and managing internally
  • Rebuilding to recreate a strategic application with a cloud native architecture 

5. The shared responsibility model

With cloud computing introducing the concept of a shared responsibility model, where the responsibilities of the provider are defined by the features and capabilities of the cloud service that is being offered. 

Bala highlighted that “cloud customers need to clearly understand what they may reasonably expect from their provider and what is their own responsibility. Also, as skills and experience are essential to responsible use of cloud services, organisations should facilitate training, education and eventually certification of their staff using the cloud services.”

6. Differentiate the approach

In Gartner’s experience the company has identified three distinct areas of cloud adoption: adoption of software as a service (SaaS); adoption of cloud infrastructure platforms (CIPS); and the migration of current and legacy applications.

When forming a cloud strategy “enterprise architects and I&O leaders should take a holistic view that addresses the tradeoffs they must make between operational control and management. The approach should be evaluated for each application deployed to the cloud,” commented Gartner.

7. Embrace the change

Whichever cloud strategy enterprise architects and I&O leaders decide on, the strategy will involve a change for the internal IT organisation. “Typically, this leads to appointing a cloud architect, establishing a cloud center of excellence and setting up a cloud service broker group that liaises between business stakeholders and cloud service providers,” concluded Bala. 

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