Here is a 6-step cloud adoption strategy that should go a long way towards a successful transition into cloud services that maximizes ROI. This cloud adoption strategy is also intended to help CIO’s demonstrate their business leadership by thinking more strategically about cloud computing and creating a framework to support decision makers considering cloud computing solutions.
Step 1: Assemble Your Cloud Adoption Team
The team will be tackling some high level issues that touch strategic planning and cut across the entire enterprise, so it is a good idea to have the CEO or President lead the cloud adoption team. The CIO/CTO should play a supportive role to the CEO.
The rest of the team should be comprised of cross functional leaders including finance, marketing, sales, legal, IT, operations and the various lines of business. Obviously this will vary based on the size and structure of the organization.
Step 2: Define the Goals for Your Cloud Adoption Strategy
In fairly short order your cloud adoption team should solidify 2 or 3 concise goals to be achieved quickly. Here are some suggested goals:
- Develop an enterprise cloud strategy
- Develop the business case and ROI model for analyzing cloud services
- Develop the framework for cloud governance model (below)
Step 3: Train the Cloud Adoption Team
In order for your cloud adoption strategy to support maximizing ROI, your cloud adoption team needs to trained on the basics of cloud computing. The goal of the training is for the cloud adoption team to have a firm grasp on the characteristics of cloud computing and the different cloud service models and cloud deployment models.
The training should emphasize the advantages and disadvantages of the different cloud deployment models and cloud service models so that the team can formulate the business case and the ROI model to be used in analyzing cloud services.
Step 4: Establish Cloud Services Governance
The current IT governance model must be reviewed for changes needed to reflect the enterprise cloud strategy. This could involve a complete rewrite of the IT governance model but most shops won’t find that necessary.
Issues to consider will begin with who can make the decision on adding cloud services and how will it be funded. It should also address how IT resources are allocated and scheduled.
Changes in IT governance may also be needed to address who will be responsible for managing the cloud service provider and how cloud services be managed and controlled.
Step 5: Updates any Policies and Procedures
Most organizations will have more than a few policies and procedures that will need to be amended to reflect implementing cloud computing solutions. Everything from purchasing, enterprise risk management, vendor management, SSAE 18 audits, and accounting and budgeting.
The big questions to consider is if cloud services should be centrally budgeted in IT, and if not, where in the chart of accounts do you place it so you can track the total IT spend across the enterprise.
On a related note, you may need to amend the purchasing manual to reflect IT’s role in the procurement process of any cloud computing services even if the purchase doesn’t hit an IT cost center.
Perhaps the most important area for changes will be in project management or SDLC policies. Here you need to address everything from how a cloud service is assessed and a vendor selected as well as how do you achieve normal requirements for Dev/Test, change management and move to production.
Step 6: Plan for the Cultural Changes
A successful cloud computing adoption strategy must account for the cultural change that will be required to embrace cloud services. Remember, cloud computing doesn’t simply represent a technology change.
IT staff will have some very real concerns about the future of their jobs just as many IT managers will worry about changes in IT’s influence in the organization. Not to mention of course real fears about cloud security.