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Growing up in the cloud: six steps for organisations to bolster their cloud transformation strategy


31 . Januar  2018

Benjamin McGrath

Posts nach Autoren: Benjamin McGrath, Senior Research Analyst, SaaS and Cloud Software, IDC


Today, most IT organisations are undergoing a cloud transformation. That transformation comes with many challenges and many benefits, and organisations must be careful to take the right steps towards cloud in order to achieve the most benefits. And this can be accomplished by asking and re-asking one question at every stop along the transformation: what business value are we seeking to get?

At its best, cloud can drive business innovation, drive down cost of IT operations, improve customer service, improve customer and employee experience, and increase revenue. In other words, cloud can enable today's digital businesses, employees and customers. Yet, instead, some IT organisations don't have the capability to supply the business with what it needs, which results in "shadow IT", run in silos by the lines of business (LOBs), and a lack of enterprise wide awareness of cloud technology adoption. This produces individual agendas with inconsistent alignment, creates increased IT fragmentation and results in both a lack of business value and potentially great security risks. Asking the question "what business value are we seeking to get?" would lead that type of organisation to quickly realise that a change in strategy is necessary, but what steps can be taken? The following six points of guidance can help an organisation grow up in the cloud and improve its transformation strategy.

  1. Build automated infrastructure to scale. While some organisations use infrastructure on a project-by-project basis with limited coordination, organisations with more mature cloud strategies will build infrastructure to scale so that hybrid public and private cloud architectures can consistently match cloud cost, performance and security to workload requirements.
  2. Equip enterprise IT teams to be fluent in key hybrid attributes. Creating repeatable processes and building institutional knowledge is key. Invest in staff training and create a process to share internal knowledge and reuse templates and best practices as they relate to hybrid cloud. Build a guideline for choosing which types of data can be moved to which kind of hybrid cloud environments (public, hosted, private). Implement a formal governance process for reviewing and approving cloud service catalogue items. And continue to incorporate key and emerging technologies.
  3. Provide resources to support insight. Shared resources must go beyond governance and technology consumption. Communicate the business value of cloud. Provide performance and speed metrics that measure the ability to reduce costs or increase agility. Ensure that users can access this information through self-service and are empowered to do so.
  4. Establish consistent interfaces and agile methodologies. One of the biggest challenges is aligning IT with LOB in a collaborative manner. But in order to maximise business value, a collaborative decision-making process between IT and LOB needs to be in place. Visibility of how the change programme is running is key. Creating a consistent interface across IT and LOB drives business agility.
  5. Make sourcing a key competency. Choosing the right partners is not new in the cloud world. But it's a different process and another process that benefits greatly from sharing internal knowledge and best practices within an organisation.
  6. Govern security policies for a digital economy. As technology consumption moves to "cloud-first", so must security and security-related programmes. An effective cloud security strategy should be embedded, consistent, with automated monitoring, control and reporting. Cloud security should use advanced analytics to proactively identify risk and maintain compliance across all hybrid cloud resources. When choosing between cloud services, risk and security need to be evaluated and documented.

Committing to having a cloud transformation strategy is a step in the right direction. But it's the first of many. By asking "what business value are we seeking to get?" at each of the many steps towards building an effective cloud transformation strategy, organisations can not only reduce cost but also better achieve their goals of creating digitally enhanced products, services and experiences.

Essential Guidance

Take a look at our cloud going mainstream research from IDC, produced with Cisco, and receive your own personalised cloud adoption summary.

Source: IDC MaturityScape: Cloud 2.0, October 2015