25 May Why You Need A Cloud Strategy
Putting together a winning team in any sport is the primary objective of the coach. There are many facets to getting this right, but the without a strategic approach you’ll never realise your goals. Hostworks’ Chief Strategy Officer, Nathan Norrie, explains why businesses too must consider strategy when shifting to the cloud. If executed correctly it’ll be a championship season.
Cloud computing has helped democratise access to enterprise-level technology in the workplace, and it is a valuable tool for any forward-thinking business. But with any shift to the cloud, a proper strategy must be in place to ensure you reap all the benefits.
Strategy – what is the value or is it an over used term?
Too many people talk about their objective, rather than looking in detail at how they are going to achieve it. From the sports perspective it’d be like talking about winning the title, but never asking just how you’d go about it.
For business the same applies. The value in strategy lies in knowing your direction. Whether your business has started the shift or is already familiar with the cloud, a cloud strategy is essential and can help make the switch smoother or futureproof your IT roadmap. This isn’t a set-and-forget exercise, either. When it comes to implementing a cloud strategy, it’s vital to do the planning upfront and regularly review it throughout the year.
What to consider? Is it clear or clouded?
Being realistic about what you want to achieve is imperative. Try to win the comp without considering your strengths and weaknesses would be considered madness. Moving to cloud is no different. There are often clear decision divers. The initial stages of moving to the cloud involves thinking about your business operations and what you are actually trying to achieve. Is your project going to involve a platform, a piece of software, infrastructure or a combination? Deciding how and where in the business you’re going to use the cloud will reveal how much money you can save in each department.
Indeed, weighing up cost is one of the primary considerations you need to do in your cloud strategy. The cloud is ‘highly scalable infrastructure’ that tends to be more affordable than a permanent solution. A case in point, if your organisation is planning to run a three-month sales campaign; your existing infrastructure may not be equipped to handle the large amount of traffic, sign-ups and sales you are anticipating to a number of events.
If you don’t scale your infrastructure, you could be providing your customers and audience with a poor and frustrating experience that could really harm your brand and business long term. Avoiding these issues is essential. Now, you could invest in a permanent infrastructure solution, but this is expensive and the permanent infrastructure is likely to sit idle until the next marketing campaign – not an efficient use of your IT spend. The alternative is the cloud.
Let’s also consider the cost of backing up to the cloud versus running your own data centre in your strategy. Cloud allows you to not only eradicate the costs of owning all the servers, storage and networking hardware, but also save on costs of managing the underlying physical infrastructure such as power, cooling and employing people with the skills to run a data centre.
The cloud lets you choose which services are critical to your business and scale easily to meet technical requirements during peak or lull periods. In short, cloud services provide your business with the ability to quicken your speed to market and become more competitive.
Identifying your business peaks and troughs as well as your current infrastructure capabilities are two key components when looking to build a cloud strategy.
DIY or hire a professional?
We’ve all seen coaches who think they know it all, but the ones who achieve greatness with their teams know that they can’t do it all by themselves. Sure, they will have expertise in some areas, but bringing in assistance in key areas will fill in the knowledge blank spots.
With your business objectives and capabilities laid out, it is advisable that you next look into the parties that can provide the appropriate cloud services. If you would like to do it yourself, hire consultants for the period of the shift, or go with providers that can take care of all your cloud needs, give you full support and tailor a plan to support you into the future.
Try to recognise if your project requires a bespoke solution or if it can be implemented using current methods. Here, the input of a cloud solutions partner can be invaluable.
What about the exit strategy?
Sometimes a business will need to terminate its existing cloud infrastructure – if it changes ownership or shuts down, for example. Often businesses don’t consider the ‘post’ stage of their campaign, but this is just as important as the implementation strategy.
Planning for the period after your cloud project or thinking about what you need to do if you are forced to stop using cloud services can help protect essential data later on. With this in mind, be sure to read the fine print on any prospective cloud provider’s contract and plan for the worst as well as the best.
Like a blueprint for sporting success, the detail in your cloud strategy is going to define how successful you will be. If you’re not looking into every area of your business and how your cloud strategy will impact it then you may fall behind your competitors. When creating a cloud strategy, consider your business infrastructure, its current capabilities and the cost of upgrading. During this phase, it is recommended that you engage with a professional cloud solutions company who can assist with getting that strategy just right. Finally, remember to invest in an exit strategy – this will help you improve efficiency and minimise cost to your business.
Contact us today to see how you can drive innovation with the cloud – and achieve championship performance.
Chief Strategy Officer, Nathan Norrie joined Hostworks in 2010 and has two decades of industry experience including Chief Architect of Cloud Services for Fujitsu.