Three Keys to a Successful Cloud Transformation Road Map

Three Keys to a Successful Cloud Transformation Road Map

A move to the cloud or an update to your current cloud strategy is no small task. As you contemplate your cloud transformation road map, what should you consider before making that move?

This post was published on before the merger with Cloudera. Some links, resources, or references may no longer be valid.

A move to the cloud or an update to your current cloud strategy is no small task. As you plot your cloud transformation road map, what should you consider before making the move? A few key steps can ensure that you have a successful cloud migration.

Know Who’s Driving

Who will lead the journey to the cloud? This is the first question any organization must wrestle with. The CIO and IT teams will need to be involved in cloud transformation, but it’s unlikely they will play the largest role.

Data analysis, processing, and gathering are the primary drivers behind cloud migrations, making data one of the most valuable assets a business holds. The successful use of data now shapes the competitive landscape surrounding every business. The CEO is responsible for managing other business assets. Thus, it is the CEO who must also lead the cloud journey.

The CIO and IT teams can provide advice and direction, but it’s the CEO who must facilitate buy-in and support. The shift to a cloud-first mentality requires cultural change: it must amount to more than big ideas. Only a CEO can ensure that a cloud transition plan is actionable and carried out.

Define the Three Business Levers That Will Direct Your Strategy

Just as you should know who will lead your cloud journey, you also need to fully understand why your business should take that journey in the first place. Three essential business levers should direct your organization’s strategy:

1. A Use Case–Driven Cost Model

No organization should migrate to the cloud merely for the sake of migrating. Every cloud journey should start with a specific goal in mind. What does your business want to achieve? Is cloud the best way to achieve that goal? Will this project be a one-off, or can it be the platform that launches additional business successes? These aren’t easy questions to answer, but you should fully explore them before a cloud transformation journey begins.

2. An Aligned Cloud Model

As you plan a cloud transformation journey, you must consider whether the cloud model you have chosen aligns with the cost, security, and governance your business can commit. Your enterprise must understand the costs involved in the chosen cloud model, as well as how scalable and flexible the model can be when and if workloads change. Different workloads and data sources also have different security requirements, and depending on the location of your cloud provider, there may be specific regulations tied to governance.

3. A Skilled Team With Access to the Right Resources

A successful migration requires a specialized team with cloud and data management experience. For companies that lack internal resources, the initial phases of a cloud journey may require external partners who can support the transition, as well as trainings to teach internal team members how to execute future projects. Expanding your team’s skills and capabilities is a necessary part of any long-term strategy.

Create a Cloud Transformation Road Map

With C-suite buy-in to your cloud journey and your business goals clearly defined, the next step is creating a plan. A few truisms of the cloud journey can help guide the creation of your own cloud transformation road map:

Start Small

Choose a small but high-impact project as your first foray into the cloud. If possible, you should choose a project that delivers results as quickly as four to eight weeks. Ideally, the CEO will champion the project and encourage other groups to build on its success.

Plan for Scalability

It’s possible that one group (such as sales or marketing) may be further along in the cloud journey than others. However, you should choose a cloud architecture and platform that make expansion to other groups easy and allow each business unit to scale up and down as needed.

Build In Security and Governance From the Start

Despite surging cloud adoption across industries, Crowd Research Partners found that 90 percent of security professionals are still concerned with security in the cloud. To curb these fears, data and cloud security and governance policies must be implemented even with the smallest projects. These issues should not be afterthoughts: they should be an integral part of the project plan and design.

Don’t Tie Yourself to One Vendor or Platform

Change is the only constant. Choose technology that is elastic and adaptable, so you reduce the risk of obsolescence and lack of choice.

Because every business is different, no cloud journey will be the same. A well-planned road map can help ensure the journey is worthwhile.

Abhas Ricky, director of strategy and innovation for Cloudera, spoke at DataWorks Summit, 2018. Watch his presentation, “What Should Be Your Transformational Cloud Strategy,” to help formulate your own cloud transformation road map.

Ronda Swaney
Freelance author and journalist
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