By Max Emelianov, CEO of HostforWeb
The cloud has the potential to benefit your company in a number of different ways, from cost savings to greater productivity to new revenue streams. But a digital transformation isn’t something that simply happens overnight. If your organization is to get the most out of its cloud implementation, you need to plan ahead – you need to plan for the long-term.
I’m sure you’ve heard the media buzz. Strategic planning is no longer in vogue. Thanks to the rapid pace of technological advancement and the emergence of new trends such as agile development, businesses are all about acting (or perhaps more accurately, reacting) in the now.
That’s all well and good if you’re looking to implement something simple like a SaaS application or a new development environment. But if you’re planning on executing a large-scale cloud strategy, one that involves large-scale cloud adoption? You need to plan ahead – you need to go back to thinking long-term rather than short-term.
Creating Your Long-Term Cloud Strategy
First, you’ll need to form a thorough understanding of your organization’s current infrastructure. What systems and processes will you be replacing with a cloud alternative? How will your existing architecture interact with your new architecture? Perhaps most importantly, what cloud platforms and services have users already adopted without IT’s knowledge or approval?
It’s also critical to determine what type of cloud installation best fits your business’s needs. Why do you need the cloud? What other use cases might you be able to leverage it for? Do you possess the resources and expertise to create your own in-house cloud, or will you need to approach a vendor? Would a private, public, or hybrid cloud be a better fit?
Finally – and here’s where long-term planning really becomes important – you need to think about how your organization and its needs will evolve in the future. How will the Internet of Things impact your cloud strategy? What new business objectives and architectural demands might surface by next year? By five years in the future? Ten years in the future?
The flexibility and agility of the cloud will allow you to readily adapt to any challenges the future might bring – but you still need to be aware those challenges exist.
Creating A Strategic Plan That Doesn’t Fail
Now that we’ve hammered home the importance of long-term planning as it pertains to the cloud, let’s talk a bit about how you can formulate a cloud strategy that doesn’t fall apart at the first signs of trouble.
- Be Flexible. No plan is ever set in stone, and that’s doubly true in today’s digital enterprise. Don’t plan on hard data alone – account for soft data such as market trends and personal insights.
- Involve everyone. Have an open, honest conversation which involves every department and level of your organization. Strategic planning and digital infrastructure have long since ceased to be the sole domain of the IT department. If you’re to truly plan ahead, everyone must have a say and everyone’s needs must be met.
- Ensure everyone’s committed. Your entire C-suite must understand your plan, and acknowledge its importance. Without executive buy-in, no plan can truly get off the ground.
- Set realistic goals. This one’s self-explanatory. Know the capabilities and limitations of your business when setting goals for your cloud growth. Don’t expect your entire cloud migration to be done in a week or two.
The Future Is In The Cloud
Forging into the cloud is, at least in the early stages, anything but easy. It’s an intense, involved process that requires a deep understanding of your organization and a great deal of foresight. Once you’re there everything will get easier – it’s just the first step that’s the hardest.
But now you know how to take that step, and how to bring your organization into a digital future.
About the Author:
Max Emelianov started HostForWeb in 2001. In his role as HostForWeb’s CEO, he focuses on teamwork and providing the best support for his customers while delivering cutting-edge web hosting services.