To ensure a smooth transition to cloud computing, an organization should develop an overarching…

To ensure a smooth transition to cloud computing, an organization should develop an overarching cloud strategy which creates the foundation for project-specific adoptions. Cloud computing presents interesting business model opportunities to organizations of all sizes. Developing a business case and strategy that clearly articulates how cloud computing will transform key business processes like procurement, marketing, customer acquisition and support, product development, etc. is critical. Within the context of an enterprise strategy for cloud computing, individual business problems that cloud computing can potentially address need to be identified, and specific business justification must show that cloud computing is the right strategic alternative. High level value propositions for cloud computing, including the shift of capital expenditures (CAPEX) to operational expenses (OPEX), cost savings, faster speed of deployment, elasticity, etc., are necessary but insufficient unless quantified. Obtaining executive support for the initiative is critical. Executives from IT, Lines of Business (LOBs), procurement and executive management must review and approve the business plan before proceeding. Getting key executives on-board early in the process will help alleviate potential issues down the line. When developing an enterprise strategy for cloud computing, the considerations highlighted in the following table should be taken into account.

Key Elements of Strategic Planning

Element                   of Strategic Planning

Strategic                  Planning Activities

Educate                    the Team

All                            team members (IT, business, operations, legal and executives)                                must be educated on what cloud computing is and what it is not.                            Establish                         a common definition of cloud computing (including terminology)                             for the entire organization so everyone is in sync.                                  Using                               cloud computing is an iterative process in which new services                            build on previously implemented services, adding value to                                 existing IT environments.

Establish                  both short and long term plans

Create                               an organization-wide master blueprint and roadmap for adoption.                                Map                                 cloud computing benefits against existing business problems to                              identify potential solution areas.                            Anticipate                                the variety of disruptions that may occur both inside and                         especially outside IT (service levels, security, legal, vendor                             management, etc.).                          Leverage                          long-term planning interoperability, portability, and ease of                               integration up front.

Understand                      required services and functionality

Determine                                 business case and potential ROI and/or potential new revenue                         opportunities.                             Leverage                           enterprise architectures, standards and industry frameworks to                             help accelerate the collection of service information and improve                              consistency.                                Customer                          facing services require separate categorization and analysis from                           internal services.

Execute                    a thorough cost analysis

The                   overall cost of application migration to cloud computing must                    include the following elements:                                                    On-going                                 cloud services costs                            Service                              management                              License                             management                              Application                                 re-designs                                  Application                               deployment and testing                              Application                               maintenance and administration                            Application                               integration                                 Cost                          of developing cloud computing skills                                 Human                             resources and talent management implications

Assess                      the impact to service levels

For                   each application being migrated to cloud computing, consider the                       impact on the following application and characteristics:                                                    Application                               availability                                  Application                               performance                              Application                                 security                              Privacy                               Regulatory                               compliance

Identify                    clear success goals and metrics to measure progress

The                           team sponsoring the project must include success factors in their                           proposal.                            Metrics                            need to be agreed to by executives making the final decision to                               proceed with the project.                            Define                               benchmarks for the existing service before launching the new                            service in order to determine its impact.                              Clearly                             identify trigger points to be measured.                                 Develop                           a cloud adoption roadmap.

Consider                  the existing IT environment

Develop                            a complementary cloud adoption strategy with a focus on                              integrating and leveraging existing technologies and standards.                                Develop                            a strategy to ensure that any existing services to be migrated to                                 cloud computing will continue to comply with standards.                               Leverage                           reusable internal services to improve delivery efficiency of                             customer facing services.

Understand                      legal/regulatory requirements

Customers                         of cloud services must understand the responsibilities associated                   with their respective national and supranational obligations for                      compliance with regulatory frameworks and ensure that any such                  obligations are appropriately complied with. Some examples of                 legal/regulatory constraints upon electronically stored                   information are as follows:                                                          Physical                             location of the data                            Data                                Breach                               Personal                           Data Privacy                               Data                                 destruction when the corporation no longer wants the relevant                            data available or transfers it to a different host                             Intellectual                               Property, Information Ownership                                  Law                          Enforcement Access                            Service                              Availability                                 With                                over 150 countries having ratified the United                            Nation’s Convention on the Rights of Persons with                              Disabilities and                         an increasing focus on accessibility regulations, it is important                               to establish a plan for ensuring accessibility compliance.                             Understand                               cloud service specific deployment standards and compliances                         required by various industries, for example, FISMA & FedRAMP                              for US Federal government agencies.

Identify                    required skills

Map                          required skills against available skills.                            Develop                           a plan to enhance internal skills to address potential gaps.                               Consider                           external skills as an option for addressing gaps.

Track                        results for an extended time

Reinforce                          that the objective of implementing the new cloud service has been                             achieved.                           Identify                             any trends that may need to be addressed to improve the existing                             service or contract for a new service to take advantage of the                         trend.

Understand                      the exit process

An                            exit clause should be part of every cloud service agreement                            Understand                               the details of the exit process including the responsibilities of                                the cloud service provider and cloud service customer                               The                         exit process should include detailed procedures for ensuring                                business continuity-it should specify measurable metrics to                                ensure the cloud provider is effectively implementing these                           procedures                                  The                          most important aspect of any exit plan is the retrieval and                           preservation of cloud service customer data