Every IT organization uses the public cloud today because businesses require flexibility and scalability to adapt to changing and unpredictable economic conditions. However, public cloud usage is rarely optimized to achieve business results.
Thanks to technological advancements, the cloud is a well-known term in business. Cloud adoption is growing at an alarming rate, and its growth graph is increasing each year.
Gartner: “The global cloud service spending is expected to exceed $600 billion by 2023, up 300 billion from 2020.”
Cloud infrastructure is the backbone of any digital business, supporting remote and hybrid work arrangements. Businesses continue to optimize their resources to control the market better. Still, enterprise-wide cloud migration is augmented by necessity as well as competition. Cloud is not a trend anymore. It’s a source of sustenance.
There are still many questions about Cloud adoption and the best approach to Cloud. The truth is that Cloud adoption efficiency depends on the business objectives of each individual. Therefore, it can vary from one case to another. These are the essential elements of any cloud adoption strategy.
What is Cloud Strategy Consulting?
Cloud strategy consulting helps companies choose the best technologies to work together and provide the highest return on their cloud investments. Cloud service providers often offer cloud advisory services, which include Azure cloud consulting. These services help businesses to determine the best way to solve their business problems or achieve their business goals using the right Cloud tools and technologies.
How to Approach Cloud Adoption?
Cloud adoption can be approached in a cloud-first way. This means that cloud computing solutions are considered and evaluated first before other options. This is the cloud-first approach. However, it’s different than the cloud-only approach. In this approach, every business problem is expected to be solved via the cloud, which may only sometimes be possible. Cloud adoption should be used to solve problems, not just keep up with the trends.
Cloud Strategy Consulting – Getting Started!
Considering the following factors before planning your cloud strategy is a good idea.
- Analyze the market’s movements
- Your cloud goals should align with market movement
- For maximum business returns, execute the plan
What Should your Cloud Strategy Cover?
Remember that cloud is only a some-encompassing solution. It’s a strategy to turn challenges into opportunities. With this mindset, you can create your cloud strategy.
Outline your Cloud Goals
Collect information about your company’s technologies, processes, and systems. Then, define your cloud goals by analyzing your unmet needs, most affected business units, and key stakeholders.
Assess your IT Readiness
Conduct a readiness assessment to determine your IT infrastructure’s readiness to handle new changes. To rank your IT readiness, create a list of criteria and color-code it. The statement criteria list should evaluate your current IT readiness. It should include business continuity and disaster recovery plans, security management practices and internal SLAs (Service Level Agreements), data privacy requirements, and identity management processes.
Right Cloud Deployment Model
Based on your business goals, determine how the cloud will be used within your company and choose the best cloud deployment model (Public or Private, Hybrid, Community). It is essential to assess your current computing requirements, storage, and networking requirements, as well as your current resources before you decide on the cloud model that will host your data and systems.
Right Cloud Computing Model
It is essential to choose the best cloud deployment model for your business. There are three main cloud computing models: Software as a Service, Platform as a Service, and Infrastructure as a Service. Each model addresses specific enterprise cloud problems.
Cloud Readiness for Security and Data
Two critical factors are security compliance and data criticality. These two key factors will help you estimate the preparation needed to migrate to the cloud. Security compliance is your organization’s ability to control and protect sensitive data. It also includes the audit mechanisms that ensure legal compliance. Data criticality is the ability of your company to prevent confidential data from being altered. These factors must be evaluated before you move to the cloud.
Evaluate the Value Benefits
You can use qualitative and quantitative assessments to estimate the benefits of cloud adoption, such as cost savings, operational efficiency, increased business agility, staff productivity, and improvement. Also, compare your existing infrastructure with ROI.
Define your Target State
Your organization’s cloud goal state refers to your company’s ability to achieve cloud goals, both physically and virtually, after implementing your cloud initiatives. You will need to create a success metric and a tracking metric for each cloud goal state. This will help you measure implementation success.
It is important to remember that cloud strategy has two main goals: to eliminate the limitations of inefficient and expensive legacy infrastructures and to improve performance, productivity, and business efficiency, and enable business innovation and expansion.
Cloud-first thinking can bring many benefits, such as improved cloud cost management, data safety, disaster recovery, continuous monitoring, and more. Remote workforce enablement has made it a necessity to migrate to the cloud. But the most important takeaway is the ability of the cloud to provide enterprises with the business resilience they need.
Why is Cloud Consulting Important for Businesses?
90% of companies are already using the cloud in some capacity (451 research) – The point is not that you should use the cloud; it’s how the evolution and potential benefits of the cloud can help your business grow.
Here are some reasons cloud computing will be necessary for businesses in 2023 (and beyond).
Our world-class Azure Cloud Services, GCP and AWS consulting and development services will help you take your digital transformation to the next stage.
Cloud computing’s inherent scalability is one of its greatest benefits. It is possible to quickly and easily scale up an IT solution, which can significantly impact your business.
Scaling an environment on demand was impossible in the past because organizations were limited to the processing power and size of their hardware.
This limitation is no longer relevant to the cloud. The cloud has revolutionized how businesses manage their technical resources.
Innovation is essential for business growth. Legacy technologies can limit an organization’s ability to experiment with new solutions and deploy them at a scaleable level.
It can be challenging to combat back-end performance issues, especially when it comes to web applications.
The cloud can be used as an innovation infrastructure, resulting in improved performance, lower costs and greater agility. For example, companies are accelerating innovation in the IoT world by using cloud computing.
Cloud computing has allowed the IoT sector to innovate, create and launch new products which are changing the world. This applies to the entire tech ecosystem.
Cloud computing is critical because it is cost-effective. Azure migration services can be costly, but the best way to approach this issue is not by looking at the money you could save through migration.
Instead, think about how much your company is spending on IT services and how much you’ll be spending on the cloud.
Due to the variety of project/solution requirements, it cannot be easy to calculate the cost of ownership for cloud solutions. It is recommended to use a cloud partner to get an estimate.
Cloud computing is truly valuable because of the additional functionalities that cloud environments offer.
- Optimized DevOps
DevOps has the main benefit of increasing the speed and quality of innovative solution deployments. This is possible because DevOps allows teams that were previously isolated from collaborating throughout the entire development process.
Many organizations have switched to DevOps because they can add new functionality while maintaining stability.
An organization that doesn’t use cloud computing with DevOps needs a huge opportunity to speed up product development and the apparent benefits for business operations.
Cloud computing is critical because it allows businesses to release new functionality while maintaining application stability quickly.
Enhanced Compliance & Security
The major cloud service providers are enterprise-level companies that adhere to strict security, compliance, and data protection standards.
Cloud computing is one of the biggest concerns for business leaders. They worry about transferring critical apps (and company or customer data) to cloud computing.
However, it’s essential to realize that all major cloud service providers dedicate vast resources to developing advanced security protocols and following strict regulatory/compliance requirements.
Organizations in highly-regulated industries like healthcare, government, pharmaceutical, and defense must comply with many industry-specific compliance requirements to ensure data integrity and application compliance.
Cloud computing is used by nearly all the top companies in these verticals and related industries.
Cloud computing is essential because it offers flexibility. Cloud computing allows for greater flexibility in infrastructure – this is obvious. Cloud computing is inherently future-proof, so flexibility can also refer to flexibility.
Tech is an industry that is constantly changing. It is one in which adaptation is necessary for survival and business growth.
Business expansion used to be a costly undertaking that required large sums of financial and human capital.
Today, organizations can scale as needed to keep up with market changes. Cloud computing technology allows for flexibility and on-demand scaling.
Cloud computing offers operational flexibility at a substantially lower cost than traditional resource-intensive methods.
Lower Complexity in IT Infrastructure Management
Executives and business leaders face common challenges when allocating resources for R&D and ensuring that their IT infrastructure is secure and managed properly.
Cloud service providers are responsible for securing and managing IT infrastructure. This allows organizations to focus resources on operational scalability in others.
For example, suppose an organization moves to a cloud computing environment. In that case, it will undoubtedly have more resources to dedicate to business development, improving customer experience/relationships, or testing new growth strategies.
Multiple Service Offerings
There are four types of cloud deployment: community, private, hybrid, and hybrid. When developing your cloud strategy, it is essential to consider the different advantages and disadvantages associated with cloud deployment models.
Azure cloud platform computing is a growing trend that encourages organizations to use a combination approach rather than being tied down with one provider.
There are also three main cloud service models: SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS (IaaS).
- SaaS(Software as a Service) is an example of industry giants like Dropbox, Google Apps, and Slack. These companies offer software that can easily be used over the internet.
- PaaSis a platform as a service. Examples include Google App Engine (Google App Engine) and IBM Cloud Foundry (IBM Cloud Foundry). PaaS cloud vendors enable organizations to create custom technical solutions through the cloud. PaaS allows organizations to create web applications without the infrastructure requirements required in a traditional development cycle.
Certain SaaS apps e.g., CRM and SCM apps may also offer PaaS functionality. This allows for custom app extension development. Many cloud computing service providers also offer IaaS and PaaS functionality.
- IaaS(Infrastructure as a Service) includes Microsoft Azure IoT, AWS (Amazon Web Services), and Cisco Metapod. IaaS cloud vendors provide cloud-based computing resources at a large scale, including servers, data storage, networking, and virtualization.
Continued Industry Growth
Although the humble beginnings of cloud computing can be traced back to the 1960s, it wasn’t until more than a decade ago that businesses adopted it.
Cloud computing has grown to be a massive industry over the past decade. This is especially true with the IoT sector seeing a significant growth spurt in the next few years.
Machine learning, AI, edge computing, and machine learning will aid the industry’s rapid growth and evolution.
Over the next decade, this growth in computing capabilities will directly impact business across almost all industries and verticals.
7 Steps for a Cloud Consulting Strategy in 2023
The following paragraphs will provide a 7-step guide to creating a cloud strategy. This overview of cloud strategy activities is only a general outline. However, the organization’s needs can alter the depth or thoroughness of the analysis.
Establish Business Objectives
By setting business objectives, you can help your company define what it wants to accomplish by moving to cloud computing. The SMART criteria are the most important for cloud business goals: they must be specific, measurable, and agreed upon. They also have to be realistic and achievable within a given time frame.
- Align with a larger strategic project. A cloud strategy aligns the IT architecture targets, key initiatives, and measures with the strategic business goals. It is a collection of actions and moves that helps an organization achieve its corporate goals.
- Define your strategic goals for cloud adoption. Cloud managed services adoption is a solution to enterprises’ problems or challenges. The following are the business goals that companies who invest heavily in digital infrastructure seek to achieve:
- Rapider release of new products, services, or business models
- Operational excellence
- Retention and acquisition of new customers
- Upgrading decision-making processes
- Competitive advantage
- Assuring your business’ survival
- Assess your business capabilities to adopt cloud computing. By identifying the strengths and weaknesses of an organization, business capabilities can help to define its identity and personality. These are intangible assets such as knowledge, expertise, and cloud resources. Investments in human resources, such as training, compensation, and staffing, can result in business capabilities. One reason an organization may be more successful than the other is because of differences in intangible assets like capabilities. The foundation for cloud adoption is laid by business capabilities mapping, which has become a fundamental technique in enterprise modeling.
These activities form the foundation of cloud strategy and set the direction for the company.
Define your Current Business Context
This stage of the analysis focuses on the macro-context. A current business context analysis will provide the main output. It will help to establish the direction of the business and determine the cloud requirements based on it. There may be gaps in the capabilities of the business and the resources required to enable cloud enablement.
These are the tools and techniques that can be used to analyze a business context:
- For assessing and evaluating the impact of cloud adoption, brainstorming sessions are held with stakeholders, decision-makers, and IT specialists.
- The SWOT analysis is used in a cloud strategy assessment. It can be used to build a matrix of cloud deployment models that meet business needs. The SWOT analysis helps you to assess the current IS system and identify strengths and potential threats. A SWOT analysis can also be used to assess company operations and identify areas that need improvement.
- The value chain analysis determines which activities create the most value for the customer. It also helps to decide if the cloud can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of processes.
- As shown in the below image, the PESTEL framework can be used to determine the external forces that an organization is facing.
Evaluate the IT Architecture
It is only possible to see the whole picture if you focus on the cloud technology implementation roadmap and ignore the business architecture. Analysis helps to understand the business IT architecture. It identifies its technical maturity and any issues that may need to be addressed along the way to a successful cloud implementation.
The following are some of the IT architecture analyses:
- Evaluation of current IT enterprise architecture, apps, digital infrastructure, interfaces, and data governance policies. Key objectives, metrics, etc.
- Evaluation of current technical debt. This is due to choosing poor solutions over better ones, and the implementation would take longer. Continuous integration, agile practices, and delivery companies can reduce the amount of technical debt.
- Identifying the areas of concern based on the above evaluations. Taking into consideration any necessary actions or additional analysis.
THE McFarlan IT portfolio grid is an effective tool for identifying the key strategic, high-potential, or operational cloud support systems.
The McFarlan IT portfolio grid allows you to map the cloud infrastructure and evaluate the impact of existing systems on a company’s business goals. It helps to identify how an organization can use the cloud to achieve any business goal.
Future/Target State Analysis
This future/target state analysis aims to create a vision for the cloud-enabled enterprise architecture. This covers both the technological and business aspects of cloud deployment. This stage considers the impact on operations and business processes.
Cloud transformation is often impacted by security restrictions that limit cloud platforms’ choices and deployment models. You should consider authentication, confidentiality, and auditability options.
These tools help define your desired cloud state.
- The cloud provider’s scope is determined by using case analysis and modeling. This lets everyone see what is required to get the most out of their cloud investments.
- An organization can use the business value and benefits assessment to determine the pros and cons of each cloud solution and then choose the best one by evaluating both financial returns (cost savings) and non-financial returns (operational risk).
The following steps are required for a business value and benefit assessment:
- Identifying and categorizing tangible value drivers and financial and non-financial advantages for an organization in the cloud.
- It is necessary to create a cost-benefit analysis, estimate some financial metrics (ROI and TCO), and critically evaluate them in the cloud context.
Activities Planning Analysis and Gap Analysis
Gap analysis is the process of identifying gaps and dependencies within proposed cloud solutions to ensure that there are no obstacles to implementation or migration plans.
- The following evaluations are available to determine which strategic gaps need further analysis regarding cloud investments:
- Assessment of IT and technological workflow gaps.
- Prioritizing cloud technology and other technological advancements that may be needed.
- Develop an action plan to address the issues and challenges identified in the evaluation.
Iterative fit-gap assessment is the critical component of this stage of cloud strategy.
The Fit-Gap Analysis is a helpful tool for identifying priorities, overlaps, and shortfalls. A fit-gap analysis will be performed whenever the cloud “fits” occurs. This allows you to identify the problems (“gaps“) and then ensures that the cloud solution addresses them. A fit-gap analysis is used to identify the critical building blocks for a cloud transition plan. It does this by placing them in five categories, as illustrated below.
After a gap assessment, stakeholders decide on the implementation priorities and scope. Finally, they create the final implementation plan, which includes all relevant deliverables (referenced above).
Risk-aware cloud strategies are crucial to the business’s success. An assessment of risk helps identifies and validate potential problems and determines the best mitigation strategies.
Before an organization can identify and mitigate risks, it must first identify potential risks. While there is no foolproof way to identify business risks, companies can use their extensive experience to predict what might happen.
A business risk assessment involves identifying and classifying potential risks into two categories.
- Delivery risk(the risk that you won’t deliver the required capabilities): e.g., dependence on vendors, unclear scope, poorly managed deliverables, poor project management, etc.
- ‘Benefitsrisk (the risk of not realizing the desired business benefits), e.g., lack of alignment between the business and the IT department, misaligned technological standards in architecture, security compliance, undefined metrics for evaluating business outcomes, etc.
Once the risks have been identified, they must be prioritized according to their likelihood of occurring.
An organization can create a tiered probability/impact matrix analysis for elements within each risk category. This analysis can help to identify (and ideally quantify!) risk components in terms of their probability and impact (low, medium, or high).
Developing a strategy/action plan for risk mitigation is recommended once the risks have been identified.
The main objective of the implementation plan supports cloud delivery by providing a feasible implementation roadmap and the resulting recommendations. This includes evaluating the dependencies and comparing the benefits and costs of various cloud transition projects. The cloud implementation plan will be based on the prioritized list.
The key deliverables of a cloud implementation strategy are
- A management framework that aligns with strategic business priorities, operations, and data governance policies is needed to support cloud adoption.
- Planning and arranging resource distribution to ensure that resource requirements are met, and delivery is on schedule.
- Prioritizing and classifying cloud projects with project sequence, timeline, and critical milestones.
- For a successful cloud implementation, it is essential to identify best practices and make recommendations.
- Plan a governance process to manage and assess the cloud strategy’s implementation.
- Integration and documentation of the cloud strategy
The Key Takeaway
Cloud managed services are still widely used. Cloud services such as Azure Cloud Platform, AWS are now and have been helping companies speed up their processes for many years. You must constantly strive to improve your performance in today’s competitive corporate world. Modernizing your processes for efficiency would be a good idea. Our experts can help you in all areas, including assessment, relocation planning, strategic deployment, and integration.
If your company still needs to switch to the cloud, you should consider whether it is necessary. Cloud services are not trendy.
If you are not in an industry that requires rapid change in your products or services, or if the system scales well enough not to require the cloud, or if customer growth is dependent on delivering a service that doesn’t change, then you may not be required to migrate to the cloud.