How to overcome cloud computing hurdles

This article is excerpted from the e-book Silver Clouds, Dark Linings: A Concise Guide to Cloud Computing by Archie Reed and Stephen Bennett. Reprinted with permission of publisher Pearson/Prentice Hall Professional, copyright 2011, all rights reserved.

No matter what type of cloud services or deployment models you are considering as part of your overall IT strategy, you must have a cloud services adoption roadmap to guide your journey.

A cloud services adoption roadmap provides guidance that enables multiple projects to progress in parallel yet remain coordinated and ultimately result in a common end goal. The cloud services adoption roadmap consists of program-level efforts and a portfolio of cloud services. The program-level effort creates strategic assets such as the cloud architecture, cloud infrastructure, cloud governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) processes, and security policies that are leveraged across all the individual projects.

The program-level efforts provide and enforce the necessary consistency required to succeed at cloud service adoption. A delicate balance needs to be struck between too little control and too much control. With too little control, cloud services adoption will be haphazard at best. Too much control may stifle project teams, resulting in pushback or, in the worst case, outright defiance.

Initial projects drive the cloud infrastructure build-out and identify the initial cloud services. Follow-on projects leverage the cloud infrastructure and use the cloud services. Obviously, it is the follow-on projects that demonstrate the full value of adopting cloud services.

Without an adoption roadmap, there is a higher chance that you will encounter challenges that may undermine your organization's effort to realize the benefits of cloud services. This might lead to circumstances in which you are not making the most of the cost savings and agility improvements that you could have acquired.

Be aware that your initial cloud services adoption roadmap will be based on several assumptions -- due to the cloud services market being in its infancy and your understanding of the effect cloud services will have on the culture of your IT organization.

Do not be afraid to revise your cloud services adoption roadmap as your organization and the cloud marketplace matures. Make sure that any updates to the roadmap are executed in an expeditious manner to ensure that they have the best chance of addressing any unforeseen challenges and risks without delaying your overall program. The rest of this article focuses on a number of organization characteristics that will affect the way you address and plan your cloud services adoption roadmap.

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