How to overcome cloud computing hurdles

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Planning Your Journey

To build your roadmap, you must fully understand your current environment so that you can make an informed decision and justify why moving certain aspects of your environment to the cloud makes sense.

Many areas apart from the technology aspects of cloud services must be considered as part of your overall cloud services adoption roadmap. Your cloud services adoption journey and speed will be dictated by your risk comfort level, governance model, level of executive backing, size of organization, and the current maturity of your processes and procedures within your data center.

Conferences, magazines, analysts, vendors, books and articles on the Web have raised your awareness and excitement about the opportunities that cloud services offers to your organization. As with any disruptive technology, however, a level of hype is followed by disillusionment as your concerns elevate when you start to understand the consequences and challenges that cloud services brings to your organization. You could say "silver clouds, dark linings."

Fear can scupper your plans for strategically adopting cloud services. Therefore, as part of your overall adoption roadmap, do not underestimate the importance that change management will have in the successful deployment of cloud services within your organization.

Defining a cloud services adoption roadmap is no different from any other planning activity. As with all other planning activities, you need to fully understand the reasons why your organization wants to start utilizing cloud services. Depending on the process formality in your organization, this can lead to the development of a full-blown cloud services business case that documents the reasons and the cost, time, and quality benefits of cloud services.

There should be a combination of personnel from both the business and IT side of the house who should identify the strategic uses of cloud services for your organization. The path you take to adopt cloud services must be planned strategically and acted on tactically.

Your organization must understand the long-term goals and then make strategic decisions accordingly while at the same time delivering both incremental values to both the business and IT. In all likelihood, you will not fully realize the benefits of cloud services until you have executed a number of roadmap iterations. For example, noticeable cost savings due to economies of scale are unlikely to be met after one application has been moved to the cloud. Although you might not get all the cost benefits initially, these initial deployments give your organization the time to realign your operational and employee challenges.

You can then accelerate the deployment when internal resistance lessens. Until resistance lessens, a key success criteria for the execution of your cloud services adoption roadmap will be the level of executive support that you can garner and the willingness of your management teams to be innovators.

Make sure that your vision and expectations for utilizing cloud services are realistic for the maturity of your organization and the cloud services marketplace.

Because you will not realize all your goals on the initial project, it is probably best to view adopting cloud services on a multiyear horizon when focusing on a private cloud. Conversely, don't fall into the old trap of analysis paralysis and attempt to answer every question and discover every risk before proceeding. This can easily lead you in fear of pulling the trigger. Instead, time-box your effort around assessing your current environment.

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