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7 Best Practices for Cloud Adoption

Technology

Apr 20, 2022 - 5 minute read

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Małgorzata Caban Senior Content Marketing Specialist

She specialises in translation, writing and knowledge management. In her work, she combines her passion for languages with an interest in technology. Privately, she was part of a team of volunteers responsible for the Polish translation of “Baldur’s Gate: Siege of Dragonspear” video game.

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Cloud computing plays a critical role in digital transformation efforts — by 2025, 85% of organisations will be cloud-first, according to Gartner. Adopting the cloud has become the key to a modern enterprise’s success and a vital part of many growth strategies. However, a decision to embrace cloud adoption can’t be made hastily. It requires understanding the technology, but more importantly, your current setup and possibilities. We’ve picked seven best practices to help you prepare your organisation and get the most out of your cloud journey.

Cloud Adoption — Best Practices for Success

1. Define Your Motivations and Objectives

Before you move onto cloud implementation, take your time to consider what it means for your organisation. Your motivation and the goals you’d like to accomplish are some of the most important factors that will impact your decisions. How will you use the cloud to address your business needs? How will it benefit your enterprise? Defining clear reasons for cloud adoption will help you plan your actions and shape the most appropriate strategy.

2. Cascade Your Strategy Down the Entire Organisation

Once you’ve defined your motives and the value cloud adoption will bring to your organisation, it will be easier to get everyone on board with the plan. Every department in your company may have different interests and challenges and notice other risks. It’s vital to align these perspectives with the overall business objectives. Your cloud strategy should therefore be the result of collaborative efforts and present a clear vision of the cloud’s role in the enterprise.

Moreover, Gartner points out a critical element of any cloud strategy that is organisational change. Keeping it in mind will help you anticipate the cloud’s impact on the organisation.

This involves designating an executive sponsor who will evangelise cloud computing across the company, maximise buy-in, and as a result, help you reach your cloud adoption goals.

3. Set Up a Cloud Centre of Excellence

The success of your cloud adoption largely depends on having the right skills and structure in place. Establishing a Cloud Centre of Excellence (CCOE) will help you achieve it by assigning a centralised governance function to your cloud initiative. The role of the CCOE is to create and communicate cloud computing policies that will let you avoid inefficiencies at different stages of the adoption journey. Another aspect of this is raising cloud knowledge within the company and fostering collaboration in dedicated communities of practice.

Gartner mentions that a CCOE needs to include a cloud champion (or architect) with technical skills and knowledge of the organisation, who will drive strategy formation and execution. As the cloud adoption process progresses, other roles within the CCOE may gain importance as well, e.g., engineers who will be able to facilitate further automation.

4. Identify and Understand Cost Drivers

Another best practice for cloud adoption is treating the process as an economic decision. Therefore, it’s important to determine a business case to support it. Consider your current costs and how moving to the cloud can help you optimise your spending. Correlate your cloud costs with other business metrics to fully understand where you can benefit the most. Track your financial KPIs as you move further along your cloud journey — in time, you’ll be able to improve your economics based on the additional use cases you find.

5. Select the Right Configuration and Provider

In addition to assessing the economic aspect of cloud adoption, analysing the performance factor is equally important. Look into your infrastructure, performance peaks and drops, and combine this knowledge with the business figures you identified to choose a cloud service model that addresses your company’s needs.

When it comes to choosing a provider, cloud adoption best practices suggest considering their overall strategy, not just the current offering. It’s worth selecting a vendor whose long-term goals can be aligned with yours and support them.

6. Choose the Best Workloads for Migration

Deciding on which applications and workloads should be migrated to the cloud in the first place also requires a thorough analysis, both from the business and technical angles. Gartner proposes to assess and categorise the cloud readiness of each workload based on its technical viability and the value it will generate. The first wave of migration should include ‘quick win’ applications that are valuable from both these perspectives. Next, you should move on to workloads that are critical to the business but will require adapting before they can be migrated to the cloud. Applications that aren’t impactful to the business should be included in the third wave of the migration, even if they are ready on the technical side. Focusing on them earlier might contradict the business goals and benefits defined in your strategy. There may also be applications whose migration would require a significant technical effort with little business value. They should be considered ‘out of scope’ in your cloud adoption roadmap.

 

Figure 1: Cloud Impact Matrix by Gartner

7. Establish Governance and Management Practices

Your existing procedures for managing on-premise infrastructure won’t be applicable to cloud-based resources. Therefore, your cloud adoption checklist should include establishing a dedicated governance model that will allow you to use cloud services efficiently and safely as your cloud maturity grows.

Successful cloud management doesn’t impede productivity and innovation but, at the same time, eliminates waste and prevents chaotic growth. It also requires monitoring to continuously optimise performance and costs. Additionally, you’ll need automation to keep your business agile as your cloud usage expands. It’s worth employing FinOps practices, which will help you govern your spending efficiently and balance it with delivery speed and quality.

Summary

The success of your cloud adoption programme depends on how well you prepare your organisation for this step. Evaluating your existing infrastructure, business needs, and objectives will help you prepare a sound strategy and plan your subsequent moves well. Acquiring the necessary knowledge and evangelising it across the company will create a community that understands and supports the strategic goals you want to achieve. Ultimately, getting to the cloud requires continuous planning, monitoring, and optimisation, but following best practices in adopting cloud will let you reduce the associated risk and avoid common pitfalls.

References

  1. The Most Common Mistakes Made by Cloud Infrastructure Adopters and Recommendations to Avoid Them, Gartner, 2021.
  2. Build the Right Justification for Moving to the Cloud, Gartner, 2020.
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Małgorzata Caban Senior Content Marketing Specialist

She specialises in translation, writing and knowledge management. In her work, she combines her passion for languages with an interest in technology. Privately, she was part of a team of volunteers responsible for the Polish translation of “Baldur’s Gate: Siege of Dragonspear” video game.

See all Małgorzata's posts

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