Getting your business into the cloud can happen by stealth or it can happen through conscious direction and effort – in other words, by strategy. That’s by far the better approach, as it means you have a level of control, can understand the advantages and challenges, and manage any risks. It also means you can apply our four top tips to bear in mind when building your cloud strategy.
- Start with problems.
The tech industry is infamous for coming up with solutions, then looking for the problems. Don’t do that; instead, look at the elements of your technology stack that cause the most grief (and this is technology, of course there are aspects that cause grey hairs. It comes with the territory). Zeroing in on these issues means the ability to get the most cloud bang-for-buck. It also routinely delivers the sort of benefits which make you go ‘ah’hah’ and leads to looking to the other areas of your business where cloud will make good sense.
- But…remember that simple is good.
‘The cloud’ offers a lot. Like, really, a LOT. There may be a tendency, once the decision to embrace the cloud is made, to go completely overboard and introduce more apps and services than are really required. Take careful stock of what you have, first – there is no advantage to be gained in introducing new stuff unless it fulfils a specific requirement.
The best places to start are in those areas where an obvious benefit can be gained (and that includes going beyond the things that freak you out, which we discussed above). Why not start with email, data storage and potentially, office productivity applications? Office 365 – becomes a natural first solution to look at here.
- Dollars are important, but…
Don’t get stuck on ‘cost benefits’. While cloud opexes your spend, cost is only a small component of value – look for advantages such as anywhere, any device access, improved resilience and better reliability. That’s where the real benefits lie. Seek out the ‘how things can change for the better’ when looking at the cloud. It is here that its transformative effects will be found.
- Look to optimise as part of the process
Another common tech industry bugbear is the tendency for seemingly random applications, tools, products and other odds and sods to creep into the organisation and make themselves at home. If you’re looking at shaking things up and going into the cloud, what better opportunity for a spring clean. With the pace at which the industry moves, chances are those tenacious, but ultimately poorly performing, little gremlins can probably be replaced with something much better, or ditched altogether. They could be physical items – when was the last time that DeskJet actually produced a viable page? – or virtual, like a long-forgotten process still hanging in there and hogging virtual memory. Clear it out.