Tips for Achieving Cloud Adoption Success
In recent years, the market for enterprise cloud infrastructure has exploded. Last year, businesses big and small invested more than $95 billion in cloud-based projects, according to technology consulting and research firm Gartner. This year, experts expect such investments to grow by 22 percent to over $112 billion.
Cloud-based solutions are quickly replacing on-premise systems in every sector and will continue do so as more organizations discover the benefits that come along with this ever-evolving technology.
If you’re preparing to make the switch, understand that proper planning and research can save you a lot of frustration on the back end. By following the following best practices, you can adopt transformative technology with the potential to streamline your internal processes, increase employee productivity and lower information technology costs.
Create an adoption roadmap
Like any major IT infrastructure project, moving to the cloud requires clear objectives and rigorous project management. So be sure to develop a comprehensive roadmap that not only includes a step-by-step plan for adoption but also fleshes out the overarching business goals you mean to address with the shift.
Additionally, define success. Are you adopting cloud technology to make your business more nimble or looking for overall cost savings? This simple exercise will not only shape your approach but also help end users — your employees — understand why you’re relinquishing precious resources to refine back-end processes. It could also save you from making a costly mistake, CIO reported.
“If you make it a money thing, you’re making a mistake,” Joe Spagnoletti, founder of the IT strategy firm Spagnoletti and Associates and former chief information officer for the Campbell Soup Company, told the magazine. “It’s an option to deliver capability. You have to get it at the cost commensurate with the capability. You can’t do it for cost savings or management efficiency.”
As you navigate the planning stage and develop your adoption roadmap, try to invite everyday office workers to participate. This will enable you to adopt a solution that’s tailored to your business and meets employee expectations.
Carefully vet providers
After developing your roadmap and nailing down your must-have service requirements, start contacting and meeting with providers. As you review their offerings, consider how their implementation, service and support philosophies fit within the context of your own company culture. They should also be willing to provide a full assessment of your current environments and justify the reasons why a hosted private cloud or cloud backup solution would be the ideal fit for your applications and data.
Bottom line: You want a cloud partner who lives up to your standards and gives you the flexibility to design custom solutions.
Your chosen provider should also adhere to industry best practices. So check their service level agreement (SLA) to see how their services stack up to competitors.
Most cloud service providers offer annual uptime guarantees in the >99%-range. However, keep an eye on the number behind the decimal point. A provider with a 99.90%, for instance, can oversee yearly system interruptions totaling just over eight hours without suffering financial penalties. While that may or may not result in lost revenue for your business, you shouldn’t have to settle for less than 100 percent.
Of course, uptime isn’t everything. A truly customer-centric SLA should also include items like maximum support response times, ticket update frequency times, escalation to senior staff, and maximum deployment and hardware replacement times. Finally, the provider should offer full transparency into these metrics so you always know how they’re performing for you.
Experiment with non-essential systems
Once you develop your roadmap and choose a provider, test your cloud solution by moving over a couple of non-essential systems. This will allow you to evaluate performance and identify any kinks before switching completely to the cloud.
For instance, move over a single legacy application and one web-based platform so you can see how the solution functions when working with vastly different systems.
Embrace the unknown
Adopting cloud-based enterprise infrastructure can be stressful. Even established businesses with robust IT departments and copious resources express uncertainty over the subject. However, if you have a compelling business case, a good roadmap, a proven partner and early performance data that points to success, take the leap.
“I hear a lot of excuses about why not to move,” Mike Macrie, CIO for Land O’ Lakes, told CIO. “You just have to be brave and try it, and see what works for your company. Not every industry is made for the cloud, but just push the limits and see what makes sense for your company.”
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