CIOs are often tasked with providing a platform and roadmap for technology which enables the business to grow, scale and pivot according to the market demands – all while operating with budgets which are more often than not shrinking. Public cloud platforms are the first thought that springs to mind.
The uptake in public cloud platforms is growing and unlocking enormous benefits, as organisations are starting to mature with their understanding of the cloud and reach end of life with their hardware investments. Gartner forecasted that the Worldwide Public Cloud Services Revenue for 2017 was $260 Billion and expected to grow to $411B by 2020.
Without the right planning and blueprint, we often find that customers are left with a cloud environment which is more expensive than their on-premise environment. As you start planning for your cloud initiatives, keep the following key considerations at the forefront of your thinking.
Why are you building a cloud platform?
Start with the business requirements and ensure there is continuous alignment to this need. Focus on what the business is trying to achieve rather than the technology features, an example of this could be a business wanting to reduce time on budgeting and planning. The technology solution will be shaped by the business and technical requirements derived from the “job” the business needs to do.
What is the long-term operating strategy?
Consider the strategy for when you move from planning and design into BAU; do you see your internal team managing this day to day or do you want to lean on a 3rd party MSP to manage this for you? Organisations have started to transform their internal IT teams to focus on business projects and letting their cloud partners manage their IT projects, changes and unplanned work in order to innovate.
How are you going to measure the success of the initiative?
Firstly, as a business everyone needs to agree to what success means. The three main areas of success are: deliverable, process and stakeholder. When establishing the success criteria they need to be aligned with the stated business requirements, weighted and prioritised, agreed upon by all stakeholders and regularly adjusted or reviewed as part of the initiative.
This should be documented and include what data you need to collect to measure success and how will you collect them.
Some examples of metrics are: total cost of ownership, speed and rate of change, risk and compliance improvement or enhanced capacity utilisation.
What does the continuous improvement model look like once the cloud goes live?
As part of the planning and design, considerations need to be made around the ongoing improvement of the platform, whether this is done internally or managed by a MSP. Four common models include Six Sigma, Kaizen, “Fail fast, fail forward” and Perpetual beta – more on these models can be found here.
What industry regulations and compliance frameworks do I need to adhere to?
Consider security compliance and regulatory compliance. Some common examples or security or regulatory compliance are:
- Victorian Electronic Records Strategy (VERS)
- APRA Guidelines under CPS 231 and SPS 231: APRA regulated entities must develop contingency plans such as an exit strategy to transition from one arrangement to another
- ASD Cloud Computing Security Considerations.
Once you are in the cloud with the right blueprint for success, the business can use this as a platform to scale, grow and pivot rapidly. This is a result of continuous engagement and alignment with the business, pre and post transformation. It is also crucial, depending on your operating model, to revisit the blueprint from time to time to ensure that it is still efficiently and effectively meeting the business requirements.