A lot of cloud activity has occurred under the radar, with many people from different parts of the business jumping in and subscribing to new services. Time to reduce the chaos and introduce order.
Every cloud project -- as is the case with any IT project worth its salt -- needs a good business case behind it. With this in mind, Pamela Isom and Kerrie Holley, both with IBM, have outlined the business side of cloud their latest book, Is Your Company Ready for Cloud? Choosing the Best Cloud Adoption Strategy for Your Business.
Reading these 10 points may seem familiar, and for good reason -- most are the fundamentals behind justifying any enterprise IT project. And they offer worthwhile guidelines for anyone looking to justify their cloud efforts:
- Create your cloud vision. These include details on "opportunities for differentiation, market share growth, increased revenue, capital preservation, transformation, or improved efficiency," Isom and Holley point out.
- Identify cloud use cases. Examples include business process improvement, business intelligence, big data, or as a "model-driven development platform using cloud for middleware, infrastructure and platform."
- Discuss how the project will drive business innovation. "Your cloud adoption strategy should fuel innovation by providing techniques and patterns that equip your company to anticipate business challenges, address complexities, and accelerate problem resolution."
- Define business outcomes and projected ROI. Along with actual increases in revenues, return on investment may include factors such as IT queue reduction, capital preservation, time to value improvement, and ability to innovate.
- Determine opportunities for cloud as a "fifth utility." Utility computing, as is electricity and water service, is all about pay-per-use subscription-style services and flexible pricing structures. "A difference in strategy, however, is that with cloud, you are not limited to IT-focused outsourcing, as is the case with utility computing. Instead, your emphasis is to optimize your business processes."
- Treat cloud as a "supply chain." A cloud adoption strategy "should be viewed as a supply chain that delivers computing power, BPM platforms, analytical platforms, development platforms, services and applications such as CRM or ERP, and other services. Like all supply chains, it requires governance to address privacy and security, and must be actively managed and optimized for all stakeholders."
- Determine and publish stakeholder involvement. "The bottom line is your cloud strategy should not be developed in a silo, given that the information and insights that you need to establish a solid strategy are dispersed throughout your organization."
- Develop metrics. "Each metric should be traceable to your business goals and expected benefits so that you are effectively measuring the results, impacts, and business outcomes from cloud adoption.
- Define governance. "Cloud silos or cloud clutter where the goals for cloud computing fragment or diffuse intent is a real possibility with any cloud adoption. Implementing a governance strategy provides consistency in data usage, integration, and policy management."
- Develop roadmaps. "The roadmap reflects immediate to three years of activity and includes targeted rates of adoption as well as metrics."
(Photo by Joe McKendrick.)