Cloud computing: Don't make these 10 mistakes

Here are 10 things you should avoid when developing a plan for cloud computing.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer
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Tech analyst firm Gartner has set out 10 things you should avoid when building a cloud-computing strategy in a world that is leaning towards cloud-first. Because being cloud-first doesn't necessarily mean 'cloud only'. 

As cloud becomes the dominant way of consuming compute, storage and networking, organisations should be crafting a concise 10-to-20-page "consumable document" that guides those who implement the strategy, according to Marco Meinardi, vice president analyst at Gartner. "The business strategy should drive the cloud strategy and provide guidance to those who will implement it. It must coexist with other strategic efforts, not try to redo them," Meinardi notes

Organizations worldwide spend in excess of $60 billion a quarter on cloud computing, according to another analyst firm Canalys

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Among the 10 mistakes IT leaders should avoid are assuming that cloud computing is only about technology. The strategy is an opportunity to involve business leaders from the outset. 

"Business and IT leaders should avoid the mistake of devising an IT-centric strategy and then trying to "sell it" to the rest of the business," said Meinardi. "Business and IT should be equal partners in the definition of the cloud strategy."   

Organizations should also not fail to have an exit strategy from a cloud-computing provider, even though devising one is difficult. While many IT leaders don't foresee the need to bring resources back in-house, they need to be ready.

"It's like having an insurance policy in your drawer, that you hopefully will never need to use," said Meinardi.     

Organizations should also distinguish between a cloud strategy and a cloud implementation plan. The cloud strategy is the phase business and IT leaders decide what role cloud computing will play in the organization. Even a late cloud strategy is better than no cloud strategy. Without a strategy, resistance by end users is more likely.

"If organizations drive cloud adoption without a strategy this will ultimately cause resistance from individuals who are not aligned on the strategy's key drivers and principles," said Meinardi. "As a result, this resistance will slow down cloud adoption and potentially jeopardize the entire cloud project."

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Gartner also recommends treating top-down mandates from execs as "sponsorship to devise a cloud strategy" and acknowledge that they're not actually a cloud strategy in themselves.

Meinardi also advises not to mistake cloud-first for cloud-only. 

"If business and IT leaders adopt a cloud-first principle, their strategy should work out the exceptions to the default choice that will make applications and elsewhere other than in the cloud," said Meinardi.

Gartner's 10 cloud computing mistakes to avoid:

1. Forgetting that cloud computing isn't only about technology
2. Not having an exit strategy
3. Confusing cloud strategy with a cloud implementation
4. Believing it's too late to devise a cloud-computing strategy
5. Thinking cloud strategy means "We're moving everything to the cloud"
6. Thinking cloud strategy is your data center strategy
7. Believing an executive mandate is your strategy
8. Believing that being a <Fill in Vendor> Shop Means That Is the Cloud Strategy
9. Outsourcing development of your cloud strategy
10. Saying "cloud-first" is your entire cloud strategy

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