As a business grows or otherwise undertakes an overhaul to the way it manages data and processes, cloud-based business software solutions are becoming an ever-more popular alternative to on-premise software. Implementing the new technology, out of the gates or as a replacement for legacy systems, carries the promises of greater efficiency and cost-savings—but in order to deliver on its value proposition, cloud computing also demands a new approach to managing IT operations. That is to say, the shift requires a strategy.

A Strategic State of Mind

You can’t simply plug a cloud-based solution into your technology environment and expect results. “Using cloud services is not enough,” says Donna Scott, vice president and analyst at Gartner, in Why CIOs Still Need a Cloud Strategy. “It’s the way you use cloud services that matters.” Whether you’re starting small with a new cloud-based HR solution or going all-in with a comprehensive cloud-based ERP suite, you need to begin your transformation with an effective cloud strategy

If that’s the case, you ask, “How do we make it happen?”

The easy—and best—answer is to work with a professional IT consultancy that can help you assess your needs based on your existing systems, processes, regulatory environment, and business goals. But even before you engage with a partner, it’s helpful to have a grasp on what you’ll need to consider along your company’s strategic journey into cloud computing. Here, we’ll help to get you started:

Ask the Important Questions

Gartner recommends organizations answer these questions when building a cloud strategy:

  • Where and how should we consume cloud computing services?
  • How will we access, secure, manage, integrate, and govern across hybrid environments (i.e. multiple public cloud services, traditional applications, and private cloud services)?
  • How does cloud computing factor into our application strategy and architecture?
  • How should our existing data center and infrastructure approaches and technologies change?
  • Where will our business become a cloud computing service provider to others?

These questions may or may not be “too complex,” depending on the size of your business and IT department, but they quickly illustrate the breadth of factors involved in forming a strategy. With so much to consider, it’s easy for executive management and even IT leaders to get overwhelmed. That’s why it’s important for them to form a team that’s dedicated to all-things-cloud.

Make it a Team Effort

RightScale’s 2018 State of the Cloud Report, based on a survey of 997 technical professionals across a spectrum of organizations, finds that 57% of enterprises have a central cloud team or Center of Excellence, with another 24% planning one. These teams serve as a central “mission control,” providing tools and best practices to help their companies adopt cloud solutions while reducing risks. According to they survey findings, they specifically advise on:

  • Which applications to move to the cloud (69%)
  • Managing costs (64%)
  • Setting policies (60%)
  • Brokering cloud services (60%)

Importantly, team members are intimately aware of their organization’s challenges and have a detailed technology wish list—that is, they know what problems they want technology to solve and how solutions’ success will be measured. But when it comes to deciding on a cloud computing approach (e.g. private, public, hybrid), choosing solutions, and preparing for implementation, they lack the expertise—and likely, the confidence—to move forward.

Welcoming a third-party to the team is a critical “next step” for solidifying your cloud transformation strategy and putting it into action. With wide-ranging platform experience and extensive vertical expertise, can help you introduce new cloud technologies into your organization and teach you how to use them effectively. Contact us to learn more.

For more about moving to a cloud computing model, don’t miss:

3 Steps to Calm Your Fears About Moving Your Data to the Cloud

5 Tips for Preparing Your Employees For a First-Time Cloud ERP System Implementation