We need to be in the cloud by 2021! We need to start now and just migrate! Our new CxO has a cloud-first and cloud-only strategy. Have you heard something along these lines before? If you’re in IT or a product owner then there’s a good chance any of those phrases has been said in your prescense or maybe you’re the one that said it. That’s ok, it’s better than not looking at the cloud at all.
Lets get the disclaimer out of the way, this is not an anti-cloud post, quite the opposite. I am extremely passionate about solving business problems using cloud technologies.
The problem is that most not all cloud-first or cloud only strategies, including lift-and-shifts have yet to define the real business problem. Terms such as I am not in the business of managing data centers while not necessarily incorrect for most companies is not a business problem. Do you have capacity in your current data centers? What is it costing you to run these data centers? Are you tied to software license contracts? Even these are mostly tactical operational issues that can be dealt with.
With few exceptions, being hit with sticker shock is attributed to our company has a strategy to be 100% in the cloud by XYZ data. Do you gain any operational efficiencies by performing lift-and-shifts to any cloud? If operations is run the same way as it is on-premises; what are the benefits? Was there anything to gain?
Takeaway, define the problem, as it’s not just as Cisco network is not a strategy, a Cloud strategy isn’t either. There has to be a business problem that drives the strategy and make cloud a part of that strategy.
Why cloud should be part of your business strategy? You just finished readint that cloud shouldn’t be the strategy, and I’m here to tell you that it should be part of it. There’s a great book we should all read or listen to called Playing to Win - How strategy Really Works by A.G. Lafley and Roger L. Martin that does a much better job at defining strategy. Part of this a term that has tuck with me.
Strategy is not a slogan, company statement, mission statement or market sector alignment. Strategy is where do you play and how do you win?
Above quote is not 100% accurate, and it may be over simplistic, but it hits the a few points. Saying I have a cloud strategy that will make my business successful, is like saying, I have a table saw that will build my home. There are quite a few sports quotes in that book, I don’t dislike that.
Though in order to be competitive, to reach wider markets, to grow, cloud will be a piece of that strategy.
Agility to deploy almost anywhere and whenever it’s necessary. Not requiring significant upfront investment to test a new market opportunity, a new geographical location, new broader segment. Speed to perform these tests, to deliver customer experiences and new “features”. I’m air quoting features because that doesn’t always deliver customer wants. Failing fast, no, not everyone is Netflix or Facebook or Google, and still failing fast matters. If there’s a need for new business opportunities, the risk is lower, the TCO is higher (edge cases, I know). Effectiveness to delliver those customer needs, wants and requirements. I’m not talking about efficiency, one can be extremely efficient and not very effective. Why not have both though? The latter is more a discipline and the former a culture and drive which the cloud can enhance.
There are far greater examples and use-cases, this was not meant to be an all encompassing post.
While no business should have a cloud strategy, just about any connected business needs the cloud to be part of the strategy. Where do you play? Pick your market segment, vertical, location and audience. How do you win? Maybe cloud is part of the ultimate playbook.
I can help you define the need and architecture to make sure the part of your strategy as a whole is successful.