Article

Begin with the end in mind

How to develop a sound cloud strategy

Sep 27, 2022
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Digital evolution Digital transformation

A company’s cloud adoption journey begins with a well-planned strategy. While it can be tempting to want to move quickly to catch up to your competition, organizations that race blindly down a path often end up back at square one with nothing to show for it but wasted time and less money. Being patient and prudent is critical as you create a sound cloud adoption plan and then execute it.

This checklist walks you through seven best practices that will help you develop a successful road map.

1. Establish stakeholder buy-ins, and designate a cloud adoption journey champion.

Bring-in stakeholders at all affected areas of the business. Generate consensus and buy-in from stakeholders. The need to establish stakeholder communication scheme and addressing conflicts and frictions. The need for complete alignment up, down and across the entire organization (from C-Levels to Management to End Users). Moreover, there is a need to identify and establish a “Champion” resource for the cloud adoption journey.

2. Define your goals.

Some companies falter when they think of cloud adoption as a purely technical exercise. Like consumers who buy the latest version of a smart phone simply because it’s new, some companies want to move to the cloud because it’s the latest technology. Before you begin taking any concrete steps toward cloud adoption, you need to define your business objectives. Be sure to ask yourself how your company will benefit by moving to cloud and what you hope to achieve by doing so.  

3. Take time to create a plan.

A lack of planning can be the fatal flaw for many companies working toward cloud adoption. To avoid this misstep, develop a well-thought-out plan with clear, actionable steps that aligns with your business goals. Be sure it includes a proven and well-defined cloud adoption process and framework. Don’t forget to address the perspectives of all key stakeholders and concerns, including governance, people, platform, security, and operations. It’s also essential to address contingency plans and disaster recovery.

4. Adopt a strategic, forward-looking mindset.

As you put your cloud adoption plan into action, it will be important to keep your focus on the future and the goals you want to achieve. Don’t let cognitive biases, like analysis paralysis and the status quo, contribute to stalled decisions. Understand that your cloud adoption journey is going to change the ways your organization works in term of people, processes and tools, and be careful to consider and address any key concerns immediately so they don’t stop your progress.

5. Establish your teams

The next step is to identify the people in your organization who will be responsible for the implementation. Who will best understand the technology? Who should manage the process? Who can ensure that the business goals remain top of mind? These roles each come with unique skill sets in order to ensure a smooth integration. Identify the people who can best fill these roles before you begin taking action, and let them assist in creating your plan. Since they’ll be the ones responsible for executing the plan, getting their input early will help smooth the process.

6. Engage an advisor

With your goals and teams in place, find an advisor that’s experienced in digital transformation and cloud adoption. A knowledgeable consultant like RSM will help you understand each available solution and determine which one is best for your specific business and objectives. Many companies—especially those that rush the process—end up with overbuilt, over-engineered solutions.  By engaging a consultant that specializes in cloud adoption journey, those errors can be avoided before they happen, helping to optimize project costs and efficiency.

7. Conduct your assessments

Now is the time to assess your organization’s existing IT infrastructure and resources, as well as analyze your existing security and risk factors. Many cloud adoption journeys start at this point, but arriving here first with a foundation of business objectives, internal team and outside advisor in place provides for much greater clarity on the assessment results.  RSM advisors have decades of experience with a variety of cloud adoption tools, and our team can run assessments that help calculate what each potential solution will cost in time and resources. Not having an accurate and up-to-date discovery and analysis of current state – leading to capacity/performance/availability challenges and amplified security threats.

8. Identify your top priorities

Based on the assessments and cost analyses, your team should next establish its highest-level priorities and determine which components to implement first. Another fatal flaw of a reckless cloud adoption journey is to try to do everything at once. Cloud adoption can be complex—with security risks along the way—and taking on too much at the same time can lead to mistakes and security exposure. It’s important for the team and your organization to transition in a series of manageable steps. Implement your top priorities first, then work on the lower priorities as bandwidth allows.

9. Develop an implementation solution

With the groundwork laid, it’s finally time to select the best solution for your needs. Consult with your cloud partner to determine which tools will best serve your objectives and which are merely unnecessary expenses. Whether you choose an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) or Software as a Service (SaaS) solution, it’s now easier to identify the best choice after establishing your specific risk factors, human capital, existing infrastructure and priorities. RSM advisors work closely with clients to follow the assessments and select the right solution, then implement the plan.

10. Execute your plan

Finally, engage your project teams and empower them to implement the solution. With the right tools and road map in place, give your teams the support they need to execute a successful cloud adoption journey. If unexpected challenges arise, address them immediately—with a sound plan in place, it will be easier to adapt and adjust. Lean on your internal team and your outside advisor to help you successfully complete your journey.

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