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July 15, 2020 | Matt Pacheco

6 Dos and Don’ts for Successful Cloud Strategies

According to the 2020 State of IT report from Spiceworks, over half (54%) of businesses in North America find “keeping IT infrastructure up to date” a challenge. Migrating workloads to a public or private hosted cloud can move budget expenses from CapEx to OpEx and help ensure infrastructure is keeping up with the demands of the organization.

Nevertheless, moving to the cloud is not without its own set of difficulties. Recently, Bryan O’Neal, TierPoint director of product management, and Alvaro Gonzalez, TierPoint AVP partner strategy and enablement, teamed up with Kong Yang, Nutanix senior solutions marketing manager, to discuss strategies for finding business success in the cloud.

The top 6 cloud success strategies

Throughout the webinar, these experts shared numerous strategy ideas. Our team culled the list down to the top six and added a few of our own thoughts.

#1 Don’t predefine the answer

Many of the clients we work with start out with a destination as their goal. For example, they come to us with the idea that they want to “migrate workloads to AWS.” That’s like wanting to go to a vacation destination because it’s the most popular one on the internet, regardless of whether it offers the kinds of activities you like to do. (Or your kids like to do, which may be more important if you’re going as a family!)

Instead, our experts suggest starting with your business context (budgets, skill sets, etc.) and the outcomes you want to achieve. This will help your team choose the right solution, regardless of what’s most popular at the moment.

#2 Do focus on business transformation, not digital transformation

Many organizations define the goal of their IT initiatives as “digital transformation” as though that were an end in itself. Instead, set specific business reasons/targets for your digital transformation initiatives.

For example, your reason for migrating workloads to the cloud might be to close down your on-prem data center by 2022. Or you might have a shorter-term goal such as eliminating hardware maintenance costs or reducing monthly unplanned downtime by a certain percentage.

Defining a business reason for a digital transformation initiative not only helps you realize a return on your investment, but it also it provides your team with resume worthy accomplishments, creates metrics and results that show their value to the organization.

#3 Do set specific targets to avoid scope creep

An additional benefit of setting specific targets for your digital transformation initiatives is that it helps you avoid scope creep. For example, if you define your objective as “modernizing your IT infrastructure,” every member of your transformation team is likely to have a different definition of what that means. That may be fine for your initial project scoping meetings, but eventually, you’ll need to define and document specific goals or risk an ever-expanding project with no clear milestones or timeline.

#4 Don’t skimp on the TCO analysis

When migrating to the cloud, it’s not uncommon to do a TCO (total cost of ownership) analysis for the many solution options. While you’re focused on analyzing the cost of your proposed cloud solution, this is a good time to refresh the TCO analysis for your on-prem infrastructure so you can get a complete picture.

For example, sometimes business leaders focus on the cost of software and hardware but forget to factor in the related costs that the cloud can help eliminate, such as the cost of power, power distribution and cooling needed to run that infrastructure in an on-prem data center.  Additionally, they often overlook the benefits of the highly redundant design that underpins enterprise data centers to ensure uptime.

Also read: 6 Tips for Controlling Cloud Spend in a Migration

#5 Don’t underestimate your internal skills gap

In 2019, a 451 Research study found that 86% of respondents said they could identify some kind of skills gap associated with implementing cloud. Most often (46%), the noted gap involved cloud platform expertise, but specific skill set such as cybersecurity, cloud-native tools, and IT integration were frequently mentioned as well.

Just as you want to ensure you do a thorough TCO analysis, you’ll also want to do a detailed review of your team’s talent and skills. For example, your organization may lack business continuity and disaster recovery expertise. You could leverage a service provider’s talent and expertise to ensure that your organization will have business continuity in the face of any disaster or disruption.

One of the reasons so many businesses choose a hosted cloud from TierPoint is that it can help them more easily address skills issues. We can keep an eye on their cloud environments as a whole, ensuring performance and reliability, while filling any expertise gaps with additional services such as managing their next-gen firewalls.

#6 Do analyze results holistically

One mistake we often see with large organizations is that they look at their IT infrastructure in silos. For example, we worked with one organization that was spending millions of dollars every month on AWS. The total was comprised of many, many small monthly line items of a few thousand dollars. Only when these costs were rolled up did the magnitude of their AWS spend become apparent, but so long as the individual budget managers didn’t exceed their monthly budgets, no one raised a red flag.

More success strategies

To learn more, be sure to watch Delivering Successful Business Outcomes with Cloud. TierPoint delivers secure, reliable, connected IT infrastructure solutions through a nationwide network of 40 world-class data centers and a broad menu of managed services. Wherever you are in your digital transformation journey; wherever you want to go, we can help. Contact us today to learn how.

Webinar - Delivering Successful Business Outcomes with Cloud

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