Many organizations have only just started to understand the full potential of the cloud as the pandemic ushered in a new era of remote and hybrid work -- and with it an explosion of cloud technologies.
Now, as the pandemic wanes, the ongoing emphasis on digital acceleration and transformation has become part of the fabric of innovation.
Enterprises can gain immense value from the unparalleled flexibility, performance, and velocity that cloud enables, especially now that access has been democratized and choice is boundless.
“Businesses are moving applications, infrastructure, workloads, and data to the cloud in droves, and slower movers have seen the success of earlier adopters and are ramping up adoption plans as a result,” explains Dan Benjamin, CEO and co-founder at Dig Security.
He says as these organizations look to the future, their ability to apply transformative technologies like artificial intelligence, the internet of things (IoT), virtual and augmented reality, quantum computing, and beyond will depend on their cloud adoption strategies today.
As organizations transition to providing digital solutions in a digital workplace, public, multi, and hybrid cloud adoption is on the rise.
Farid Roshan, global head of digital enablement practice at Altimetrik, says the transitional data center mindset leads to high sunk costs for procuring appliances and difficulty in attaining talent to support data center maintenance activities.
“Organizations lose precious time and energy focusing on managing infrastructure vs. building products that bring value to their customers,” he says.
From his perspective, public cloud platforms provide IT teams the ability to focus on creating innovative solutions and attracting highly skilled talent to develop products that drive business growth, while reducing overall IT cost of ownership.
Cloud Adoption Strategy Requires Roadmap
Roshan adds cloud adoption can lead to unexpected delays and failure in transforming organizations if the cloud strategy is not well understood across the organization.
“Understanding the goals for moving to the cloud as well as implementing an executive cloud strategy, defining a roadmap and OKRs, will allow for business and IT groups to align their annual and quarterly goals,” he says.
He points out adoption of cloud is not a one-and-done initiative, but requires executives to continuously invest in their people, processes, and technologies.
“Cloud strategies should focus on rethinking how products are developed with the goal of simplifying the engineering ecosystem and reducing the touchpoints required to deliver products,” he says.
A Successful Strategy Involves Multiple Stakeholders
As quickly 2023 approaches, Roshan says cloud cannot be considered as a standalone, which means organizations must incorporate Agile methodologies, DevSecOps frameworks, information security policies and controls, site reliability engineering, and data platforms when building their cloud roadmap.
“Failure to implement these elements as part of the journey will limit the effectiveness of adopting the cloud,” he cautions.
Benjamin says there should be several stakeholders involved in a successful cloud adoption plan, with organizations enlisting participation from the top down.
This starts with the CEO, CTO, and CIO, as well as a platform owner or cloud director that directly oversees the execution of an adoption plan.
“It is also critical to have a dedicated security leader involved with the process,” he adds. “This individual must have a keen understanding of data security, as data security risks run rampant in the cloud.”
Depending on the unique needs of a business, other key personnel who should be involved include a chief data officer or chief risk officer, cloud architects or engineers, site reliability engineers, or other IT service managers.
“If an organization finds that it is lacking in any of these areas, it is critical to make these strategic hires early in the cloud adoption process,” Benjamin says.
Roshan says outside of the standard public cloud certification, it’s important that the internal cloud team build contextualized development programs for their key functions and roles.
“A cloud advisory team would be ideal in building the plan, as they would be the centralized function that works across IT functions in building the framework,” he explains.
This will create a structure for new ways of working and engaging with business stakeholders in a consistent manner to better understand the business demands.
Building Cloud Skills, Molding Cloud Leaders
Benjamin notes there are plenty of learning opportunities for individuals looking to level up their cloud skills -- both open source and paid.
“The IT, cloud and security leaders in an organization should be the ones responsible for creating an education plan and identifying the best right learning platforms for their teams and organization,” he says.
However, execution of this learning plan should also include HR and operations to ensure that the educational goals align with a business’s strategic goals.
Roshan adds organizations that desire to successfully adopt cloud require critical roles including chief transformation officer, chief cloud officer and cloud architects.
“These leaders will need to define a new way of working like collaborating with business groups to evaluate cloud fluency and adoption of cloud smart strategies,” he says.
These roles are critical in defining and bringing awareness of the cloud strategy, roadmap and driving teams to move to the cloud in a structured way while continuously looking for ways to enable a self-service culture.
“Moving to the cloud requires a change in mindset and processes to ensure the value of the cloud services,” he says.