The inability of a company to articulate a sound cloud strategy leaves it vulnerable to flimsy plans and an inefficient use of technology. Therefore, a solid cloud strategy is critical. You need to consider your existing IT investments and the operational processes that support your data center infrastructure. Ad hoc adoption of cloud services can lead to a fragmented environment that hampers productivity and increases costs and security risks.
If you ask ten people to define ‘the cloud,’ you’ll get 30 answers. Cloud is a buzzword you hear in commercials and advertisements all the time these days. But, it’s not a well-defined term and that leads to people not fully understanding the enormous opportunities that cloud computing can offer their businesses today.
When businesspeople – even the most experienced IT pros – have a limited view of this nebulous term, ‘the cloud,’ it’s hard for them to make the best decisions for their companies. During my time working in the IT industry and with cloud computing solutions, I’ve identified seven common mistakes that cause many businesses to miss out on the full potential of the cloud, bypassing important services and savings in the process.
Mistake 1: Not developing a long-term strategy – In constructing a cloud strategy, too many companies look mainly at the short-term benefits instead of developing a longer-term strategy. Taking the time to develop a long-term strategy will allow for future capabilities and help eliminate design limitations. When developing your long term cloud strategy keep these three things in mind: Have a solid understanding of your current infrastructure; when sourcing, consider a mix of public, private and hybrid to maximize agility and control costs; and plan for the future, keeping your strategy flexible enough to respond to rapidly changing business conditions.
Mistake 2: Purchasing a single service in the cloud – you should resist viewing the cloud as a way to acquire a single service. The cloud encompasses a wide variety of services such as platform-as-a-service (PaaS), infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), software-as-a-service (SaaS), backup and disaster recovery-as-a-service (DRaaS), all of which can and should play a role in a company’s cloud strategy.
Mistake 3: Not positioning cloud as a business strategy – companies that view cloud computing as just the next evolutionary step in information technology may miss its importance as a business strategy. Cloud computing enables companies to tap IT resources as a service and can have a major transitional impact on a company’s business processes.
Mistake 4: IT doesn’t understand the business – IT professionals within a company must be up-to-date on the goals of each business unit and what they need in terms of services before they can build a coherent company-wide cloud strategy.
Mistake 5: Comparing cloud solutions to traditional solutions – companies should not make apples-to-apples comparisons between tradition compute solutions and cloud solutions. Many, but not all, cloud solutions can be configured to dynamically scale up and scale down to meet ever changing needs. Comparing a solution that dynamically scales to a traditional solution will skew the total cost of ownership (TCO) comparison.
Mistake 6: Thinking of the cloud as a tangible item – IT professionals should not think of the cloud as a thing, a place, or even a technology. Cloud is, first and foremost, a consumption model for IT services. It allows solutions to be implemented in a primarily OpEx model instead of the more traditional CapEx model.
Mistake 7: Not considering the end user – IT professionals must take into consideration the impact on overall performance as well as the end user’s experience in each cloud decision they make. It’s not only the bottom line that counts after all.
So, what’s the best way to avoid these cloud computing pitfalls? Spend the time to create a clear and concise, long-term cloud strategy. If this sounds a bit overwhelming to you, you’re not alone. Enlisting the assistance of an experienced cloud computing partner to help develop strategy can help ease the burden and get your company into the cloud quickly.
When looking for a cloud partner, you should seek an organization that has the ability to consult with you and develop a cloud strategy and roadmap. Identifying a partner that understands and can deliver on the complexities of both public and private clouds, will give you and your business the ability to examine every angle of a solution.