When it comes to cloud, strategy is key. But developing that strategy can be easier said than done. In exploring cloud as a theme for Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2017, Smarter With Gartner reached out to our analysts to find out what CIOs should consider when building and implementing a cloud strategy.
What do CIOs need to consider when it comes to cloud strategy?
Establishing a cloud strategy should be a priority for every organization. When done well, a cloud strategy will outline the key factors that help organizations adopt cloud computing as an operating model and a technology. Cloud strategies can bring together organizational constituencies through common definitions, clear benefits and risks — and through a process to move forward in the adoption and effective use of cloud.
The savvy CIO will recognize that to do cloud right, you have to focus on what you want to do and what the outcomes will be. Trying to build a cloud strategy by just looking at the infrastructure will only lead to infrastructure myopia. A great cloud strategy will focus on what the cloud lets you do rather than the details of how you do it early on.
Three questions to ask:
Do you share an understanding of why your organization is considering cloud and the benefits you’re seeking?
Do you have a decision framework for placement of workloads, including application portfolio readiness and prioritization?
Are you ready for cloud, both within IT (i.e., with the right skills and organization) and organizationally (i.e., prepared for the impending change)?
CIOs need a cloud strategy that focuses on strategy and is based on realistic planning and assumptions. Many jump in and focus on implementation details, checklists and vendor selection criteria (which are necessary) but would benefit from having a real strategy first. That strategy needs to begin and end with business goals and should be based on reality (not tainted by myriad myths and misconceptions).
The standard answer would be to assess IT’s organizational readiness and appetite for moving services to the cloud. But another consideration is equally, if not more important: What is the readiness and appetite of other areas of your organization with respect to cloud? If they are more ready and more eager for cloud solutions than central IT, then you likely will have a problem on your hands.
Other areas of the organization often can make independent decisions to move to the cloud, leaving the CIO in a reactive posture, with the very likely need to integrate and authorize services after the fact. CIOs should immediately consider meeting with key stakeholders regarding their interest in cloud so that the IT organization can partner with other business units on a strategy and timeline that fits the overall needs and appetite of the organization.