Saturday, June 16, 2012

Would you Build a House Without a Plan?

Make no mistake that cloud computing is one of the most frequently used terms to describe the future state of IT. Cloud is marketed to consumers, to IT departments, to business and government – all as a way of reducing costs and improving productivity. The challenge IT has is debunking myths and misconceptions about cloud, and building a solution that provides real value to the organization. The bottom line is that cloud solutions, whether public, private, or hybrid, can provide real value to any organization.  The question is where do you start?

Consumers and industry alike know they can benefit from a cloud solution, providing greater pressure on IT departments to develop immediate solutions that are cloud-centric.  Failure to take action creates increasing fear that competitors are moving ahead, potentially costing companies valued customers and ultimately losing revenue or market share. CIO’s today are facing significant hurdles to develop a cloud strategy that meets the needs of the business including:

·         Formulating a strategy with clear goals and measurable metrics to track success
·         Evaluating and examining the capacity requirements, costs and benefits of a long-term cloud solution
·         Clearly defining the needs of the customers within the context of the business

Creating a clearly defined cloud strategy is a way to demonstrate to your customers that you have put time and effort into understanding this new archetype. By creating a sound strategy you will be perceived as a thought leader for cloud, something your customer is looking for.  The cloud strategy is essentially a plan that defines the vision for aligning IT and business requirements in this new paradigm.  If you are providing a private cloud it will be important to be able to articulate the qualitative and quantitative reasons for investing in a cloud strategy. To back the business case you will need to have technical reference architectures that showcase to the core stakeholders how you plan on supporting their vision for the business.

Cloud is not just about infrastructure but about the applications that are deployed, so you should include a plan for supporting these applications as part of an overall strategy. The final element is a Cloud Solution Adoption Plan.  With a comprehensive plan in place you can clearly show how you can help achieve measurable business goals. 

Building a cloud strategy is important for any organization, but the work does not stop there. A cloud strategy is dynamic.  As the technology and use cases change, it is imperative to show value to your customers and position your organization as a thought leader in the cloud. The first step to building your strategy is awareness. You are aware that cloud is a factor for the near term.  You are aware that your customers are looking for cloud solutions to improve the user experience, and you are aware that if you do not have a position on cloud you run the risk of falling behind the competition.

The time to start your Vision for cloud is now!  Learn more by reading the Cloud Solution Planning Workshop Datasheet.

John M. Hawkins is the Chief Services Architect for Cloud Strategy & Planning at BMC; he helps clients create the future state Vision/Strategies and Roadmaps to help them realize that vision.

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