Cloud transformation is probably one of the most sought-after solutions in the business world today. Yet, it’s also a scary concept for some developers and decision-makers. While professionals are concerned that cloud transformation is an overly complicated process and they must learn something new that could be out of their current comfort zones or require major reworks to existing systems, decision-makers fret over its price, validity, and efficiency. They fear making mistakes, significantly if those mistakes will cost the organization.Yet, a complete cloud transformation yields plenty of benefits for any organization. With a cloud-based solution, a company can turn upfront expenses into variable expenses, reduce costs by doing away with running and maintaining data centers, increase operational speed and agility, and auto-scale without additional hardware requirements.
What should you do as a decision-maker when you feel that your organization is ready for a cloud transformation journey?
Applies a cloud transformation framework. That should be step 0 and is one of the most vital phases of the entire process: a great deal hinges on how precisely that framework is defined.
First rule, first steps
The best way to get started is to look at and understand your business logic. It’s going to help throughout the transformation as the organization will have enough self-awareness to know where and what should be improved due to this journey.
Simultaneously, knowing your business logic environmental limitations is also a crucial requirement. Some areas cannot be changed or improved right away and must be revisited later on after the initial transformation is completed.
Once these specifics have been laid down, we can move forward with creating the strategy itself. Looking at and learning from industry best practices or applying them straight away is a good start. However, what matters is creating a strategy aligned with the organization’s goals and initiatives.
As the plan is being defined, you should also seek and gain stakeholders and relevant departments (especially IT). To succeed in a cloud transformation project, everyone must be on the same page and understand why it is needed and how it will help the organization short and long term.
After all that is said and done, the strategy is in place, and it’s time for implementation. It’s worth noting that core business practices should be the implementation’s focus; in other words, the transformation serves to improve and positively change core business processes.
And once the cloud transformation journey begins, operations should evolve parallelly to ensure the best possible ROI rate. To achieve that, however, some vital considerations must be taken into account.
Preparing for cloud transformation
Proper preparation steps for a cloud transformation project can be categorized into three main categories:
• Establishing cloud governance
• Developing a roadmap and a targeted operational model, defining indicators
• Adapting to industry standards and an agile development methodology
The first category details assurance processes for validating cloud standards. The second provides a precise map for the transformation and indicators to measure progress and cloud maturity, while the third is about methods and best practices for the optimal outcome.
A cloud governance unit or team can ensure that the transformation is aligned with the core business goals and company objectives and standards throughout the project. This unit will be in charge of monitoring implementation and ensuring that the cloud solution’s new technologies integrate well with the organization as a whole.
Although you already have a sound cloud transformation strategy, there are still a few more elements that can make it almost impervious to flaws.
First, a cloud journey roadmap is still needed to zero in on the strategy’s key objectives and stick to them as much as possible. It will help in keeping the project on track. Furthermore, establishing key performance indicators (KPIs) will create a standard to measure progress and ensure if the transformation’s achievements meet the overall goals.
Last but not least, a targeted operation model (TOM) is an essential component that can aid the transformation as well as the processes that come after by preparing the organization for new roles and responsibilities, training teams in new skills and technologies, as well as extending DevOps processes such as new tooling and modified support requirements.
Regarding methodology, agile development is essential if you want to benefit from a 12-factor microservices approach. Also, keep in mind that adaptation to open industry standards and open-source technologies provide advantages both during implementation and in the aftermath.
For example, a few open-source solutions out on the market can help develop a portable workload. With such an approach, supporting a multi-cloud environment that is either public, public isolated, or hybrid becomes a highly advantageous option. Moreover, adopting open-source technologies as core supported services will also significantly reduce operational costs.
Adopting the 12-factor microservices methodology can benefit the transformation by refactoring monolithic workloads. This yields an immense advantage, as integrating emerging technologies becomes a routine task that no longer requires DevOps to refactor other components simultaneously.
Does cloud transformation ever end?
With the strategy thoroughly defined – supported by a roadmap, key indicators, a targeted operation model, etc. – and the implementation is overseen by a cloud governance unit, and your organization is bound to succeed in its cloud transformation: there is alignment between the roadmap and strategic business goals, while all KPIs are met.
The question is: have we completed the cloud transformation?
Well, yes, but actually no.
Your organization has succeeded in its mission to migrate its business and data into the cloud. Still, with new developments and disruptive technologies emerging within the industry, the existing cloud strategy will have to be reviewed from time to time. Suppose your organization wants to stay at the top of its game or gain a further advantage over competitors via new tech. In that case, you will have to start formulating a plan to improve the strategy and then implement it.
In any cloud solution, new development or disruptive technology that appears will lead to changes in operations. Change is constant in the cloud. As such, it is crucial to base your cloud transformation strategy on industry standards and best practices. We have found this to be the best way to adapt to incoming changes.
This doesn’t mean that your initial cloud strategy is flawed or obsolete. With proper cloud governance in place, you can always make sure that the strategy is flexible, malleable, and can adjust well to changes without going back to the drawing board.
A never-ending journey
That said, it’s better to view cloud transformation as a journey that never truly ends. Both the strategy and its implementation will go through numerous iterations throughout their life cycles. However, with adaptability and foresight, an organization can always make the necessary changes to successfully take on new challenges while integrating new tech and solutions into its cloud framework.
Adaptability is critical in this area. If done well, the entirety of cloud transformation will go more smoothly and lead to better results iteration after iteration.
To put it in a nutshell, to create a successful cloud transformation strategy – and then implement it with a satisfactory or outstanding outcome – an organization needs to excel in two areas: the ability and willingness to change as well as the drive and the infrastructure required to carry out an organizational transformation.
Great cloud strategies – adaptive, iterative, transformative
The main takeaway is that by co-opting emerging cloud technologies through an adaptive and flexible approach, an organization can ultimately increase its bottom line, making cloud transformation a project with an actual ROI rate – plus the added benefit of TCO reduction.
This methodology can be applied to organizations at the start of their cloud transformation journey and companies that have already gone through several iterations. But it will only work if there is a thought-out cloud transformation strategy that considers business goals, core business processes, and critical areas to improve by the transformative evolution of cloud solutions.
The strategy must remain adaptable and flexible enough to weather any change or disruption from the industry. And suppose it is also supported by key elements that streamline, accelerate, and empower the implementation. In that case, the project will succeed – whether it is an initial, full-scope migration to the cloud or another iteration that seeks to improve on an existing cloud solution.
At Blue Guava, we help businesses realize their true potential by providing consultation and aiding the implementation of Amazon Web Services cloud migration. As trusted AWS-partners, we are licensed to assist organizations in their efforts to undergo AWS cloud transformation and gain access to AWS’s state-of-the-art solutions for cloud computing, storage, networking, database, analytics, application services, deployment, management, mobile, developer tools, tools for the Internet of Things, and more.
With AWS, your company can go global in minutes. And we can guide you on a journey towards complete AWS cloud transformation.
Contact us and let us show you the way!