Your cloud computing strategy translates to customers

Today’s customers are increasingly tech-savvy, demanding, and fickle—which means every company must become a software company to create the apps and experiences these customers are demanding.

As companies use customer expectations to guide their business strategy and cloud to execute that strategy effectively and efficiently, internal stakeholders look to I&O to take the lead in building a comprehensive strategic plan for cloud.

6 tips for building a cloud computing strategic plan

In a report titled Take the Wheel: Build Your Cloud Computing Strategic Plan Now, Forrester outlines six tips to help I&O professionals build their cloud computing strategic plan:

  1. Evaluate your current portfolio
    Before you decide where to go, you need to know where you are. Decide whether you’ll use cloud/SaaS services to complement, replace, or rehost the apps in your portfolio. For data centers and development projects, evaluate cloud platforms to complement or replace existing infrastructure.
  2. Keep your SaaS apps flexible
    A common argument against SaaS is losing flexibility from your own licensed software when you get locked into SaaS contracts. To keep SaaS flexible, limit contracts to two or three years. Start by identifying and engaging with a few strategic SaaS vendors.
  3. Align DevOps and PaaS strategies
    Access to PaaS won’t automatically speed up app delivery. Continuous infrastructure delivery needs to be matched with continuous integration and improvement. Encourage DevOps principles everywhere as you roll out your PaaS strategy.
  4. Do a data center double take
    Public cloud IaaS has likely changed since the last time you evaluated it for data center migration. Prices have come down, the number of providers has increased, cloud data security has improved leaps and bounds (probably better than your own), and there are more services available to ease the transition.
  5. Plan ahead for multicloud
    Forrester estimates by 2020, your technology portfolio will be a mix of existing systems, SaaS apps, cloud business services, and cloud platforms—due to the pace of cloud technology innovation and the unlikelihood you’ll find everything you need from one vendor. Create a plan before you move infrastructure, data, and apps to and from the cloud and between clouds.
  6. Don’t go it alone
    Keeping up with the pace of change and innovation across cloud platforms is a full-time job. That’s why all major infrastructure management suppliers offer a range of strategy consulting and implementation services to help you evaluate your app portfolio, perform migrations, and even manage public cloud deployments.

As you build out your cloud computing strategy, take an in-depth look at your current portfolio, the needs of your business stakeholders, and the needs of the overall business. The goals of technology and business leaders are finally in sync—and according to Forrester’s survey research, business leaders are looking to I&O pros to make cloud safe and secure, monitor costs and performance on their behalf, and regularly optimize resources.

Figure 6: Forrester cloud computing

Cloud services will continue to pop up in each and every business unit in your organization. As I&O leaders, you’re best suited to start laying the foundation for a cloud computing strategy—and you’ll increasingly be looked to for guidance from business leaders on a mission to meet and exceed customer expectations.

To learn more, you can download the complete Forrester report here.