How Cloudy should your Cloud Roadmap be?

By Shijo Joseph, AVP - IT, Gujarat Gas Limited

There is no denying the fact that cloud is redefining the way technology services are adopted in organizations. While cloud simplifies technology implementation and enables organizations to be flexible and scalable in their approach, it comes with its own set of issues like security, coexistence with on premise technology etc.

Cloud technologies have been existing for years, however the adoption of the same is been a challenge due to high connectivity cost and absence of mobility to enable portability of solutions. The convergence of Social media, Mobile, Analytics and Computing on a widely growing wired and wireless connectivity options has made cloud technologies a viable option for any business.

Adoption of cloud technologies for services or infrastructure needs to be well deliberated and a long terms plan needs to be drawn. IT leaders need to consider many aspects before charting out a cloud road map.

Do we need to really adopt cloud?

I recently spoke to an IT manager who has done substantial investment in building an on premise infrastructure and still looking for leveraging the cloud solutions.  The reasons for such adoptions could be many.

• Evaluating cloud solutions at the time of Infrastructure revamp would be ideal as cloud could provide better solutions at cheaper cost. A TCO comparison of on premise Vs Cloud technologies could bring the necessary clarity.

• Need for optimization of an existing service could be another reason to look at cloud. One such example is moving your communication platforms like email, instant messaging and video conferencing to cloud. This could reduce the on premise complexities of multiple contracts, resources and infrastructure and bring the entire solution under a single contract

• A cloud service on pay per use concept could be ideal for your Business continuity planning. Such services reduce up front investments on premise DR solutions and give you the flexibility to scale as per need during a disaster situation.

Strategic Considerations:

• Ensuring Data security and business continuity has to be the prime consideration while evaluating cloud technologies. It is important to select an established cloud player in the market in terms of technology as well as security standards.

• Avoid building dependency to the cloud provider in your contracts. While the contracts can be signed long terms to gain price benefits, it is equally important to have smooth exit clauses and data retention standards defined in the contract. Such points are relevant not only from a cloud vendor performance perspective, but also from future technology adoption perspective as well.

The adoption of cloud has to be more business focused than technology. Based on the business needs and technology upgrades build cloud adoption strategy in your IT road map and pilot with less important services prior to moving business critical ones to cloud. Ensure awareness of market dynamics as this is fast changing field in terms of technology and tweak your adoption road map accordingly.

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