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A Closer Look Into the Reason for Building a Cloud Strategy

Lisa Yeaton Senior Specialist, Social Media Published 30 Aug 2019

Introduction: Summarizing Gartner’s “The Cloud Strategy Cookbook, 2019”

“Every business can benefit from a cookbook approach to developing a cloud strategy. CIOs should focus efforts on a living document that connects business strategy to implementation and migration plans.” -Gartner, The Cloud Strategy Cookbook, 2019

Gartner recently released The Cloud Strategy Cookbook, 2019, with changes and updates to reflect the current state of the cloud. We believe This report makes detailed recommendations for CIOs to consider in the process of creating a cloud strategy. It also offers a comprehensive template, “The Cloud Strategy Cookbook,” which specifies what organizations should include based on proven best practices.

Our Key findings at a glance:

  • Cloud strategy is the primary topic of discussion in the realm of cloud computing. Leadership is exploring why it’s necessary and how to build one.
  • Kicking off the process of building a cloud strategy will inevitably bring up further questions related to technology principles and setting appropriate priorities. Decision-makers must align the answers to these questions with the rest of the technology strategy.
  • An exit strategy is often overlooked among technology leadership, but it’s one of the most critical parts of a cloud strategy.

Cloud computing is a multifaceted undertaking spanning a wide array of technology practice areas. In some cases, enterprises adopt cloud on an as-needed basis, without adequate forethought for strategic decision making and considerations such as cost, including financial implications and service models. It’s been proven that businesses with a well-thought-out, working cloud strategy make better use of the cloud and have clear insights into the pros and cons, thus making it possible to hone the strategy ongoingly. 

What’s in a Cloud Strategy Cookbook?

Interestingly, most cloud computing questions posed by leadership are strategy focused; not technology-focused. As cloud becomes an increasingly prevalent component of the IT strategy, executives want to know what exactly a cloud strategy should include and best practices for creating one. It’s important to note as these questions are considered, the answers must be aligned with other areas of the IT practice, such as security and data center.

Getting started is often the most difficult part for executive leadership and IT decision-makers. Establishing priorities and laying out a strategy for ensuring strategic use of the cloud can be a challenging undertaking. Fortunately, “The Cloud Strategy Cookbook, 2019” delves into every area necessary for building an effective cloud strategy. The details can be found in the report, we understand  here’s what it includes at a high level:

Executive Summary

  • Provide an overview of the full strategy.
  • Identify individuals involved in the cloud strategy.

Cloud Computing Baseline

  • Establish consistent internal cloud nomenclature to allow for clear, productive discussions and decision making moving forward.

Business Baseline

  • Put forth the business strategy, goals, and transformation plans.

Service Strategy

  • Determine circumstances for public cloud consumption versus building internally. This includes identifying use cases for service models.
  • Evaluate your hybrid IT operating model.

Financial Models

  • Delineate financial ramifications. Do not overlook the importance of bringing financial experts into this conversation.

Principles/Assessment of Where You Are Today

  • This step is, in many ways, the foundation for a cloud strategy. It involves outlining your reasons for using the cloud, and how it should be used; followed by a complete evaluation of your current state.

 “There are many potential principles that can determine a cloud strategy. Some are nonnegotiable — for example, a cloud strategy is a workload-by-workload or application-by-application exercise (workloads are groupings of applications). Some other principles, such as “Lift-and-shift migrations to public cloud should be a last resort” are recommended and should be explicitly stated.” -Gartner, The Cloud Strategy Cookbook, 2019

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  • A few other principles include: cloud-first, buy before build (which, in the cloud, is often stated as SaaS first), best of breed. There may also be architectural principles such as cloud-native or multicloud.
  • The assessment phase requires a complete inventory of workloads, covering information from the owner and vendor to criticality and size.

 Security

  • Carefully determine security roles with respect to cloud.
  • Identify company responsibilities versus public cloud provider responsibilities.

 Supporting Elements

  • Determine how the new cloud strategy will impact staffing requirements.

Exit Strategy

  • As mentioned, the exit strategy is often overlooked among decision-makers, but it is perhaps the most important component of the strategy should anything go awry.
  • At this stage, you must create a contingency plan that preordains how the organization will reverse a cloud engagement should it go awry.

The Extreme Take on the Cloud

After the development of your cloud strategy, your next phase is implementation. To learn how to operationalize your strategy and move into implementation, read the Gartner report: “The Cloud Strategy Cookbook, 2019.”

To sum it up:

  • Having a cloud strategy increases the potential for success.
  • Cloud can be a highly beneficial business decision for enterprises, given the proper use cases.
  • One of the most commonly overlooked components of a cloud strategy is the exit strategy. It is of critical importance to determine what your organization will do if a cloud investment doesn’t generate the intended outcomes.

Networking is one of any areas in which cloud can be used to simplify IT operations and increase efficiency. At Extreme, we believe a clear strategy is key to access, and this Gartner report is an excellent tool for setting up your own strategy. For this reason, we invest heavily in cloud. Recently, Extreme acquired Aerohive Networks, a third-generation cloud and a leader in cloud networking.

“The acquisition of Aerohive establishes our leadership in cloud, AI, and ML, adding a proven and mature cloud services platform and subscription service model for Extreme’s customers and partners. Extreme continues to invest in software and AI to expand the automation capabilities across our portfolio of edge-to-cloud networking solutions. The ability to improve user experiences, lower operating expenses, and deliver cloud-managed networks is key to our strategy.” -Ed Meyercord, President & CEO, Extreme Networks

Disclaimer:

Gartner, The Cloud Strategy Cookbook, 2019, David Smith, 2 April 2019

Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

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