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Why are you moving to the cloud?

Before embarking on your journey to the cloud, it's important to question your intentions.

Sandra la Bella (Karolina Komendera)

Why are you moving to the cloud?

“Understanding the ‘why’ factor will dictate your strategy,” said Sandra la Bella, group CIO at Alexander Forbes.

Addressing a meeting of the CIO Council in Sandton earlier this month, La Bella said without a clear strategy, businesses may spend a lot of money, and end up with technical debt and a failed implementation.

It’s also important to choose the right cloud provider, she said, and one that understand your business’ strategy.

The economics of cloud is complex because it involves everything to do with IT, she said, such as the current cost of your data centre.

“You might find out your infrastructure is lying empty and you have the capacity to simply continue storing on-premises,” she said.

Migration costs

The next step is understanding the migration methodology offered by the vendor. In her experience, these are fairly similar and have their own strengths and weaknesses. “You need to master the various migration costs so you can start quantifying the overall economics of your cloud journey. It’s also a myth that as soon as you start moving into the cloud you're going to reduce costs in a short space of time. On the contrary you are going to spend a lot of money updating applications and on vendors before you start saving.”

She said a move to the cloud could be seen as extending the company’s own data centre. “It’s incredibly important before you rush into the cloud that you design what this network will look like and ultimately what this new data centre is going to look like.”

Legal and compliance are also critical factors said La Bella. When spinning up data to the cloud you need to ensure you that your legal team can represent you in the country where the cloud is held.

“Corporate governance is also important, because unless you have this in place within your cloud strategy it can trip you up and lead to the failure of the overall strategy.”

“It’s a new way of operating and employees need to fathom how it works. Remember to also have a disaster recovery business plan, so should you have to exit out of a cloud contract you will be able to roll your cloud strategy into another cloud provider or bring it back within your organisation.”

Employees also needed to brought on the journey.

“This is not just an IT change; it’s an organisational change that needs to happen, and though driven by IT, it involves everyone within the company,” she said.

“It entails a mind shift within the company along with the training of employees so they can embrace the cloud concept effectively and efficiently.”

And once the cloud is in operation, it was important to monitor how it is being utilised, so that costs are curbed.

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