Cloud computing has become the base that enables business transformation, differentiation, and helps in staying at the forefront of the competition. According to Gartner, the global market for cloud services will grow by 80% by 2022. Cloud computing has proved to offer organizations with rapid access to most innovative technologies. However, it brings considerable challenges for organizations that weren’t ‘born digital’.

Most organizations see cloud investments as one of their top priorities, impacting the market’s offerings as a consequence. Over 30% of technology providers will shift their new software investments to ‘cloud only’ by 2020-end. This implies that the availability of on-premise, license-based software solutions will see a steep decline while Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) becomes the new norm. At present, there are only a few enterprises proportionally whose revenue growth and business offerings are not influenced by cloud-first strategies.

Developing a Robust Cloud-First Strategy

Cloud adoption involves several areas to address, while the odds are in favor of your business, reaping significant benefits. An organization must develop a well-defined, clear cloud strategy for their endeavor to realize their desired vision.

The Intent Behind Adopting a Cloud-First Strategy

The initial step to plot an ideal cloud-first strategy for an organization is to determine the type of environment that best meets their requirements. If the primary objectives are scalability and flexibility, public cloud models like Amazon Web Services (AWS) are optimal. The private cloud allows organizations to maintain on-premise resources while provisioning computing power over a private and secure network.

In case both private and public cloud suit the requirements of an organization, a hybrid cloud solution will be the deployment of choice to balance both approaches. This helps running high volume applications on a public cloud while tightening the grip on high-risk applications via a private cloud. It is important for organizations to consider what exactly their business goals are and determine stakeholders required to be involved. 

It has been observed that the primary reason for cloud adoption among most organizations is improving internal efficiency and streamlining operations. This is further linked with another crucial priority, i.e. improve productivity and employee performance. All of this to ensure achieving one of the most pressing agenda – ‘enhancing customer experience’.

Creating A Cloud-First Strategy

Without a smart cloud-first strategy in place, an organization risks cloud investments that don’t meet their expectations. It is therefore important to appoint a stakeholder committee for evaluating possible cloud implementations. Another choice would be working with a cloud service provider (CSP) to determine the correct path for cloud adoption.

The next step is to assess the current environment and all factors must together deliver optimal user experience. A cloud-first strategy is flexible and therefore, several decisions are needed to be made. Organizations must determine the criteria to choose a strategy that best serves their operations. It is necessary to create a summary of the most common use cases and examine their potential benefits as well as risks.

Ensuring Security

It comes from reluctance that adopting a cloud-first strategy means compromising security. According to Gartner, the workloads in the public cloud infrastructure will see 60% fewer security incidents compared to their traditional counterparts, i.e., on-premises deployment. However, IT leaders are required to safeguard data while ensuring that their employees adhere to using best practices.

The role of the cloud in disaster recovery plans is part of its compelling appeal. The cloud is capable of handling heavy workloads, when it comes to limiting downtime and recovering data. Organizations must be prompt on putting this to action for continuing their operations in case of disaster, till the time their original services or servers can be restored.

Developing A Cloud-Savvy Talent Base

The cloud has a large technology impact on the career of IT professionals. While adopting a cloud-first strategy, the individuals are required to hone a whole new set of skills, which include

  1. Experience in SaaS deployments

  2. Experience in IoT applications such as sensors

  3. Complete understanding of the way cloud computing influences data and analytics

  4. Excellence in cloud security

  5. In-depth knowledge of cloud deployments and architectures

Cloud Computing is the Future

As the line between technology and business continues to blur, creating shared responsibility, alignment and engagement across organizational functions remains a key challenge. IT industry’s future points upward and cloud-based applications enable organizations to embrace the future that organizations cannot anticipate but must be ready for.

To achieve desired results and meet said requirements, organizations must develop a defined cloud-first strategy. This strategy must outline the implementation process in a well-thought-out and defined fashion. Adopting a cloud-first strategy will not only ensure best possible end-results, but also minimize the number of iterations and amount of experimentation essential to realize the transition.

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