Cloud readiness is a term used frequently as Cloud computing matures into early mainstream adoption. Cloud readiness refers to an organization’s relative capacity to successfully adopt Cloud computing capabilities into its organizational fabric – the culture, its business processes, into its products and services, and into its information technology (IT) capabilities.
Most Cloud readiness approaches are focused on an enterprise’s ability to adopt Cloud computing into their current business and IT environment. In addition, most Cloud readiness approaches are focused on the incremental adoption of Cloud computing capabilities. These approaches to Cloud readiness emphasize adopting Cloud computing into the current business and IT environment, which seems to fall short of the full potential that Cloud computing offers.
Cloud Spectator believes that Cloud computing offers a transformational opportunity, and therefore this readiness framework emphasizes an organization’s ability to transform itself using Cloud computing as an enabler. In our view, Cloud readiness focuses on how ready and willing an organization is to harness Cloud computing to transform its business model, IT organization, and its end-to-end value chain processes to exploit Cloud computing capabilities. This Cloud readiness framework is a capability-based approach, not a maturity model. Maturity models are static views of where an organization is, while a capability-based model focuses on how to develop the capabilities essential to realizing the organization’s Cloud computing goals.
The Cloud Readiness framework described in this whitepaper will facilitate your Cloud computing adoption process, even if your goals are modest. However, if your organization seeks to harness the transformational power of Cloud computing, this Cloud Readiness approach will accelerate your transformation process to achieve new levels of business and IT performance.
Incremental Adoption versus Cloud Transformation
There are a number of approaches to Cloud computing that may be pursued, and all are valid if they are backed by explicit business and technology goals, and have clear alignment to business and IT strategy. Cloud strategies are important devices to develop in order to clarify the organization’s vision, mission, goals and objectives for Cloud computing. Cloud strategy approaches can be described using the following five Cloud strategy “archetypes”:
- Strategy First: A Strategy First approach develops a Cloud strategy first before embarking on the Cloud journey.
- Strategy Backfill: A Strategy Backfill approach formally creates the Cloud strategy after initially deploying Cloud, and seeks to achieve more benefits.
- Strategy Reset: A Strategy Reset approach re-develops a Cloud strategy after an unsuccessful initial Cloud deployment.
- Cloud Strategy Refresh/Renewal: A Strategy Refresh approach updates the Cloud strategy after initial goals are realized, while seeking higher levels of value and performance. (This might describe the transition from an incremental Cloud adoption approach to a more transformational approach. See below.)
- Cloud Imperative (business driven): A Cloud Imperative approach recognizes that a formal Cloud strategy is essential to ensure the success of a critical business imperative.
All of these Cloud strategy archetypes may be either incremental or transformational in nature. For many organizations, Cloud computing represents an inevitable shift toward infrastructure outsourcing and more optimized deployment of business and IT resources. Cloud computing provides a pathway to faster time to market, global reach and expansion, better IT responsiveness, and even improved security in many cases. However, there still is some distrust of Cloud computing, despite its rapid ascent to becoming a mainstream pursuit of CIOs and business leaders across all industries.
The fundamental question that organizations must face in adopting Cloud computing is simple: Is Cloud computing intended to be an incremental enabler to improve flexibility and responsiveness for the business? Or, is Cloud computing being considered as the underlying fabric of an enterprise-wide transformation that supports digital transformation, Agile development, new product development, R&D collaboration and more? The illustration below contrasts the transformational approach to Cloud computing, applied to the entire business, versus the incremental approach, in which Cloud computing is narrowly adopted within IT.
If Cloud as an incremental enabler of modest value is the goal, that’s fine, and this readiness model will help achieve those goals. However, if Cloud is intended to be a transformational enabler, then this readiness model will most certainly accelerate the journey to that destination.
Attributes of Cloud Incrementalism
While we contrasted the incremental and transformational approaches to Cloud computing above, we should explore the two approaches in more detail. What are the attributes of the incremental Cloud adoption pattern? What are the anticipated outcomes? How will the organization be different as a result? The following characteristics summarize the key attributes of Cloud incrementalism:
- Emphasis on Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) with a goal to move targeted workloads to the Cloud
- Focus is primarily within the IT organization, focused on IT infrastructure and IT operations
- Seeks to augment on premises or private Cloud capabilities with public Cloud services, thereby achieving a hybrid multi-Cloud environment
- Pursues what may be called a Cloud First strategy, but more likely this is a “Cloud as a co-equal to on premises capabilities” approach. The Cloud First mantra is not truly realized in this approach
- Cloud-centric transformation is not the objective. Rather, Cloud enabled IT infrastructure and processes are
The table below summarizes the attributes of Cloud incrementalism as compared to Cloud transformation:
Attributes of Cloud Transformation
If an organization is pursuing a more transformational approach to Cloud computing, it will tend to be more aggressive in its adoption process. The following statements tend to describe a Cloud transformation organization:
- Pursues a Cloud Native strategy, as opposed to Cloud First. Cloud Native means that Cloud computing is a core consideration across the entire value chain, including the business strategy, products and services, IT, IT infrastructure and more.
- A Cloud Native approach seeks to drive Cloud computing into the business strategy and business model, into core business processes, into new product and service development, as well as into all facets of the Information Technology (IT) organization, processes and technical capabilities.
- Cloud transformation looks beyond Cloud incrementalism to find ways in which Cloud computing leap frogs a process, product, or the enterprise as a whole beyond its peer competitors.
- Cloud transformation builds the agility, speed and scalability of Cloud computing into the business and operational processes from the strategy down and from the ground up.
- Cloud transformation means that an organization is adopting Cloud into its future state, and seeks to leapfrog its competitors.
The Cloud transformational approach applies Cloud computing to the entire enterprise value chain, end-to-end, to fundamentally Cloud-enable the business, IT and all processes, capabilities and needs.
The attributes of a Cloud transformational organization are strikingly different from those of a Cloud incrementalism organization, although, as stated above, they are not mutually exclusive approaches. Both approaches do have a fundamental requirement in common: the need for Cloud leadership.
For questions, or if you have general inquiries about our products and services, please contact Cloud Spectator (www.Cloudspectator.com) at +1 (617) 300-0711 or [email protected]