Our experience is that strategies often face either one of two challenges: being too high-level to ever become widely adopted and implemented or too detailed to last over a longer time. With that said, it is far from impossible to create actionable and long-term strategies that work as the foundation for a desired transformation. Establishing a strategy is all about involving people and collecting input from stakeholders that don’t necessarily work together on a day-to-day basis. This might be even more true to the cloud topic as any successful cloud adoption journey cover so much more than just IT or technological matters.
We have selected an approach where we help our clients establish a cloud strategy covering four specific phases WHY – WHAT – HOW – WHEN.
WHY – Understanding your business drivers
To successfully get business support and buy-in on a cloud strategy, it is crucial, in our opinion, to start with the business and IT strategy. Understanding these strategies and how they are linked is a good foundation for a cloud strategy. In a collaborative approach, we often work with both IT and business stakeholders to understand which parts of a cloud journey can and will support the business objectives. Ultimately that should be the foundation for any enterprise action.
WHAT – Setting a target and how to steer towards it
Having a clear target for a cloud strategy is paramount. Not only will it enable follow-up and measuring success once embarking on the journey, but it will also make the purpose and intention more tangible for the organization. For natural reasons, the target might be somewhat technical, but it will indicate the level of effort, impact on the organization, and horizon of when tangible results are expected. Combining the target with a set of well anchored and agreed guiding principles will help steering decisions that need to be made during the journey towards the target. These principles should help identify candidates for cloud adoption, guide how investments are made and use the business objectives as leverage.
HOW – Getting the needed foundation in place before getting started
Embarking on a journey to the cloud will not only impact the technical landscape, but will also influence how services are procured, how governance structure is implemented, the IT operating model, and more. Therefore, a crucial part of a cloud strategy should cover areas that will be affected by implementing the strategy and suggest how these should be adopted or changed. Some common areas we have covered with clients are vendor management, operating model, governance processes and several others. Doing this early on will help the entire organization to prepare and line up for what is to come during a cloud adoption effort.
WHEN – Creating the overarching roadmap
We strongly believe that a strategy without a high-level plan or roadmap will not inspire the action and drive toward the needed strategic object[MG1] ive. Breaking down the target into manageable pieces and setting clear definitions of success needs to be done. This part of the strategy should also cover sequence and expected effort to complete the HOW areas even if the actual execution might be done outside a cloud adoption project or program.
At Ascend, we do this kind of assignments in a highly collaborative approach with our clients. Our view is that the primary value we provide is experiences from establishing cloud strategies in a range of businesses and industries, but our clients remain the experts on their own business.
What are your thoughts and experience on this topic? Get in touch.
Erik Wingård & Niklas Wiklund