A 4-Step Methodology for Achieving the Right Cloud Strategy

Dec 5, 2016 | by Natalia Tsymbalenko

In an increasingly commoditized market, learn how to cut through the noise and forge a cloud strategy that meets your needs

Only a few years ago, organizations were wrestling with just one question about their cloud strategy – “do we move to the cloud or don’t we?”. But today, with the proliferation of cloud adoption, those same organizations have shifted their questioning to:  

The last question is particularly pertinent. While Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services (AWS) are now positioned as leaders in Gartner’s IaaS Magic Quadrant – it’s getting harder and harder to find a technical deficit between the two.

In the past, comparisons could be drawn based on solution capabilities and cost. Today, however, the technical capabilities and total cost of ownership of both services have reached parity, with Azure price-matching AWS for commodity services such as compute, storage, and bandwidth.

To further complicate matters, Google is waiting in the wings. Currently residing in Gartner’s “Visionaries” corner, Google is positioned to make the leap into the “Leaders” space which will likely muddy the decision-making process even further.

Choosing Cloud: The Rule-of-Thumb Approach to Buying IT Doesn’t Cut It

If you’re contemplating a cloud strategy, where do you start?

For several years the rule-of-thumb approach to buying cloud has relied on several input factors.

First, there was the past experience of others: “My friend, a CTO, had a terrible experience with XYZ a few years ago, so I won’t consider that provider.” Then there are the sales strategists on all sides seeking to influence buying decisions with numbers and case studies. But, perhaps the most decisive influencing factor was the technical expertise of the IT team: “My developers work in [language], so we need to choose a cloud provider that supports that language.”

All common sense approaches. Unfortunately, in a dynamic cloud market where each vendor has its own sweet spot and technology innovation is constantly evolving, organizations that are preparing for cloud migration need to do a little more homework. Anecdotal experience, sales slicks, and a predilection for a particular technology stack doesn’t cut it anymore.

It’s time to bring a more holistic approach to choosing the best cloud platform to serve your organization’s needs.  Of particular consideration is the fact that choosing a cloud provider is no longer an either/or question. Ubiquitous adoption of the cloud raises a new set of needs:

These are complex requirements that the rule-of-thumb process doesn’t appease. To understand why, let’s take a look at a universal set of factors and how these influence the decision to go with one cloud provider over another.

Today’s Cloud Strategy Decision-Making Process (and Pitfalls)

While each organization has differing drivers for cloud adoption, we’ve observed a common landscape that steers the cloud strategy of any business. This landscape (as represented by the Venn diagram below) comprises the organization’s business drivers, internal technical expertise, and the technical capabilities of the cloud provider.