The cloud strategy methodology aims to help organizations efficiently document their business strategy. It offers guidance on driving cloud adoption efforts that capture targeted business value in a cross-functional model, while focuses mainly on the way that modern business will use to transfer its operational infrastructure to the cloud.
We all know what we mean by the concept of cloud. In a pure and basic approach is essentially to wean from the on-premises use of IT infrastructures, services, applications, systems, networks, etc. so that the modern business focuses only on the optimal use of the services it offers both to its customers and internally.
The two main models that govern the cloud architecture are the development models, that is, in which kind of cloud we will transfer our infrastructure and specifically private, public, or hybrid, and they are also the service models that refer to the type of services that we will upload to the cloud. We find 4 main categories that are IaaS (our infrastructure at the level of what we used to call hardware, networks, systems, data rooms, etc.), SaaS (which includes the type of applications we use, a CM farm for example, a Contact Center, etc.), and PaaS that corresponds to our so far Operational IT part.
Why “Cloud” ?
Beyond the approach of defining what is cloud, a reasonable question that comes after is “why go up to it?”, i.e., what would be the benefits of the business from using it?
First, the weaning and detoxification from the functional use, with all that this entails, of the on-premises IT infrastructure and from then on to:
The cost reduction of the use, operation, support, maintenance, upgrade, etc. of all our infrastructure so far in servers, network, even power supply or data rooms. This, of course, will take a transitional period to become accounted visible, although the payback times of the new investment in the cloud will run immediately, but it will take a reasonable amount of time to pay off.
Scalability, which is now almost immediate and not at all time-consuming both in terms of operational infrastructure (need for more storage, CPU performance, interconnections, etc.), and mainly in new innovative services that the company can now develop and will add to those of the on premises “as-is” situation, thus gaining a lasting comparative and competitive advantage.
The availability for use and reliability of services and infrastructure that now reaches the “four nines” rate, where 99.99% of it is guaranteed both in terms of SLAs, backup, and DR from all major cloud vendors.
Security of cloud infrastructures and services is a high and constant priority as all modern and best security practices are applied where cloud vendors fully obey international security standards, comply 100% with GDPR and other relevant regulations, are certified where required with international financial standards such as PCI and react immediately and instantaneously in case of mass vulnerabilities such as recently Log4J.
In order to be able to achieve the above goals with the best possible result, we need to follow a specific methodology, define the necessary strategy and be prepared based on a structured plan. The initial steps that govern this approach, divide the whole process into four phases as follows :
Phase 1 : Planning
Actually, it is the initial phase of design, where we envision the next day in the cloud, and which is governed by the following sprints :
The preparation sprint where we fully capture the current setup of our infrastructure that will be migrated, analyze the routing strategies and match the current functionality with that of the next day in the cloud in order to identify pre-requirements, gaps, & dependencies as well as to minimize possible operational risks
Business workshops, where among others, they include the matching of Use Cases to the vision we have, the functional tasks that are well-known as pain points as well as the analysis of the advantages of developing these Use Cases.
The very important Technical workshops that are the backbone of the migration as they consist of the confirmation of the architecture that includes data security, network and systems requirements, any customizations where required, but also the development of timelines, sprints, individual and / or combination roll outs, etc.
Phase 2 – Define & Implementation
The definition and implementation phase highlights the deliverables involved in the business case structure for cloud transformation, as follows :
The migration plan, which includes the practical phases of implementation (the sprints, user stories & product backlogs according to the Project Management methodology that we are going to use) based on the recorded requirements, as well as the readiness of the change management mechanism
The deployment scenarios that require the creation of the set of standards & procedures, the automated tools -where possible- to import configuration from the current environment and set time steps of the deployment with individual or combined pilots, roll outs, etc.
CX vision (customer experience) through the demonstration of a demo with future functionality, the comparative reporting in terms of cost, ROI vs AS-IS and the mapping of best practices for the management and support of the cloud environment day0 of its operation.
Phase 3 – Migration
Migration phase, is the point where the migration plan we saw in phase 2 is executed and business vision is ideally implemented. This particular phase is governed by :
The migration execution part, which includes the MVP scope, ie the minimum viable product, a minimum deliverable that will act as a pilot for the rest and of course the actual execution of the migration plan.
It is also the validation task, in which participate the user acceptance criteria and results, the actions to reduce as much as possible the risks and the minimization of any malfunctions from a business point of view during the migration
Third pillar of this particular phase is the MVP roll out based on the MVP scope we saw before and usually involves a small part of the infrastructure percentage…. e.g. 2-3% of a retailer’s Branches and includes predetermined scenarios set by business from the beginning
Phase 4 – Operational & Adoption
The operational and adoption phase consists of the functionality in the business environment of the new structural change with measurable business data and adding new and innovative processes from now on. The three characteristics of this phase are as follows :
The functional acceptance and adoption of the new environment that aligns people, processes, and technologies. It also includes training on the new functionalities as well as day1 tips and practical help to best adapt everyone.
It is also the constant innovative thinking that now becomes common practice for continuous optimization of solutions, for the digital transformation that is now a reality and therefore the multiplication of innovative services.
It is even the differentiation from before, both in terms of everyday life, as well as in personalized UX with constant “Learn A Lesson” and its transformation into effectiveness.
Migration approach time line
All the above, but mainly the steps and the implementation phases, are being collected in a time line visualization, based on the detailed requirements of all the analysis that has preceded it.
However, during the migration phase and before the start it will take a more practical form through a detailed Gantt Chart, for example, which will correspond to the project plan as well as the other administrative documents