Seventy per cent of organizations that want to leverage cloud technology fail to deliver business results, according to one cloud expert.

That’s what happens when a company’s IT strategy is not aligned with its business strategy, said Khurram Raja, product manager with TeraGo, at a recent ITWC webinar. “Technology has to be linked to the business objectives,” he said.

At the same time, “it’s a business imperative to embrace cloud right away as a key component of digital transformation,” said Arturo Perez, sales director at TeraGo. Organizations must be more agile to find new ways to meet the changing needs of consumers, he said.

IDC survey results show that, while most Canadian organizations are looking at digital transformation, 24 per cent of them haven’t yet started on a strategy and another 43 per cent are in the process of developing their plans. Perez said there’s a danger that latecomers will fall behind their competition.

It’s complicated

Organizations at the beginning of their cloud transition may find that the process is becoming increasingly complex, said Perez. There are more cloud options and combinations available than ever before. Forrester Research estimates that 56 per cent of organizations are now opting for multiple cloud services.

As well, many organizations face business challenges that can make it difficult to move forward, but can also be addressed by using a cloud service. For example, IT teams are often overburdened with day-to-day operations management, leaving little time for innovation. According to IDC, 35 per cent of firms say that, due to the IT skills gap, their ability to hire qualified staff has become a top IT challenge. A managed cloud provider can take care of the operational tasks, allowing the team to focus on the business, said Perez.

Questions you should ask

There are a number of things that organizations should consider before moving to the cloud, said Raja.

“The first question everyone should ask is: why move to the cloud? There has to be a tangible benefit and you have to see the potential to reduce costs and become more agile to meet customer demands,” he said.

A good fit with the overall business strategy is the top consideration, said Raja. Organizations should set out their business objectives, review the platform choices and take a detailed look at the total cost of ownership, he added.

Secondly, organizations must consider what they need for a successful cloud transition, said Raja. For example, they must ensure they have the right staff in place. They should also conduct a detailed review of which applications they want to move to the cloud. Some applications, such as heavily customized ones, are not ideally suited to the cloud, said Raja. “You probably won’t meet anyone that will move 100 per cent of their applications to the cloud.”

Finally, there must be a clear plan for ongoing maintenance of the service, as well as metrics to measure success. Organizations should be aware of the separation of responsibilities between themselves and their service provider. Security is a vital part of this road map given that IDC surveys show that it is a top concern for organizations, said Raja.

A trusted service provider should help organizations work through these considerations, said Perez. “There is no one solution for everyone.  We believe that cloud is a journey.”

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