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Securing the Digital World

Success in the Cloud: Three Commonsense Principles

  • by Mary Summerall

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Over the past couple of years, the pace of cloud adoption has accelerated. Many moved to the cloud out of an obvious and immediate necessity to enable remote work in the pandemic. Those that were already planning a “someday” cloud presence also likely had to push up the timing of cloud rollouts. Organizations operating in the cloud long before early 2020 benefited from having the technology in place—but had to quickly rethink strategy. Could the cloud help them solve some of the dilemmas posed by new operating models, like no longer being able to conduct all business face to face?

These scenarios remind us that the cloud is perhaps best thought of not as a goal, but as a journey. There will always be those at the very beginning of that journey, who are considering whether operating in the cloud is something they can or should do—as well as those much further down the path, who are seasoned SaaS veterans. But no matter where your organization may be on the continuum of cloud maturity, an event like the pandemic can lead you to question everything about your cloud strategy: why you’re doing what you’re doing, whether you’re on the right path, what to do next.

At a recent Argyle Digital event, Chief Product Officer Jim Taylor discussed how to think through, set and adapt an organization’s cloud strategy. He outlined three commonsense principles that—no matter where you are on your journey—can guide your thinking and decision-making and ensure that you’re headed in the right direction:

1. Remember it’s not about the cloud. It’s about what the cloud enables.

For all its power to simplify operations and reduce costs, cloud computing isn’t about those benefits per se; it’s about what simpler operations, lower costs and other lifts enable organizations to accomplish. The cloud helps you pursue whatever it is you want to pursue and achieve what you set out to achieve—whether that’s empowering a productive, agile workforce, for example, or growing a flexible global supply chain—and do it in more effective, efficient ways. When your decisions about cloud operations are informed by that reality, you’ll stay on track even when circumstances—a pandemic, a meteorite, an invasion from Mars—threaten to throw you off.

2. Expect the unexpected, and be prepared to adapt. The cloud is there to help.

As you think about how the cloud can enable your organization to achieve its goals, know that those goals will constantly change. The changes may be forced by external events (see #1, above) or driven by internal initiatives—or both, as is the case when the former impacts the latter. (In the pandemic, for example, carefully planned strategic cloud initiatives to simplify and drive down the cost of infrastructure gave way to the tactical need to stand up entire remote workforces fast.) No matter how much or how suddenly you need to adapt, or whether you need to re-prioritize certain steps, the constant should be that the cloud continues enabling you to do it quickly, cost-efficiently and at the right scale.

3. Find a vendor who wants to partner with you to deliver exactly what you need in the cloud.

This may sound obvious, but it’s never a good idea to invest in technology with the intention of figuring out how to apply it to your particular situation as you go along. Yet that’s exactly what happens when your vendor does not have a clear and specific understanding of the business issues you’re trying to address or the problems you’re trying to solve in the cloud. Make it a priority to identify and work with a vendor who wants to be a true partner—learning your business, understanding your strategic direction and building solutions to meet your specific needs. A strong vendor relationship based on these goals can benefit both parties for years.

After all, your first trip to the cloud won’t be your last—just like your first car won’t be your last. As your needs change and the technology advances, make sure you have someone working alongside you who will help you get the most from the cloud throughout your organization’s journey.