You are formulating your company’s cloud strategy. Where do you start? There’s so much information out there, so many options – Which provider do I go with? What services fit my tech stack? How do I translate my and my team’s knowledge into this new world of the cloud? Are we falling behind? You may have concerns about your server version that about to be unsupported or your need for new hardware. Un fortunately, many companies get overwhelmed and decide to simply lift and shift all their servers and VMs into the cloud, assuming that will buy them time to figure the rest out. Then 2 years later, they are right back to the same place, just with a new set of technology choices to make. This is why strategy is essential.
We see this often, companies wanting to move to the cloud and having a hard time understanding where to start. Taking the technology-only track seems like the wise thing to do. After all, it’s a technology decision. But what if you are able to make that technology decision driven by alignment with the business? Along the way, you find ways to enable your company’s ability to move fast, ability to shift quickly to respond to market changes, ability to save money, ability to make more money and enable innovation across your entire organization.
When we talk about DevOps, it is not just about automation.
One of the things that you’ll hear us say pretty quickly once you meet our New Signature DevOps team is that we don’t believe that your journey to Azure is complete unless you have implemented DevOps practices, and we don’t believe that your DevOps journey is complete without the cloud to enable some of those practices. And when we talk about DevOps, it is not just about automation (of course, it is an important foundational part of it). It is about the ability to get people collaborating together, breaking down barriers and inefficiencies that prevented them from delivering value to the business, and applying technology to enable those processes and create effective feedback loops. The cloud has a lot of benefits, and it also brings some challenges, including the integration of cloud services into the enterprise architecture, security and compliance of corporate data, managing employee-led cloud usage, establishing operational processes for cloud services, and even the development of necessary skills needed in the cloud era.
So, going back to the initial problem: rather than looking at your cloud strategy as a purely technical exercise, it is important to think about and have a clear understanding of the business drivers that are taking you to the cloud. Doing so will help you reach alignment with the business and be able to determine your company’s “why” for moving to the cloud–the reasons for the provider that you choose, the technology stack that you pick, the servers or applications that you choose as your first movers, or the ones that you leave behind, start becoming obviously clear. And your cloud strategy becomes aligned with your company’s growth strategy. And now you are able to deliver value and, thanks to your DevOps practices, you are able to measure that value and know very quickly when something is not working the way you were expecting it.
Fuel your innovation for years to come: Where do you start?
While it is important to understand the technology landscape and have a path forward for your various applications (for example, looking at Azure App Services and Azure SQL Databases to replace your on-prem IIS/SQL Server web application), I would start by understanding what would the cloud do for your business. What are the problems that being 100% on-premises is causing to your company’s ability to innovate? Could you make or save money by being able to spin up new instances of your services quickly in other parts of the world? If your developers had a reliable test environment, could they be able to provide the business with a faster turn-around on new ideas, even if it just meant that you failed fast and you were able to pivot quickly to the next idea? Are business ideas and priorities slowed down by your data center? Starting there will provide you with the business agility that you are likely looking for and will fuel your innovation for years to come.