Five questions to help plan your multicloud digital transformation

Hybrid Data Management Product Marketing Manager

More companies are choosing to implement multicloud platforms that include software as a service (SaaS) due to the many opportunities, advantages, and benefits they provide. However, a recent ISG report, Multi-Cloud Adoption Accelerates,” notes that a lack of proper planning could introduce pitfalls as well.

An ill-considered choice can lock a business in to a particular technology and set the IT agenda sometimes for “the next decade or more.” Unless they’re both careful and strategic, whole organizations can get stuck using a platform no one intended to use, and no one specifically asked for. That’s bad news for enterprises that have just been adding cloud capabilities to meet moment-to-moment demands.

A cloud planning gap

This possibility is perhaps more prevalent than many people realize. The ISG report suggests that a thoughtfully considered cloud strategy is unusual to find in enterprises today: 75 percent of respondents agree that it’s at least somewhat important to have a “defined framework” for migrating workloads to cloud…but less than 6 percent of those respondents said they have such a framework in place.

Some of this deficit is understandable. As the authors point out, “no two enterprises will have identical platforms. Each organization has to contend with its own mix of legacy technology, compliance needs, business imperatives, and desired technical investments.” Instead of a single framework, enterprises need to find their own way to pursue a common goal: making cloud part of a strategic digital transformation.

Key questions to consider

IT decision-makers must have a strategy to develop data management and governance across private and public clouds and link together various “as-a-service” options. ISG describes this as a cloud entry framework (CEF): a process for defining how to adopt cloud resources and select which workloads to move to them.

A CEF must be tailored to your business’ unique circumstances which is why certain key questions are valuable to help guide your adoption of cloud capabilities:

  • Which workloads should move? The variety inherent between workloads means that some are priority candidates to move to cloud. Dev or test environments and other ad-hoc projects are often the best place to start, while more regulated or sensitive data or workloads move to cloud later—if at all.
  • Where do they move? The cloud provider’s history, capabilities, physical location, support offerings, and technological offerings all play a part. Assumption of security or compliance risk liability, a lack of hidden data transfer fees, and strong integration with other technologies and their providers can make some clouds more appealing than others.
  • When do these workloads move, if at all? When undertaking a purposeful shift to add cloud capabilities and embrace multicloud results in an improved, more controllable structure, rather than adding resources ad-hoc to cover infrastructure shortfalls. By also providing the time to focus on building the needed integration across all platforms.
  • How should we handle them? Lift, shift and transform? “Lift and shift” often doesn’t introduce much value—it can turn a capital expense into an operational expense. Moving workloads is much more beneficial if it allows you to leverage new technologies and gain new efficiencies as part of a more holistic plan for digital transformation.
  • What special considerations exist for different workloads? Workloads can vary considerably, which is likely one of the reasons why 65 percent of ISG’s survey respondents indicated that cloud expertise and talent were key service provider characteristics. Providers familiar with a wide variety of data management and governance technology are better positioned to advise on open-source, technology, and interoperability. Some workloads or datasets may also need to be located in a particular country’s datacenter.

Build or assess your cloud entry framework

When cloud infrastructure is assessed and added in a deliberate, strategic way, enterprises can use it to help build an integrated IT infrastructure. Instead of a collection of digital components assembled in response to changing needs, enterprises can plan and build a robust digital backbone and be one step closer to a comprehensive digital transformation. But this journey can only begin after having the right answers to questions like the ones above.

Read ISG’s full report to gain better perspective into the questions you should be asking as you plan your digital transformation. For additional help defining your strategy, a 30-minute consultation at no cost with one of our technical experts to discuss the direction that’s best for your workloads.