Best Practices in Enterprise Cloud Adoption – Learnings from Cloud Leadership Forum

These past few years, a number of enterprises have already made the jump to cloud computing, and are now focused on managing the cloud and maximizing business value out of the services. As the IT field moves past the theoretical phase and entered management and implementation, enterprises who have made the jump to cloud are dealing with a new set of questions. For example, is a public cloud more suited to infrastructure or should they go with private cloud? Which vendors should they choose, legacy IT companies or upstart ones?

The above questions were the central focus of discussion in the last Cloud Leadership Forum held in Santa Clara and sponsored by IDG Enterprise and IDC.

What is the right perspective?

When developing a cloud strategy, it is crucial that you start with looking at what the cloud is capable of and how your enterprise is going to use it. Cloud’s point of interest is more than just in the implementation, but in how it can be used to improve the health of the company as a business. This is a perfectly valid distinction, as cloud computing is powerful enough to serve as an entire service architecture that will affect cost structures, business processes, and even IT staffing – for better or worse.

What is the right pace for cloud adoption?

A lot of organizations have no idea how aggressive they should be when it comes to adoption of the cloud. The key is to look at peer companies and see how hard they are pushing on cloud. It is crucial to adopt cloud at a pace that is relevant to your industry sector.

What is the right model for adoption of cloud?

One of the most important things to consider when moving to cloud is whether to move to a public or a private cloud model. The main difference between the two is who will end up managing the cloud – a private cloud model is managed by an IT person, while public cloud is managed by the provider. The former offers better security and flexibility, while the latter offers ease of use and scalability. It is up to the enterprise to decide which one they want. There’s also a third option, if they need the redundancy – get an IT person to manage an account with a public cloud, effectively making said IT staff the go-between for the company and the cloud provider.

What is the proper organizational structure?

Once an enterprise has successfully migrated to the cloud, the next thing to consider is how it can be managed. Some organizations chose to hire new people in their IT shops after cloud adoption, while some expanded the skillset of their existing staff in order to manage the cloud better. The choice is up to the organization, depending on which one will give them more value-added business opportunities.

What is the right community for your cloud?

Cloud computing currently has two different major areas to consider when it comes to choosing which platform to use – the first one being the end user access point to the cloud via mobile devices. Three major players – Apple iOS, Android mobile OS, and Microsoft with its Windows phones are currently dominating this area. HTML5 is also looking to become a new standard, as is RIM’s blackberry.

The second area concerns which platform will be used to develop software that will run in the cloud. This area is still developing, but major PaaS players have already emerged, consisting of Google’s AppsEngine, Microsoft’s Azure, and IBM’s SmartCloud PaaS.

Who are the right partners for your cloud strategy?

When it comes to the market developing around the software, infrastructure, and service areas of the cloud, the choice is major cloud players and new ones that already have reputation in other sectors. The latter have legacy connections with IT but are still in the feeling out process when it comes to cloud strategies, while the former are cloud-savvy but are still establishing their IT relationships.

What is the goal of the organization?

This seems like a generic question as far as organizations are concerned, but it holds true even when it comes to cloud computing. The cloud can be used as an enabling technology for the business, whether they want to become more agile or more cost efficient (or both).

What are the details?

Last but not the least, the technology behind the entire cloud should be a focus for optimization. In order to maximize the benefits of a cloud strategy, the organization must be familiar with the various nuts and bolts behind the technology and how they can be used.

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