|By Srinivasan Sundara Rajan||
|February 25, 2012 10:15 AM EST||
Enterprise Cloud Adoption
It's clear that since 2012 we have started to see serious attempts by enterprises to adopt cloud. What was seen as pilot projects or workshops in earlier years is now seen as production implementation projects on cloud. The cloud adoption takes various forms in the enterprises.
- SaaS -probably is seeing the highest adoption with some maturity and best practices in the areas of CRM, HRMS, etc.
- IaaS - definitely finding place in development, test and preproduction environments
- PaaS - while it has high potential, due to interoperability concerns and skill needs the adoption still at a relatively low level.
While the adoption is a good sign, it also brings with it the risks as some of the early cloud projects have started to fail. Up until now we have only hear good things about Cloud, but now we are getting data on how Cloud did not lived up to expectations. This kind of information may create fear, uncertainty and doubt in the minds of enterprises. However enterprises should do a careful analysis of any perceived failures of Cloud projects, rather than simply blaming it on the Cloud as a concept.
Most of the good transformation initiatives always find their resistance in the past, and Cloud is no exception. Enterprises should analyze whether any negative perception about a Cloud project true or is due to resistance from a few. However, for cloud integrators to avoid risks, the following points needs to be considered.
Here is a summary of the common mistakes to avoid during migration of on-premise platforms and applications to cloud.
1. Cloud Migration Team Does Not Understand the Legacy Data Model and Flow
But for few applications like provisioning infrastructure or email, collaboration solutions, any cloud implementation is bound to have lot of integration with existing on-premise applications. Cloud migration specialists ensure that they understand the underlying legacy data models and process flow of on-premise applications. In the absence of it migration of cloud is bound to fail, because the business will never get what they wanted.
2. Business Not Involving IT
Various studies suggest that business is adopting cloud faster than IT. The ability to meet their time-to-market demands and not waiting for the IT team to deliver results has pushed business to adopt Cloud at much faster rate. Though this is one of the most desirable outcomes of the ‘Commoditization of IT,' in a few cases businesses tend to ignore the traditional nonfunctional aspects of a cloud solution and traditional IT is better at analyzing the nonfunctional needs ahead of the time. By not involving IT, businesses are sometimes not able to differentiate between the marketing claims with the actual implementation scenarios.
3. Not Choosing a Proper Deployment Model
Most cloud solutions have multiple deployment models, for example, popular cloud solutions have the following deployment models.
- Full cloud implementation, where the entire solution runs on the cloud
- Full on-premise implementation where most cloud solutions have packaged into a ‘Cloud in a Box' concept in the form of an appliance, which can fully run on-premise on a private cloud
- Hybrid implementation which is about keeping part of the solution on cloud and part On Premise.
As evident it's not always easy to tell which option is good for a cloud migration and each application characteristic isdifferent and can suit an appropriate deployment model. Sometimes the failure of a cloud migration is not really about the product or the concept but rather about not choosing a correct deployment model.
4. Choosing Cloud for the Wrong Reasons
Cloud migration should be well-thought-out as part of enterprise wide strategy, such that each stakeholder is clearly instructed about the benefits of cloud and where it fits into the overall enterprise IT strategy. If the stakeholders are not fully educated about the benefits of cloud and cloud is enforced for some quick wins without a long-term strategy, it may give business users high expectations and if it doesn't meeting them it will be doomed as a failure.
5. Running Cloud Projects with Unskilled Resources
Cloud has brought its own technical capability needs and different skills for integrating on-premise and cloud applications. This is a new area with relatively little training and certification options at this time. Sometimes we may not have people who are skilled at cloud platforms and their implementation. If an organization runs cloud migration projects with the wrong people it may lead to failure.
Like any other project within the enterprise, basic principles of project management like estimation accuracy, project planning, requirements management, and quality management are all important for cloud projects. As discussed above, any of the reasons can make a cloud migration project fail. However, enterprises should take a long-term view of the cloud and the failure of a cloud project should not be considered a failure of the concept.
Basic best practices in project management are applicable for cloud migration too and enterprises should concentrate on these fundamentals to ensure that their cloud migration is successful.
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