You’re Doing It Wrong: 3 Most Common Cloud Strategy Mistakes

Lisa Johnston
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cloud strategy
Are you combining your cloud strategy plan with your implementation plan? Don't do that.

Are you making these blunders when it comes to developing your cloud strategy? There’s a good chance you probably are. 

That’s according to Gartner, which has released a list of the 10 most common mistakes when it comes to creating a cloud strategy for an organization.

Here are the top three, with the full list available below.  

1. Assuming Cloud Is (Just) an IT Thing

If you find yourself having to lobby others to get on board with your cloud strategy, you’re doing it wrong. 

“Business and IT leaders should avoid the mistake of devising an IT-centric strategy and then trying to ‘sell it’ to the rest of the business,” says Marco Meinardi, Gartner VP analyst. 

“Business and IT should be equal partners in the definition of the cloud strategy.”

Critical to this is acknowledging that employees outside of the IT department also have the skills to drive momentum. Success isn’t just about the technology, and your future evangelists may come from outside your tech department.  

In an interview with CGT, Lindsay Winn, Molson Coors VP, commercial IT business partner, highlights the value of small groups when first getting started and obtaining that crucial stakeholder alignment. 

“Step one is bringing some of your key decision makers into 1:1 meetings or very small meetings, and making sure they understand what you really mean by cloud and where you're going with it,” she says. “Because I think if you approach a giant meeting of senior executives, and you say, ‘Hey, we're going to the cloud. What do you think?’ Everyone's going to nod their head, and they're not going to know that they really know what you mean.”

2. Failing to Prep an Exit Strategy

If you don’t know what you’ll do upon exiting the cloud, you’re doing it wrong. 

Meinardi compares the preparation of an exit strategy to keeping an insurance policy in your drawer — “that you hopefully will never need to use.” 

While companies may choose to believe they don’t need a cloud exit strategy because they won’t bring things back on-prem, this can never be guaranteed, and you should account for all scenarios.  

“It’s important to not do cloud transformation for the sake of cloud transformation,” cautions Ramki Krishnamoorthy, global head of enterprise architecture at Molson Coors. “It's critical to understand some of the drivers that are calling for our overarching cloud transformation strategy. You need to have clearly defined outcomes, targeted timelines, which are extremely critical, and it needs to be accounted for when you're starting to devise and build an architecture.” 

3. Conflating Cloud Strategy with Cloud Implementation 

If you’re combining your cloud strategy plan with your implementation plan, you’re doing it wrong. 

Your cloud strategy plan must come first, the research firm notes, given that it’s the period in which both IT and business stakeholders will determine where and how cloud computing will fit within the org. Only once this is developed should you attempt to execute your cloud implementation plan. 

On that note: Keep it short, Meinardi advises. “A good cloud strategy should be a short and consumable document, consisting of 10 to 20 pages or slides. In addition, the business strategy should drive the cloud strategy and provide guidance to those who will implement it. It must coexist with other strategic efforts, not try to redo them.”

Gartner has seven more “don’ts” on its list, including not outsourcing your cloud strategy, and erroneously believing that cloud-first means cloud-only. Read them all here

Listen to More Cloud Transformation Strategies from Winn and Krishnamoorthy

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