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How to Develop a Cloud Strategy: 11 Step Guide

Digital transformation is the process of integrating digital technology into all areas of a business, resulting in fundamental changes to how it operates and delivers value to customers. It’s not just about adopting new technologies but also about changing how businesses think and approach their customers and markets. 

An effective cloud strategy is at the heart of any digital transformation, but what is it exactly?

What Is a Cloud Strategy?

A cloud strategy is a comprehensive plan that outlines how an organization will leverage cloud computing (and other digital technologies) to achieve its business objectives. It involves evaluating and selecting cloud services and deployment models to optimize the efficiency, scalability, and security of the organization’s IT environment.

6 Ways Having a Cloud Strategy Benefits Your Organization

There are several benefits to having a cloud strategy in place. In addition to acting as the guide that your team follows to keep the project moving forward, your strategy also serves the following purposes:

  1. Improves the chances of successful cloud utilization that delivers your company’s business objectives, and lays the groundwork for an effective technical execution
  2. Aligns objectives across all stakeholders and teams involved in the implementation process
  3. Ensures that you select the platform that’s the best fit for your organization
  4. Helps identify and avoid potential challenges and roadblocks
  5. Keeps the implementation schedule on track
  6. Builds a cost optimization assessment into the implementation process

Top Cloud Strategy Challenges

As you plan your strategy, it’s important to be aware of the challenges that come with cloud computing. It’s crucial to first understand what these challenges are so you can develop a structured approach that effectively avoids or overcomes them.

Illustration depicting challenges in cloud computing, including security, scalability, and data privacy.

Building Your Cloud Strategy

While individual cloud implementation strategies will vary between organizations, there are a few key components that should be a part of all strategy development plans. By taking the following steps, you’ll ensure that your transition to the cloud is effective and transformational.

1. Consider Business Objectives

It’s vital to understand what the company wishes to achieve with its digital transformation and cloud technology. These business objectives will drive all remaining steps.

A representative, but not comprehensive, list of business objectives that can be achieved with a cloud strategy follows. Make sure you capture the KPIs that determine success for each objective.

  • Enhanced Efficiency and Productivity — Automating routine tasks with digital tools can significantly increase efficiency and productivity. Cloud platforms and applications allow for smoother workflow management, reducing manual errors and freeing up employees to focus on more strategic tasks.
  • Improved Decision Making — The digital transformation enabled by a cloud strategy delivers better data collection and analytics, which in turn, improves decision making. With access to real-time data, businesses can make informed decisions more quickly, predicting trends and responding to the market dynamically.
  • Increased Customer Satisfaction — By leveraging cloud technologies, businesses can offer personalized experiences, improved service delivery, and more engaging customer interactions. This not only boosts customer satisfaction but can also lead to increased loyalty and revenue.
Optimal cloud migration solutions for businesses - smooth transition to cloud computing.

  • Enhanced Agility and Innovation — Digital transformation to the cloud fosters a culture of innovation, helping businesses to remain competitive in a rapidly changing market. It enables organizations to be more agile, adapting to market changes more swiftly and efficiently launching new products or services.
  • Cost Reduction — Over time, cloud-based operations can lead to significant cost savings. Cloud-based processes can reduce the need for physical materials, cut down on waste, and optimize supply chains, lowering overall operational costs.
  • Expanded Market Reach — Cloud-based solutions allow businesses to reach a broader audience more effectively. Through e-commerce platforms, social media, and digital marketing, businesses can engage with customers across the globe, expanding their market reach and potential for growth.
  • Improved Collaboration and Communication — Digital tools facilitate better collaboration among employees, departments, and external partners. Cloud-based platforms and collaborative tools can enhance communication, making it easier to share information and collaborate on projects, regardless of location.
  • Greater Scalability — Cloud-based solutions can more easily be scaled up and down to meet the current demand when compared with traditional processes. Scalability provides businesses the flexibility to respond to growth opportunities while tailoring cloud costs to only what is necessary.
  • Data Security and Compliance — Cloud-based solutions also offer many options to upgrade cybersecurity measures and ensure that data handling practices comply with industry regulations. This is crucial for protecting sensitive information and building trust with customers and partners.
Avoid these 5 common cloud strategy pitfalls to ensure successful implementation and maximize benefits.

2. Get Executive Buy-in & Support

No cloud strategy can be successful without approval and direct engagement from key executives. A cloud strategy is first and foremost a core business strategy, which means demonstrating how the cloud strategy will help the company achieve its business objectives is crucial to winning the hearts and minds of key executives.

3. Select a Cloud Service Model

The next step in developing a successful cloud strategy is deciding on a service model. This could be either infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), software as a service (SaaS), or a combination thereof based on your organization’s needs.

4. Choose a Deployment Model

Whether you’re deciding between public, private, hybrid, or multi-cloud environments, this choice has ramifications for data sovereignty, privacy, and compliance considerations.

Aside from the defense and intelligence sector, there are many industries and segments that have historically been cloud-adverse, with policies that prevent or severely limit what data can move across the internet. However, this abundance of caution is shifting as cloud-based security tools and policies demonstrate a significantly higher level of protection when compared with many traditional data center operations.

Your deployment model may evolve over a roadmap for this reason as well as others.

5. Formulate a Migration Plan

Develop a plan for migrating existing applications, data, and customers to the cloud. This includes selecting which workloads to move, in what order, and determining which of the seven primary migration strategies will be applied to each workload.

At the earliest possible moment, perform a cost calculation of your anticipated cloud spend. Experienced partners and tools can help with this process. Perhaps a cost projection based on the less sophisticated ‘lift and shift’ migration model can form a baseline from which your plan can modernize and optimize.

6. Keep Security & Compliance in Mind

Ensure that your cloud strategy adheres to the regulatory requirements and standards for data protection that apply to your industry(ies). This involves implementing security controls, governance policies, and compliance checks. Pro tip: Plan to automate these functions as much as possible.

7. Plan for Cost Management & Optimization

Establish mechanisms for monitoring and optimizing cloud spending to ensure that your organization gets the best value from its cloud investments.

8. Ensure the Right Talent & Culture

Assess your organization’s readiness for cloud adoption in terms of skills and culture. This might involve training existing staff, hiring new talent, and fostering a culture of innovation.

Plan these activities around building a cloud center of excellence (CCoE) within your organization.

9. Create Technology Partnerships

Evaluate potential cloud service providers and technology partners based on their capabilities, ecosystems, and alignment with your organization’s objectives.

Your cloud strategy should likely include teaming up with a services company that’s experienced with migrating and modernizing existing software to the cloud. Having this expertise on your team will accelerate your move to the cloud, speed your existing staff’s knowledge acquisition, and lower the risk of stalled or failed migrations.

10. Establish Governance & Management

An effective cloud strategy will plan for establishing governance frameworks to manage cloud resources effectively, including resource allocation, performance monitoring, and operational management.

11. Anticipate Innovation & Scalability Needs

Your plan should include leveraging the cloud to drive innovation and scalability. This involves exploring advanced cloud services like artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and Internet of Things (IoT) to create new opportunities.

Above all, remember: A cloud strategy should be a living document that is periodically reviewed and adjusted to reflect changing business priorities, technological advancements, and market conditions. It provides a roadmap for using cloud technologies to drive business value, enabling organizations to respond more quickly to market changes and customer needs.

Cloud Strategy & AWS

VividCloud takes an ‘AWS First’ strategy because of Amazon Web Services’ (AWS’) deep commitment to successful migrations and cloud adoption. AWS is the leading provider of cloud services, offering an advanced and mature public cloud platform that is continually growing in capability and industry specialization.

When considering cloud computing, AWS ranks at the top of the list with over 200 managed services available to build your cloud solutions. Over the years, a growing number of globally known companies have relied on AWS’ services, with names like Netflix, Siemens, Salesforce, Samsung, and more appearing on the list.

Additionally, AWS provides flexibility and scalability — and you pay only for what you use.

Cloud Strategy FAQs

What is a cloud strategy?

Put simply, a cloud strategy is a comprehensive plan that outlines how an organization will leverage cloud computing (and other digital technologies) to achieve its business objectives. Having an effective cloud strategy in place is an integral part of the digital transformation process.

How can I plan a cloud strategy for my organization?

Cloud strategies can, and often do, look different between organizations. However, there are 11 steps every company should take to ensure a successful transition:

  1. Consider business objectives
  2. Get executive buy-in and support
  3. Select a cloud service model
  4. Choose a deployment model
  5. Formulate a migration plan
  6. Keep security and compliance in mind
  7. Plan for cost management and optimization
  8. Ensure the right talent and culture
  9. Create technology partnerships
  10. Establish governance and management
  11. Anticipate innovation and scalability needs

What are the benefits of having a cloud strategy in place?

Having a cloud strategy is vital to the success of your transition to the cloud. Well-thought-out cloud strategies also provide alignment across all stakeholders and teams, a schedule to keep the project on track, opportunities to identify and avoid potential roadblocks, built-in cost optimization assessments, and a means of identifying the services and models that fit best with your organization’s needs.

VividCloud Can Help

As an AWS Advanced Tier Services Partner, VividCloud stands at the forefront of cloud migration, modernization, and integration solutions. We offer deep expertise and innovative approaches tailored to your unique business requirements.

We bring a deep understanding of AWS technologies, and we are committed to transforming your cloud strategy into a seamless, efficient, and secure digital transformation.

Whether you’re navigating the complexities of hybrid environments, seeking cost-effective solutions, or aiming for enhanced operational agility, VividCloud can help.

We invite you to start a conversation with us to explore how our customized, cutting-edge solutions can propel your business forward in today’s rapidly evolving digital landscape. Realize the full potential of the cloud with VividCloud.