9.5 min to readCloud Services

How to create an effective cloud adoption plan? The 4 principles.

SoftwareOne blog editorial team
Blog Editorial Team
A group of people walking on a street.

Many companies introduce the cloud without even thinking about WHY they should do it and WHAT do they want to achieve by doing so. The consequences can be measured in the amount of wasted time and money.

But there is another way. A wiser one.

Let us present you with 4 essential principles that you need to follow before even spending a penny on the cloud.

Before you even begin your cloud journey

It’s easy to follow the crowd and do something because everyone else is. But maybe you want to take a step back and think: Do I need to move to the cloud?

Even if the answer is yes, it brings yet more questions to answer: what kind of cloud solution is right for me? Maybe I need a cloud strategy?

There is no such thing as ready-made cloud strategy.

Technology might not be what drives your business. If someone presents you with a full roadmap right off the bat, you might want to reconsider your consultant choice.

Starting a discussion about a cloud adoption plan while focused on the technology approach is the wrong tactic. You should first take a look at the value you deliver to your customers (internal or external), and then the technology supporting it.

Your business needs should drive the tech stack – not the other way around.

Know your value offering

Don’t start planning any tactical moves or directions around your cloud approach until you make sure you understand your ‘landscape’. Find out where your company builds value for your users and customers.

There might be different kinds of users in your organisation, and your job is to support them all. You might have to take into consideration different points of view to efficiently promote the process of delivering value.

Now, let’s look at a few different questions:

  • Is it better to use SaaS or a custom solution?
  • Will you invest in building a solution or will you decide to buy one?
  • What skills should you keep on board and what should you buy on the market?

You can answer those questions only if you understand a few things:

  1. You know where you contribute when it comes to value creation
  2. The trends on the market which will help you to deliver it (or will try to stop you) aren’t a mystery for you
  3. You know where the trends are headed.

Knowing the industry trends is key to informing your value proposition and choices you’ll make for your cloud adoption plan.

Again: it is not technology that drives value to be delivered to users. The process of providing value for users is what drives technology choices.

Remember it! It is the key to success in the long-term.

Set and measure your goals

Before considering the technical details of your approach and all the choices you need to make for your cloud adoption plan, think about this: How will it bring value to your users and your organisation?

There might be multiple benefits, and not all of them come in direct monetary value. Instead, they might involve:

  • Reduced time to market
  • Easier compliance and auditing
  • Switching to monthly costs
  • The ability to scale up and down as needed.

You will find plenty of examples and arguments on how the cloud can benefit organizations. It is important to investigate which ones will apply to yours and what – as a result – you will be able to deliver to your users.

It doesn’t matter that cloud provides excellent scalability if you don’t need thousands of servers – are you okay with the ten you already have?

Pick your reasons to adopt and use the cloud. Make sure to gather opinions from different places across your value creation chain. Their ideas will likely be different to yours and you should consider them.

How will you know if you’re achieving your aims?

Here, you’ll need to take the next important step which is: Define clear and measurable goals and a way to measure them!

It is the same as with, for example, training for a marathon – if you don’t measure your speed and time regularly, you will not know if you are progressing and as a consequence, you won’t reach your goal.

You have to define your objectives first. Moreover, you need to establish a way of measuring them across the organisation. It will enable you to monitor the progress in your desired direction.

Now we’ve set the stage, let’s debunk some myths around developing a cloud strategy!

Vendor lock-in doesn’t have to be an issue

It’s all that we can see all over the Internet. Vendor lock-in is the new method of scaring people off.

The solution? The multi-cloud approach!

And here come the dragons …

Let’s look at things objectively.

Turning to multiple cloud providers without a plan raises your costs in terms of the learning curve, the time to deploy the solutions, and interoperability between them. Suddenly, you need to decide where to put which solution, how to manage them all, and operate productively.

You can take the approach of abstracting your solution from the cloud providers through an additional layer of APIs or interfaces which will make it vendor-independent. Usually, this means you waste the potential gains of the service – in terms of time and the cost of work to maintain it – to implement this “intermediate” layer. And you will always be behind.

Is there another way to stay vendor-independent?

If you invest wisely in your solutions approach and your team’s knowledge, there is no such thing as vendor lock-in. It is really just another term in the cloud vocabulary.

Most likely, you will use multiple cloud providers. This is the reality. The difference is in WHY you’ll do it and HOW you will approach this decision!

The fear of vendor lock-in should not drive it. What should push it is the value. The things that you are getting out of it. Take into account the following factors:

  • Services delivered to your user and their quality
  • Time that is needed in order to provide this value to the market
  • Cost of delivery and the return on it
  • Any other factors you have identified as crucial to your value delivery

What else can you do to avoid vendor lock-in?

Follow what comes from your skills and architecture, not the state of technology:

  1. Invest in your teams and their knowledge of the cloud. This way you’ll always be able to choose what’s best in the current situation.
  2. Think about your architecture – design is the moment where you can usually become tied to a single solution or product.
  3. Invest in automation for integration and deployments. Once your solution is implemented in a fully automated way, it might just be a matter of adjusting this deployment method and some of the service elements to be able to move to another provider.

If you have to switch cloud vendors, there will be costs to incur. However, with the right architecture, knowledge, and deployment processes, they should be bearable and will still be lower than if building things from scratch.

It is usually ourselves who build the solutions that create vendor lock-in. Rarely the vendors.

One container does not fit them all!

There is always a new ‘darling’ on the market and in the industry. It might be containers, functions or micro-services.

As a result, when it shows up, you will be informed quickly. Your architects will talk about it. Your developers will talk about it. It will pop up in every design discussion like: “Why not use…” and it will be all over the business analysts’ articles.

There is always a technology war to fight, and one option will always try to get an advantage over another (like Kubernetes vs Docker and similar. If you are old enough, you should remember Commodore vs Atari, which was the same situation, just more on-premises).

And there will always be a winner. But you know what? Almost certainly, the next battle is waiting just around the corner.

Learn, experiment, evaluate

If the entire industry shouts “containers”, it is good to investigate it and look for the value that it could give you. However, this is not a strategic choice.

Your cloud adoption plan definitely shouldn’t sound like: “we will now use containers for everything as it is the best and finest technology, and it prevents vendor lock-in.”

This is wrong. Such an approach doesn’t have any relation to your value chain, it doesn’t set a goal, and it does not provide anything to measure that goal against. To make sure that you’re taking advantage of new technologies, adjust your approach to the cloud reality:

    Learning, experimentation, and evaluation will allow you to make the right choices for individual technologies within your cloud strategy.

    How to create a good cloud adoption plan?

    And here we are. As you have seen, we have not talked about the tough choice between IaaS and PaaS. We have not discussed using SaaS vs a custom-built solution or using hosts vs serverless services.

    All the considerations when it comes to choosing between these technologies come down to the pros and cons for particular options in specific scenarios. And this is where we as technology experts can always jump in and express their preferences.

    Your choices in terms of your organization’s technology approach are not a strategy! And the truth is, you will most likely use many different products and services at the same time. The only difference is how much you use each of them at various stages.

    What questions do you need to answer to create your strategy?

    There are several issues for your organization to consider. Read carefully:

    • How do you define the value that you deliver to customers, and how does technology aid in its creation and delivery?
    • What benefits and outcomes do you expect to achieve with the adoption of the cloud (regardless of specific technology choices)?
    • What are the goals and how will you measure them to know that you are progressing?
    • How are you going to approach architecture choices and build solutions to ensure flexibility in the choice of providers for the future?
    • What is the process for learning and evaluation of new technology options to make sure you are delivering the right outcomes, aligned with your goals?

    Once you have those 5 crucial elements covered, you will be ready to make the right technology choices for specific solutions.

    Know what your business is about

    One final note is that for every organisation, it is essential to answer three essential questions about its actions:

    • What does it do?
    • How does it do it?
    • Why does it do what it does?

    Your cloud strategy has to answer questions about WHY and WHAT in the first place! The HOW will probably change very often, but you will have clear guidelines on how to improve it.

    Your cloud migration plan should answer the following questions – WHY do you use it and WHAT do you want to achieve? The goal is not to focus on a specific technology but to address a business need.

    Define the goals of your cloud adoption plan and have a way of tracking your progress.

    Vendor lock-in is usually created by our choices, not vendors. Think about your architecture and delivery processes instead of how to avoid being tied to one provider.

    Don’t jump on the latest solution just because everyone’s talking about it. Learn, experiment, evaluate.

    Focus on your business outcomes rather than technologies – solutions will change very often during the process, so it doesn’t make sense to do the opposite!

    And if you need any help along the way, don’t hesitate to reach out to us – we will be happy to support you, wherever you are in your digital transformation journey.

    A close up of a pink and blue flower.

    Talk to a cloud expert

    Get cloud guidance from the pros. Contact us today to schedule a free 30-minute consultation with one of our cloud experts.

    Talk to a cloud expert

    Get cloud guidance from the pros. Contact us today to schedule a free 30-minute consultation with one of our cloud experts.


    SoftwareOne blog editorial team

    Blog Editorial Team

    We analyse the latest IT trends and industry-relevant innovations to keep you up-to-date with the latest technology.