Straight Talk on Project Management

Contemplate the WHY!

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Still contemplating the cloud? Know your ‘WHY’ before you think about the ‘WHAT’

I was reminded this week of a joke I first heard as a child. Run with me on this!

One cloudy day, on the viewing platform of a tall skyscraper two strangers are chatting. One says, “I bet you £50 that the cloud is so thick you could jump into it and bounce right back here.”

Although initially sceptical, the other man takes the bet and the first chap climbs the fence, leaps into the cloud and indeed bounces back.

The second man is aghast, but after watching the feat performed several times decides to try it himself. He too tentatively climbs the fence and leaps into the cloud but instead of bouncing back he plummets toward the ground.

A passing security guard says, “You know, sometimes, you can be a right idiot Superman!”

I smiled hearing it again all these years later not least because now, as an adult, I know that this is exactly how it feels adopting cloud solutions into an organisation’s IT. I see it every day, CIOs and IT managers standing looking at the cloud from the relative safety of their viewing platform deciding whether or not to leap.

You may be thinking, everyone has ‘done’ cloud, but, research this time last year, by Vanson Bourne/Redcentric revealed that more than four out of ten IT managers (41%) were only just taking their first very tentative steps towards implementation of any cloud services. 15% of IT managers remained cynical about cloud altogether, many nervous about security among other issues.

Many of those managers may now have taken the leap. But if you haven’t yet, doing nothing, I think, is no longer an option, but I also believe that the time for tentative steps has largely passed too.

Call ten cloud vendors and you’ll probably get ten different cloud options, so what should you do?

If you’re wondering what to do – you may be starting in the wrong place.

Forget the WHAT and contemplate the WHY!

Chances are that your competitors are already operating with at least one foot in the cloud and some, but not all, will be leveraging its benefits to divert your customers’ eyes.

AND That’s what matters most – increased customer value and end user benefit.

If your prospective cloud vendor gets excited most about lowering your IT costs, less down-time and faster application delivery – walk away! Despite an article on citing cost cutting as the main business driver for moving to the cloud, just ahead of improving business continuity and uptime – if this is where your vendor focusses their pitch – look elsewhere!

Sure, these things matter but they won’t excite your customers.

Better customer service, increased market responsiveness, a more agile offer, these are the business growth drivers to be gained from adoption of cloud services. You get those when your business strategy and your IT are aligned.

Most vendors and consultants still come at cloud solutions from a techie paradigm and that could seriously impact the long-term benefit of a cloud initiative. Business objectives are of low priority with many vendors, if they register at all, so avoid cloud vendors who don’t take time to first understand your business’ strategy and vision.

You need a partner who can help position your organisation to take advantage of specific opportunities in YOUR market place.

Tentative half measures won’t cut it and they won’t excite you. Everything about your business should excite you! Otherwise why bother?! Speed, agility and innovation are the things that will make a difference to your customers. The more you explore with your partner what possibilities exist in the cloud for your specific business needs the more exciting and less daunting it all becomes.

It helps that these days IT departments don’t sign away huge single vendor IT contracts and hand huge parts of their IT estate to a single supplier. It means smaller, more agile players have been able to get a foot hold. However, this is a double edged sword and you need an experienced hand to guide you through the increasingly crowded cloud marketplace.

There are pitfalls, of course, hidden costs and difficulties integrating legacy systems with cloud services are among the most frequently cited. All the more reason for choosing a partner who takes the time to get to know you and has first-hand knowledge and experience of potential pitfalls and solutions combined with robust governance models and end to end visibility!

As you make your first steps into the cloud or (if you’re already there), adapt to make the cloud work better for you … ‘always focus on the why!’

In the complex cloud landscape – focus on creating successful business outcomes. Tailored solutions to meet your particular needs, from independent, tech agnostic consultants is the best way to succeed in the cloud environment. Unlike the man in the joke, never leap off the viewing platform into the cloud unless it’s with a partner who will be there to hold your hand the whole time.

Stoneseed’s Cloud Infrastructure Assessment can help you decide if your business could benefit from a move to Cloud.

Find out more about Service Delivery Assessments from Stoneseed