Cloud Roadmapping: How to build a perfect roadmap on our journey to the cloud

The path to the cloud is not without risks and challenges. However, companies are increasingly aware that it is no longer an option but the essential lever to accelerate the pace and adapt to the times the market is leading us.

Companies that aspire to be long-term leaders must stop seeing the cloud as an external service and consider it “where we live, grow and do business.” Aware of this reality, organizations worldwide are carrying out this migration regardless of their size and sector of activity. The reasons? One of the main ones is cost reduction, although it is not the only one.

Migrating to the cloud model is not an option, so companies know they must make the journey as quickly as possible, reducing risks and levels of business disruption. Of course, before embarking on the path, it is important to bear in mind that the process affects all aspects of a company and its ecosystem.

It’s not just about a technological journey. Whatever the nature of the business, industry, or region you are in, the reality is that the cloud changes just about everything. One of the main changes that occur in the management style is necessary to think differently from the highest level of the organization. This starts with the management staff and has to work its way down to the grassroots, making a complete change in mindsets and attitudes a basic requirement for a successful transition. Another of the transformations that occur in this journey is the relationship with customers. After all, one of the main reasons to move to the cloud is to be more competitive in the market, so the sooner you start to face that contact with the client, the better the channels and relationships can be developed in the cloud. Finally, adopting the cloud will significantly change other crucial elements of the company, such as supply chains, with potentially radical changes in purchasing and logistics management.

The need for a roadmap

The priority of any large organization is not simply to accelerate its journey to the cloud without taking unnecessary risks but to find ways to identify and monetize the benefits along the way. To do this, the solution is to use cloud-native applications and services capable of generating additional income to help pay the migration costs while acquiring a better long-term position. How can we make this happen? The answer is easy,  developing a roadmap with different components: a clear analysis of the starting point that allows to define the priorities and establish the migration steps that will take the organization from the current state to the future; developing clear objectives for business relationships with the main provider, which will involve looking at possible discounts for services, consumption agreements and methods to reduce latency by defining locations for hosting specific IT components; an analysis, as deep as possible, of how personnel management and work practices must change; the identification of risks in the deepest way possible; and the construction of a specific plan in which all the available benefits are identified.

At this point, it is important not to leave people behind. As a general rule, the human dimension of change is often undervalued, which is why many programs are failures. Migrating to the cloud is a process of change. Moreover, in the cloud, new options become possible and old ones become inappropriate, so the roadmap must be linked to corporate and, above all, cultural transformation, which implies a focus on adapting to the change: the ability to place continuous improvement programs at the center of everything that is done and to accept the reality of constant change as a future way of life.

Risks

Companies embarking on this journey are entering uncharted territory in many ways, and new kinds of risk come with that. One of the main ones is business continuity. Although it is a highly identified and easily managed risk, at least when it comes to a stable IT environment, the matter becomes more complex when we talk about large technological elements in the process of change. Initially, companies will need to keep both legacy and future environments fully operational during the transition. In addition, the business continuity plan will have to be constantly updated to ensure that components are backed up in the most appropriate locations and that systems continue to function without interruption, even if there are difficulties at any stage.

Technological risk is another factor to take into account. Migration to the cloud means moving to a new scenario. That means frameworks, systems, and, in some cases, applications will go away and be replaced, a priority because huge cost savings can be achieved by ditching licenses and simplifying tooling.  

Conclusively, a very intriguing issue of the cloud is that it allows faster development of new offers and products and more creative solutions. However, there are risks included in this new way of working as the cloud facilitates access to global markets. Still, these can apply very different legal regimes that must be understood.

A company, a trip

The strategy and the roadmap to carry out this migration cannot be a standard elements. Each organization starts from a different place and follows a different path so that each trip will be unique. Yes indeed. It is important to note that the cloud is not an end point: it is a highly dynamic environment, subject to continuous and often highly unpredictable evolutionary change.

For this reason, this journey is a mental, psychological, technological, and organizational process in which the different stages must be understood; expectations must be set at a realistic level and prepared for the challenges that must be faced. 

In this complex context, it is essential to have a travel companion capable of establishing all the processes and changes necessary to successfully reach the goal.

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