How Leadership Missteps Can Derail Your Cloud Strategy

Inadequate planning leads to costly misalignments in resources and objectives, underlining the importance of a comprehensive strategy in cloud implementation.

Aaron Moore, President and Chief Technology Officer

February 26, 2024

4 Min Read
"derail" sign on a railroad
Wirestock, Inc. via Alamy Stock

Cloud computing offers a world of opportunity for businesses, as evidenced by its impressive growth. Current reports predict a robust annual growth rate of over 14%, culminating in an anticipated global market value of $1.5 trillion by 2030.

This growth reflects the significant benefits that cloud computing brings to the table, including enhanced efficiency, scalability, and flexibility.

The journey to enact a cloud strategy is an exciting venture. It goes beyond simply adopting new technology; it represents a transformative approach to IT governance and strategy. While it's true that some organizations face hurdles due to overlooking these critical management aspects, these challenges also present valuable learning opportunities. By recognizing and addressing these issues early, companies can avoid potential complications and fully embrace the myriad benefits of cloud computing.

What Can Go Wrong 

Cloud computing involves many moving parts working in unison; therefore, leadership must be clear and concise regarding their cloud strategies. Yet often they are not. The problems arise from not acknowledging the complexity inherent in moving to the cloud. It's not a simple plug-and-play transition, but one that requires modifications not only to technology but also to business processes and organizational culture. For these reasons, the scope of the project is easily underestimated.

Underestimating the complexity of transitioning to cloud computing can lead to significant pitfalls. Inadequate staff training, lax security measures, and rushed vendor choices together are just the tip of the iceberg. These oversights, seemingly minor at first, can snowball into significant issues down the line.

But there's another layer: the iceberg beneath the surface. Focusing merely on the initial outlay while overlooking ongoing operational costs is like ignoring the currents below, both can unexpectedly steer your budget -- and your company -- off course. Acknowledging and managing operational expenses is vital for a thorough and financially stable cloud computing strategy.

Leadership plays a crucial role in the successful integration of cloud computing within an organization. It's essential for decision-makers to align their cloud solutions with their overarching business objectives. The motivation for moving to the cloud should be rooted in a clear and strategic vision; one that comprehensively outlines how this transition will drive increased efficiency and profit.

3 Ways to Make Your Cloud Transition a Success

The journey to cloud computing, while complex, can be navigated smoothly with the right approach. Think of it not as herding cats in a thunderstorm, but more like orchestrating a well-coordinated symphony. With strategic planning and foresight, many of the common pitfalls can be easily bypassed. Here’s how you can guide your team through this transition effectively.

Commit to a clear roadmap. Having a clear and informed transition strategy will allow you to move to a cloud operating model the right way. Forging this roadmap should be your first step. However, your strategy can't simply be a rehashed version of your old processes. The cloud necessitates a completely different approach to IT department operations and architecture management.

For these reasons, adopting a cloud strategy should be seen as a true business transformation. It requires changes in every operational aspect: from how applications are built and supported, to how they are updated and managed. This transformation will meet resistance, especially if your organization relies on an "old school" IT department accustomed to supporting legacy systems. Be prepared to confront pushback. 

Understand what’s working -- and what isn’t. Your roadmap must be informed by data regarding your current operations and their shortcomings. Therefore, IT departments should conduct audits to pinpoint current inefficiencies and security vulnerabilities. It's also useful to collect user feedback and monitor system performance, including speed, uptime, and error rates.

Be sure to use benchmarks. For instance, compare the performance of your legacy systems against industry standards and estimate how switching to the cloud will improve disappointing metrics. These comparisons and related analyses should cover all key operational issues: support and maintenance costs, the effectiveness of integration with new technologies, regulatory compliance, and other crucial areas.

Use good governance. The transition to cloud systems, though challenging, can be effectively managed with robust governance. The key to a successful transition lies in establishing a comprehensive governance framework right from the start. That can encompass many issues but must at least cover security, compliance, and cost management. That framework should be managed by a dedicated governance committee, one made up of stakeholders from IT, security, finance, and human resources.

That committee requires authority to make sure the process stays on track, and it needs to monitor progress for achieving milestones on time and within budget. They should also have the power to enforce the framework’s policies. Of course, it’s important to review policies regularly and update as needed, and those updates should be communicated promptly to the whole team.

Don’t be the tortoise in this tech race. Companies that are slow to harness cloud power might just find themselves in the dust. By initiating your cloud journey promptly, you position your company not just to keep pace, but to lead and innovate. This proactive approach ensures that your business leverages the latest in technology, staying relevant and competitive.

About the Author(s)

Aaron Moore

President and Chief Technology Officer , Kinect Consulting

With 32 years of diverse IT expertise, Aaron Moore is the president and chief technology officer at Kinect Consulting

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