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October 7, 2015

Taking the Plunge: 5 Cloud Mistakes to Avoid

List: So you are ready to dive into the cloud. But before you do, remember the old saying, “Sometimes you have to make sure there is water in the pool.”

By Vinod

To ensure things go swimmingly, take steps to make sure conditions are right. And start by learning lessons from others. Here are the five big mistakes to avoid when working with cloud. (We initially had six, but have been told that odd numbers are better.) So here they are:


1. Break out of the cloud vacuum

This is a classic. Cloud services are often built without considering the critical needs of the rest of the organization. What are the benefits you are driving toward? You may want fast access to disruptive technology, but can you manage multiple streams in parallel?

Understand the end game. And get IT to work with the business to build this holistic view or risk dissatisfaction with key stakeholders. Too many executives, in the rush to embrace cloud, take an, "If you build it they will come" approach.

But it just does not work that way. Organizations need to create guiding principles for their cloud projects that articulate the vision and that are aligned with the business.

2. Understand the cost model

Before you start delivering, be sure you have a cost model in place. If you do not, you will have some users burning through services like there is no tomorrow. Without first establishing what is acceptable, it will be impossible to spot and correct conspicuous consumption patterns.

Clear spending visibility, especially for the private cloud, is critical. Because cloud will not necessarily save you money if you do not do it right, you really need to get real about today’s and tomorrow’s spend.

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3. Measure, measure and measure again

This is all about understanding and articulating service level agreements (SLAs) and key performance indicators (KPIs). And make sure you are continuously improving on SLAs. For SLAs consider the cost of a server going down for five minutes. It is critical for private or public, but especially the latter — because you should get money back for downtime.

For KPIs, if you have the wrong ones you will be underserved or overcharged (or likely, both.) Without this foundation, it is virtually impossible to negotiate a sensible contract with cloud service providers.

4. Get the roles right

Cloud represents a change in the way work is done. So introducing it without a clear and corresponding change in roles will derail the best intended efforts. Some of the new ones you will need: strong vendor management capabilities and the ability to better engage the business.

Cloud represents an opportunity to re-skill your workforce. But be sure to communicate early on about the change to your workforce. Be honest about the change. There will be attrition, but then again, people will be happier knowing the reality. Check out, "Shaping the IT Workforce of the Future," for more on that score.

5. Start small, think big: Think about your end game

— but do not try to do it all at once. That involves engaging with and understanding the entire cloud landscape from back office procurement to front office customer service. Choose which to take on based on the urgency of the situation.

Then constantly check yourself: How well are we doing? What do we need to improve on? Then go from there to build more robust services.

By Matthew Coates, a managing director, and Kevin Murphy, a senior manager, at Accenture Technology Strategy


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