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How Data Can Lead Your Cloud Transformation Strategy

Businesses of all sizes have increased their attention to their cloud transformation strategy. But despite this laudable focus on the cloud, one crucial component is often missing: data. In order to be successful, this must change. Businesses need to focus on their cloud and digital strategies while simultaneously thinking about their data strategy.

With this joined-up approach, you’ll be able to ensure that your cloud transformation journey is successful.

Five Steps to Aligning Your Data and Cloud Strategies

Your journey toward data-led architecture must begin with the consideration of five key elements:

  1. Understand your data. Your information comes from a variety of sources and is held in a series of vessels. You must understand the disparate nature of your data. Then you must place this comprehension within the context of the current regulatory environment—particularly regarding where information is held.
  2. Identify your business goals. IT cannot work in isolation. Your business can use the cloud to buy technology services on demand, so your combined data and cloud strategy must focus on your future business goals. Think about workloads and budgets, and try to create shared key performance indicators.
  3. Run a workload assessment. Workloads vary considerably in the digital age. Whether the workload is short or long, your business must understand the strains these demands place on infrastructure. You must also consider how workloads vary by regional location and how these span internal, cloud, and hybrid resources.
  4. Classify your cloud apps, infrastructure, and controls. The rise of shadow IT means that information is often held in silos. Make sure your business thinks about how it can manage this information across multiple arrangements, whether that’s in a local, public, or multicloud setup. Relate this classification back to cost management to make sure the business stays in control.
  5. Implement a hybrid cloud data strategy. With all the other considerations in place, think about how you can use the hybrid cloud—and a mix of private and public resources—to run your workloads in an optimized manner. With a hybrid setup, you can make sure data is stored correctly in relation to both governance requirements and ongoing cost management.

Four Business Levers to Consider When Transforming Your Cloud Strategy

After you have the building blocks in place to develop a cohesive data and cloud strategy, your plan must remain a work in progress. As you continue to develop and hone your data-led architecture, pay attention to these four critical business levers:

1. Data-Centricity

Always act in a data-centric manner. Your business must, in all circumstances, focus on how it can use data to create faster time-to insight through the data you collect. By achieving this speed, you’ll be able to make crucial decisions faster. The aim must be to turn information into insight, and to then turn this insight into business intelligence.

2. A Case-Driven Cost Model

There are a lot of options when it comes to using the cloud. Without tight constraints, your employees could purchase resources that are poorly suited to the task at hand. Find evidence of what the business wants to achieve and what types of cloud service are available. Talk to your peers to ensure that any cloud procurement is matched to business objectives. Speak with your executive team, present your evidence, and get buy-in for your case-driven business model.

3. A Supportive Cloud Operating Model

You must ensure that your operating model is tightly aligned with your workload requirements. For example, your business might need to ensure it has different cloud arrangements due to data-governance requirements. Certain localities also need data held with specific providers.

Another workload consideration relates to temporality: Will data analysis take place on a short-term basis, or will it be required for the long term? Your operating model must support the balancing of workloads in a hybrid fashion, so your business can scale the cloud as data workload requirements alter. Ensure that your business has more than one cloud. Make sure your operating model is independent of any single provider and you can take advantage of other options as business requirements change.

4. Skills and Resources

Great cloud and data professionals are in high demand. These skilled experts ensure data and on-demand IT form a key element of your developing cloud transformation strategy. Make sure you have the right team in place, and that you find the right partners to support the execution of your transformation. According to 451 Research, more than 70 percent of organizations are looking for guidance from a trusted partner when implementing the cloud.

Make sure your business doesn’t create a cloud transformation strategy without also creating a data strategy. One without the other is simply a recipe for disaster. If your data isn’t prioritized at the same time as you make use of the cloud, you could find that your data is held where you don’t want it to be in terms of location, security, and cost.

Learn more about the journey to the cloud here.

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