Did your dad ever say, “are you going to learn from your own mistakes or someone else’s?” Well… mine did. Having been through a large number of cloud adoption journeys I wanted to share a few tips that have been very helpful as we’ve considered what a new customer should do, especially given the current economic, cultural, and personal climate. There are a lot of architectures and frameworks, which are very helpful…. but here are a few tips from the edges that can help you make the right decisions.
Tip 1. Understand that this is your moment for change
We don’t get a lot of opportunities in life to do something right the first time we do it and we especially aren’t granted do-overs in IT. This is one of those moments where you should be thinking about how your organization can transform, not just try to recreate what you have in the on-premise environment. During your migration to a cloud management environment you have the opportunity to change at minimum these:
- Roles and responsibilities within the IT org
- Micro-network segmentation
- Infrastructure as code for all deployed resources
Consider this when thinking about your organizational transition:
Tip 2. Remember that what you don’t do well now you’ll fix for 2x-3x the cost later.
I’ve heard a few times from customers that have gone down the cloud route without focus on a well managed infrastructure. In retrospect, they end up finding waste, security controls, and structure that could have been done earlier on. I also understand that the last thing an IT department should do is be a blocker for the business in using the cloud. The goal should be to maximize the opportunity to serve the business customer while accelerating the movement into an operationalized cloud. Things to remember:
- Don’t block the business in adoption
- DO build an operationalized cloud approach
- Partner with the business for adoption
Think about the possible cost savings and how long you want to keep growing the waste in your environment:
Tip 3. Zero Trust adoption is now
Zero Trust is not a marketing term… ubiquitous connectivity between applications and end user computing is not working. Zero Trust is about segmenting applications, users, and data from each other… providing access only to those that require it, are healthy, and authorized. The movement to the cloud, especially for Zero Trust is a huge opportunity. SO huge that I did a blog on why it is THE reason to move legacy workloads to the cloud. These three elements should be your north star as you plan your Zero Trust strategy:
- Conditional access
- Micro-network segmentation
- Modern desktop
Tip 4. Realize this is changing the ROLE of IT in the business
The movement to the cloud is rapidly changing the role of IT in the business, especially in its transition away from being a service provider to a service consultant. The next several years will be about IT commoditizing its services, where IT services are like buying a mobile phone and attaching it to Office 365… no help needed, data isn’t on the device, security built-in.
- Modern Desktop (desktop as a commodity, Zero Trust)
- Conditional Access (security by default)
- SaaS applications
- Office 365 for collaboration and associated data
- Modern Data Platform (such as Synapse)
The movement we’re seeing is that IT needs two priorities… first to commodities its services… second… to move into the business and partner like a CTO to drive innovation and engagement. If the business doesn’t have an IT organization that can do the second, it will simply hire those roles itself, or will hire a CTO directly. Check out this graphic:
Tip 5. Now is the time to pilot and iterate on new ideas.
Don’t use the cloud migration as a blocker to the business’s transition to becoming a product organization. The best companies are letting the business loose on new ideas at this moment. They are doing this because the market is disrupting at an incredible pace, driven by changing work from home approaches and digital engagement. We’re seeing companies executing on these types of workloads in the cloud:
- AI projects to drive efficiency of customer engagement
- Bot and digital customer engagement
- Modern development techniques using serverless or containers
- Modernized data estate (such as Synapse)
- Transformation of existing working models with WVD (vs. Citrix)
Don’t let a good cloud migration go to waste! Use it as a time to take action, transform, be a change agent in the way you think about your company. The leading companies are those that look at this as an opportunity to do things different, to break down barriers, take down walls.