4 Steps to a Cloud First Strategy

From our last week’s post, I shared the six most common drivers (or reasons) that inform the decision behind making the move to go cloud.

If you happen to have missed it or like to refresh your memory, please take a moment and go through the blog post here.

This week’s focus is on the steps or stages you need to take (or go through) to adopt a cloud-first strategy.  I bet you’re probably asking what does a cloud first strategy mean. Don’t fret I’ll break it all down for you.

Cloud first strategy generally means having evolved or matured, as an organization, in the use and adoption of cloud services to where you prioritize cloud services to meet new business requirements and also have in place migration targets (to the cloud) for legacy services.

The cloud first strategy development, as implied above, is an evolutionary process. And more importantly, to ensure adoption of the cloud strategy, it is important to incorporate the participation of stakeholders, namely: IT and information security staff, legal teams, compliance experts, procurement specialists and strong sponsorship from the organization’s leadership.

So what are these steps that you need to take towards a cloud first strategy? A 2015 EDUCASE study found there are four common approaches and stages to developing an enterprise-wide cloud strategy. This includes the following:

  • Cloud aware Enterprise users and IT staff are aware of broad cloud trends but are not yet prepared to adopt public-cloud solutions. These institutions may choose to build on-premises solutions in a way that prepares them for an eventual move to the cloud.
  • Cloud experimentation The IT organization begins to learn about the various cloud services available to them in the forms of SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS. The organization may begin deploying some common SaaS solutions (such as Office 365), which sometimes grows into testing IaaS deployments.
  • Opportunistic cloud The IT organization begins to actively seek out cloud solutions that meet new business requirements. Services may remain as traditional on-premises deployments, but cloud solutions are considered and deployed when reliability, scalability, or other benefits are perceived.
  • Cloud first This strategy places cloud at the top of the decision-making chain. The default assumption within the enterprise is that cloud services will fulfill the majority of the enterprise computing needs.

Once an organization goes through all of these stages and ultimately adopts a cloud-first strategy then comes implementation of the strategy. This requires changes to an organization’s existing operational practices and procedures and also a rethink of the IT organization (skills, roles, structure etc.). Let’s meet here next week to discuss more on this.


Next week I’ll have the final post to this 3-part blog post series.

Leave a Reply