As the quote says “Hope is not a strategy.” Many of you may be asking what is a strategy and why do I need it? Well, I have heard this comment numerous times: “My boss is telling me we have to get to the cloud.”. My response is ok, but what does that mean? Inevitably the response is some variation of “I have no idea!”
A strategy will answer the questions of why are we doing this and how it is supposed to help the business. Since ‘The Cloud IS Your Business’ we must ensure that it aligns with the business.
Every business has a strategy whether it is defined on paper or not. In its most simple terms, your Business Strategy contains your company mission/vision, financial goals, customer, partner, employee and internal (potentially operational) goals and objectives. Of course, the larger the business the more comprehensive the strategy to include things like company values, SWOT analysis and other information. The strategy provides a longer-term view to the business. Where are we heading over the next 2-5 years? Timeline is dependent upon your planning window. Out of this strategy you will outline your strategic initiatives. These strategic initiatives will have or will require key business applications and processes. These must be identified.
These key applications and processes can be existing or new. They are the inputs to your Technology Strategy. At a high level, your technology should contain an assessment of your current state, technology goals (that support the business goals), guiding principles that will shape decisions (e.g. refresh cycles, existing platform standards, etc.), technology goals for each IT Service Model (Iaas, PaaS, SaaS, etc.), outline of the end state, risk analysis, timeline, required support and resources. Your Technology Strategy is also a multi-year view in to how IT will evolve to support the business. This strategy will generate a list of strategic IT projects required to support the business.
We will go in to further detail on the Business Strategy and Technology Strategy in future posts. Many strategy purists may take exception to the simplicity of this approach. I do hope they will chime in to this dialogue as we go in to further detail in future BLOGS. I also ask that you remember we are focused on smaller and medium sized businesses and that our goal here is to land the cloud…we must make it actionable so businesses can move from Education and Research to Planning, Design, Implementation and Management.
Next step is getting it done – on to Planning or Tactics as is labeled here.