Strategizing your move to the cloud

By Jerry Rhoads

A more pointed title for this post could be Strategizing your move to the cloud with Azure’s Cloud Adoption Framework – but that’s a little wordy. As promised in last month’s blog post, we’re taking a deeper dive into Azure’s Cloud Adoption Framework.

In this post, we begin to decouple the strategy component of the Cloud Adoption Framework, drilling into four strategy subcomponents: Motivations; Business Outcomes; Business Justifications; and determining your first workload. Links in each section connect you with useful resources and additional information for refining your cloud adoption strategy.

Motivations for cloud adoption

Migration motivations are the most common reasons for adopting cloud. But moves stimulated by critical business events or new products and services require different approaches. Both Migration and Innovation methodologies are defined in the Azure Cloud Adoption Framework.  Examples of motivations are defined below:

Critical Business EventsMigration MotivationsInnovation Motivations
Datacenter exitCost savingsPrepare for new technical capabilities
Mergers, acquisition, or divestitureReduction in vendor or technical complexityBuild new technical capabilities
Reductions in capital expensesOptimization of internal operationsScale to meet market demands

Assessing business outcomes

Once you’ve identified your cloud motivations, consider what are your and/or your customer’s ideal business outcomes? Having a business outcome in mind helps foster the right level of support from IT and other areas of the business for successful transformation.

Use the business outcome template spreadsheet to begin the brainstorming process and track business outcomes.

Figure 1. Pictorial of business outcomes  

Clarifying business justifications

Cloud migrations can generate early return on investment (ROI) from cloud transformation efforts. The next step in our strategy journey is to develop a clear business justification with tangible, relevant costs and returns. When developing the business justification, dispel the myths and create a financial model for the cloud transformation.

Figure 2. ROI calculation

Moving your first workload

Your first adoption project should align with the motivations you identified for cloud adoption. See below for examples:

  • Critical business events: When a critical business event is the primary motivation, implementation of a tool like Azure Site Recovery is a good first project. During migration, you can use this tool to quickly migrate datacenter assets.
  • Migration motivations: When migration is the primary motivation, it’s recommended to start with the migration of a noncritical workload. The Azure setup guide and the Azure migration guide can provide more detailed guidance.
  • Innovation motivations: When innovation is the primary motivation, creating a targeted dev/test environment can be a meaningful first project.

Whenever possible, your first project should also demonstrate progress toward a defined business outcome. Establish proper expectations early.

This is the second blog in a multipart blog series that will continue to dive deeper into the lifecycle components and the tools of the Cloud Adoption Framework. The next post will focus on how to help your customers develop a cloud adoption plan.

Partners in commercial and government sales and implementation will benefit from understanding the lifecycle of the Cloud Adoption Framework, as it will enable them to help their customers and deliver a successful migration to the cloud.

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