3 easy steps to creating your cloud strategy

If you have no cloud computing plan, you've essentially decided to fail. Here's how to succeed

You're in IT and have yet to create a cloud computing strategy for your business. Now what?

You can wing it, which is what most IT shops do. You can wait to see which way the wind blows, then create strategy around what works. But lack of planning means there will be a lot of expensive retrofitting and rework. Your risk of failure skyrockets.

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For those of you who hate to plan, let me provide you with three easy steps to create a cloud computing strategy. It's less painful than you think.

Step 1: Define a high-level business case

In the past I've explained the metrics around creating a low-level business case for cloud computing. But if you don't have time to dig through the details, then focus on the high-level benefits of cloud computing. This includes increased business agility, preservation of capital, and use of business data. The points of value are very different from business to business, so make sure to understand your own needs.

Step 2: Define core requirements

Think of the core requirements as more of a list than a document. This is where you write down what the business needs in terms of performance, security, governance, and growth. The idea is that you'll have a much better understanding of the enterprise requirements for cloud computing. You can then drill down on each, if you like. Or use this quick list as a jumping-off point to begin migration to the cloud.

Step 3: Define core technology
Again, this is quick and dirty. Now that you've completed steps 1 and 2, ask yourself what are the likely cloud computing technologies that should be in play in your enterprise. I'd start with IaaS, PaaS, or SaaS, including any combination of the three. Also decide if you want private, public, or hybrid. Then move from the what to the whom. List the possible providers or technologies you'll likely use and, if there is time, further define their role.

Easy, right? My objective here is to start you thinking about what needs to get done, without forcing you to create a detailed plan. In other words, it's cloud computing for those who hate doing the paperwork, which is most of you. Good luck.

This article, "3 easy steps to creating your cloud strategy," originally appeared at InfoWorld.com. Read more of David Linthicum's Cloud Computing blog and track the latest developments in cloud computing at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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