The right way to transform your business via the cloud

A couple of quick tests will show you where you need to focus your transition efforts

The No. 1 question I get: What's the best approach to transform my enterprise to gain the benefits of cloud computing? The answer depends on so many factors that having one right answer is impossible. As much as we might wish otherwise, there is no one-size-fits-all approach.

However, I can clue you in on what to consider through self-assessments to get you closer to the right answer for your situation.

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First, think about people. The core issue hindering the movement to cloud computing is the people in the organization. This means talent and attitude. The best way to test the cloud attitude in your organization is to go into a staff meeting and at some point say you want to talk about "cloud computing." You'll quickly see the scale of your people problem:

  • If you look around and you see 50 percent of the arms folded, you have a big problem. Changing their hearts and minds is going to take some time and cost some money -- perhaps too much time and money.
  • If you see just one or two arms folded, you have a medium-size issue, which is easy to fix by infusing some new players into the team and by providing some education.
  • If there is applause, you could have the unanticipated problem of people being too focused on the hype around the concept, rather than the core business challenges you're looking to solve. But it's an easy fix to infuse some reality into the mix.

Second, take a look at technology. Once again, there are three typical classes for your organization to fit in:

  • There are good processes in place around the management of technology. Moreover, both the infrastructure and applications are well planned and operate effectively. Thus, the move to cloud computing should be straightforward. This situation is rare.
  • There may be processes in place around the management of technology, but they aren't followed well. Thus, the infrastructure and applications both have issues, and these problems will require work as the data, processes, and applications move to private, public, or hybrid clouds. Most enterprises fall into this category, and it's a medium-size problem.
  • There are no processes in place around the management of technology, and it shows. There is a hodgepodge of systems in place using whatever technology was hot at the time. There is no central control over the enterprise architecture, and outages and user frustrations are commonplace. This is a big problem that takes thinking and planning, including around the fact that the organization has to change and migrate to a more functional internal architecture before any cloud transformation begins. You'll find that you can't fix this kind of stuff by tossing new technology at it, even cloud computing. There are more of these situations than I like to see -- you know who you are.

So what is the best approach to transforming your enterprise to gain the benefits of cloud computing? You'll begin to see the right answer omce you go through these two self-assessments.

This article, "The right way to transform your business via the cloud," originally appeared at Read more of David Linthicum's Cloud Computing blog and track the latest developments in cloud computing at For the latest business technology news, follow on Twitter.

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