Beyond Cloud Adoption to Cloud-First

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By: Daniel Newman|

Photo Credit: rulke via Compfight cc

Odds are good you’ve adopted some form of the cloud by now, and you’re ready to sit back and enjoy the results. Before you kick up your heels, however, you may want to reevaluate the extent to which you are using the cloud. Cloud-first companies are quickly surpassing those that simply adopt the technology without widespread usage—but luckily, you can still catch up to the competition.

I couldn’t help but notice the phrase “cloud-first technology” pops up often in the list of Google search results for “cloud trends 2016.” Cloud-first technology offers substantial benefits and is a key strategy for agile businesses. Cloud-first strategies initially began in 2010 in the US government, with a mandate issued by the country’s chief information officer. Two years later, reports showed about half of all federal agencies had adopted the cloud.

Invest in a Cloud-First Strategy

Just as businesses had to adapt from website optimization to a mobile-first strategy, companies considering a simple cloud adoption need to instead consider a cloud-first strategy. In my experience, a company that merely survives will not thrive. It’s time to drive forward with a completely cloud-driven business. Integration and cloud-first strategies center on using the cloud to its maximum benefit – paying only for the resources you use and taking advantage of a shared infrastructure.

Discover the Benefits of a Cloud-First Strategy

Companies embracing a cloud-first strategy are seeing marked positive business results. Take Veyance Technologies (now Continental), for example. Their CIO, John Hill, decided to replace the company’s multi-local silo infrastructure with a cloud-based one to unlock limitless global potential. After using every kind of application migration available and dozens of vendors to make the company cloud-first, Veyance Technologies saw impressive results:

  • 30 percent reduction in hosting costs
  • Reduction in labor and equipment costs
  • Substantial capacity increase
  • Streamlined global operations
  • Improved collaboration and overall productivity

Integrating a cloud-first strategy is excellent for companies that can’t afford a disaster recovery infrastructure. A cloud-first strategy solves the problem of server outages due to data center power failure and comes with a built-in backup plan when disaster strikes. It also gives you an advantage over your competition, . I’m not saying the benefits of a cloud-first strategy are without any hiccups – but you can learn from the mistakes of others to better your own strategy.

Top Tips from the Experts 

Let me fill you in on the top bits of advice given by company CIOs and CTOs who have already learned the common roadblocks businesses face when switching to cloud-first strategies:

  1. Remember: the devil is in the details. Rob Davies, executive vice president of operations at ViON Corporation, says to straighten issues out with cloud providers from the very beginning. Specify your wants and needs in your contract with a cloud service provider from day one to avoid problems with the application in the future.
  2. Don’t just “lift and shift.” Mark Schwartz, CIO of the US Citizenship and Immigration Services, found success with cloud-first strategies by taking advantage of what cloud technology offers to make business elements perform well. Instead of simply lifting and shifting things to the cloud, his team designed software for the cloud to aid in the transition.
  3. Tackle security concerns head-on. Security and the cloud remains an ongoing concern for business owners. The CIO of the Food and Drug Administration, Todd Simpson, is only halfway joking when he says security is the only thing that could get him fired. He advocates trusting providers that pass the FedRAMP review process for evaluating security.
  4. Go completely automated. Troy Otillio, the lead cloud strategist at Intuit, explains that the new model of doing business is completely automated. He advises businesses invest in automation platforms, since the more cloud you have, the more your IT processes must change. In his words, “You can’t do manual.”
  5. Create a cloud council. Darren Person, the CTO of Elsevier, recommends forming a cloud council to oversee cloud migration, application porting, and security concerns. Creating a council to review integration and gather everyone’s input together to move forward can make the strategy work more smoothly and effectively.

Cloud-first strategy is the new cloud adoption. Embrace cloud-first strategies to thrive in 2017 — the new year of the cloud. The cloud isn’t going anywhere in the world of tech; it will only continue to deliver exceptional value to companies that implement it to its fullest potential. As more and more successful companies reinforce the power of the cloud by leveraging its power, don’t fall behind. Take my advice – jump on the cloud-first bandwagon as soon as possible.

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About The Author

Daniel Newman

Founder and President, Broadsuite, Inc.

After 12 years of running technology companies including a CEO appointment at the age of 28, I traded the corner office for a chance to drive the discussion on how the digital economy is going to forever change the way business is done. I'm an MBA, adjunct business professor and 4x author of best-selling business books including "The Millennial CEO" and "The New Rules of Customer Engagement." Pianist, soccer fan, husband and father, not in that order. Oh and for work...I'm the co-founder of V3B [Broadsuite], a marketing firm specializing in the digital space, helping companies be found, seen and heard in a cluttered digital world.

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