The advantages of the cloud are many and it is no surprise many organizations are switching to it. Among other things, you can easily store, access, and manage your data and applications via the cloud.
You can be cost-effective and competitive at the same time. However, the cloud has a lot more untapped potential that some organizations tend to ignore.
If you utilize cloud lifecycle management to manage your cloud environment and services successfully you will be able to further optimize them.
At first, cloud lifecycle management might seem like extra work you don’t really want to do and would rather ignore. But actually, it’s a powerful tool to help you drive more performance, and meet the changing needs of your business.
Cloud lifecycle management is the amalgamation of all internal and external resources you can use to manage the cloud. The whole process can be divided roughly into 4 steps. It’s important to note that these steps aren’t set in stone. They give the overview of the whole cycle and thus can differ from organization to organization.
For the best results, lifecycle management should start even before the cloud solution is implemented. The first step is to identify your business’s cloud needs. All the stakeholders should participate in this step to best define the purpose of the cloud, the requirements, storage needed, security, organization of the budget, etc.
You can also set objectives, expectations, and goals you want to achieve. Defining KPIs can help you further down the line. While developing such strategies, communication is key. If some stakeholders show resistance, it should be addressed and resolved. Also, engage with all employees whose work might change in any way when you do the migration. Try to predict the impact it will have on all aspects of your organization.
Cloud experts and case studies of other organizations’ experiences can be of help during this step. They can give you a more detailed insight into all the activities you should do and the challenges you might encounter.
This step should end with having a clear vision and strategy for your migration to the cloud. The importance of this step shouldn’t be understated. This will be the basis of the whole project and should be done properly, even if it may feel tedious. Only when all the stakeholders are on the same page and the implementation strategy is properly defined, you can commit to the full-scale project.
This step starts with finding the right cloud supplier that will implement the cloud solution for you. You should detail to them what exactly you need from the service, how to manage it, and how to connect it to your current operations.
You can use all the strategies defined in the previous step to help you. It’s important to be satisfied with the provider and their services.
All the conversations and negotiations should be done in advance so you can receive a properly defined service. Once you’ve agreed with everything, the implementation can begin.
Now that the implementation process and the transition have been successful, you can start using the cloud in your day-to-day work. However, the lifecycle is far from over - some might even argue that it only just started. Now you can further optimize everything via continuous maintenance and management.
You should constantly monitor, update, secure, improve, and scale all your resources and infrastructure. Unfortunately, it’s not enough for your cloud processes to ‘just work’: they should keep up with your business, and, if possible, provide even more benefits as time passes by.
Once again, the strategies and KPIs defined in step 1 can be of great help. The stakeholders can voice their opinions about the cloud and the service. If you want, you can even form a dedicated team whose job will be to keep track of the goals and timelines set before.
Hopefully, by now all the organization’s departments have adapted to the cloud and are familiar with their new responsibilities. However, if some of the employees aren’t comfortable with the new operations, they should be educated as quickly as possible.
You should build and maintain a relationship with your cloud supplier. It helps if you are on the same page in case any problems arise or some services need to be updated. Most successful migrations projects are the ones backed by such partnerships.
Even if you are satisfied with your cloud service, you can always review and audit it periodically. While using the cloud, you will have much data at your disposal. Utilize analytics to make sense of that data and thus get insights into what to change in your cloud service.
If you find out you are using fewer resources than you initially thought you would, try negotiating the changes with your cloud provider and decommissioning the resources you don’t need. If you find out you can actually use more resources and it would benefit your organization, be sure to mention it as soon as possible.
Your organization and technology requirements will be changing, and your cloud service and cloud providers should follow suit.
Many organizations are switching to the cloud because of its many advantages, but not all of them are utilizing its full potential. Cloud lifecycle management should be a part of your work processes, to better manage your cloud environment.
This lifecycle can be roughly divided into 4 steps. The first one is planning and defining during which you should properly identify why you need the cloud and what goals you are trying to achieve.
The second one is implementation during which you should find a proper cloud provider. The third one is maintenance and management which is mostly about controlling the cloud in your day-to-day work. The last one is reviewing the cloud services and implementing the changes if you have the need for them.
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