Why Data Should Drive Your Deployment to the Cloud

Lake and sky

The era of the cloud is upon us, and it’s almost singlehandedly up to the CIO to help a business get there, according to market reports by Gartner, IDG and Verizon. However, there’s one-step in the journey the CIO is missing: a data-driven asset strategy.

What to migrate to the cloud, what vendor to use and what deployment model is best are still questions every CIO must answer. While enterprise IT departments manage more than 80 percent of cloud spending, Verizon’s State of the Market: Enterprise Cloud 2014 report shows more than half of that is managed by the CIO.

Rather than dive into laborious research or simply taking a stab at deployment with a well-known cloud services provider, CIO’s must create a cloud strategy using existing application and business metrics. One of the most widely cited studies by The Bloor Group says data migration projects fail 38 percent of the time. And according to Gartner’s 2014 study Best Practices Mitigate Data Migration Risks and Challenges, “through 2019, more than 50 percent of data migration projects will exceed budget and/or result in some form of business disruption due to flawed execution.”

“Often there has just not been enough analysis done at the start, so you end up with a lot of data problems at the end,” Experian’s Colin Rickard told Computer Business Review.

Asset identification and categorization – consider it the missing step of moving to the cloud.

A detailed cloud strategy should begin by categorizing enterprise applications with metrics such as: total cost of ownership, number of unique functionalities, number of applications that depend on it to function and how many other interfaces with which it interacts. Because the organization also needs to determine deployment models, IT leaders should rank each application with risk and security metrics, assuring the most sensitive information stays on private infrastructure.

Based on the overall application categorization and score, the CIO can distinguish both the deployment model and the best cloud service vendor. In addition, this newfound understanding of the organization’s IT portfolio may allow the enterprise to trash a number of applications that have completely lost their value.

While software represents 34 percent of enterprise technology spending, CIO’s spend 55 percent of the applications budget on maintenance and support, according to Forrester Research’s most recent “State Of Enterprise Software And Emerging Trends” report. The visibility into which applications to migrate to the cloud and which to eliminate completely will prove to have enormous cost savings – money that could be reallocated to cloud projects.

New IDG research shows cloud spend will increase 42 percent in 2015, with researchers calling it “the single most important technology initiatives right now and expected to cause the most disruption in the future.”

An effective cloud migration strategy for an organization’s application portfolio is the key to successful future deployments. But with IDG reporting 69 percent of enterprises already run applications in the cloud today, you have to wonder how many of those enterprises skipped this first step of migration.