While it was steamy outside in Nashville for the CDW SummIT on Preparing for the Future, it was cool inside the Westin’s ballroom where industry experts on data center and cloud computing technologies sketched out a future built in the cloud. From former Fed CIO Tony Scott talking about the growing influence of 5G technology on cloud planning to EMEA CTO at VCE Nigel Moulton explaining the factors that go into the proper placement of workloads in the public cloud, the clear takeaway was that we now live in a complex, cloud-driven world.

I think “complex” is the right adjective to describe the current state of cloud computing. Louis Hood, CDW’s manager of Cloud Client Services, cited a statistic in his presentation at the SummIT that 85 percent of enterprises have a multicloud strategy. Going by that stat, the vast majority of enterprises are juggling workloads in multiple clouds. That’s mind-boggling to me. Where do you even get started in trying to formulate a business strategy to wrap your arms around all of that?

The Migration Details

Hood offered some cloud migration guidance to companies, building off a three-phase approach that focuses on Discovery, Transformation and Optimization. With the Discovery phase, enterprises are doing research on business needs and workloads, building strategies around service structures and roles, determining feasibility through risk analysis and change processes.

In the Transformation phase, the focus should be on architecture and processes and controls. These features need to be designed, execution and support teams are selected, and the transition itself takes place with its attendant integration and automation of knowledge and personnel.

And during the Optimization phase, enterprises should be focused on governance. Service management and remediation tasks are performed; innovation continues as new ideas come forward and processes are retooled; grow is maintained through constant evaluation and development of individual staff skills.

I’ve skimmed over in a few words the numerous steps involved in CDW’s Cloud Consulting process. But even in those few words, the intricacies of moving an enterprise workload to the cloud are clear. There is no set-it-and-forget-it in cloud computing. It is an involved process that requires a lot of consideration before, during and after execution.

Keeping Your Cloud in the Black

Consider the budget that is at stake with cloud computing as well. Hood’s presentation included a stat that in the next 16 months, some 80 percent of IT budgets will be dedicated to cloud computing. And Gartner has forecast worldwide public cloud service revenue to hit $186 billion by the end of 2018. That’s a lot of money at stake.

Now consider another stat from Hood’s presentation: 53 percent of all TCO-ROI projection models are off by more than 10 percent. With so much budget at stake, being off by 10 percent could mean someone’s job. This often gets people’s attention about the importance of due diligence when migrating to the cloud – your livelihood may depend on you getting it right. Slow and steady, thorough and thoughtful, wins the race.

Negotiating the Complexity with a Partner

In the twelve years since Google CEO Eric Schmidt helped launch the modern computing era and mainstreamed the “cloud computing” term, companies have toggled through many reactions to the cloud. Those have included awe at this “new” technology; determination to harness it; pride in deploying it; frustration with its nuances; and now understanding of its intricacies and the value it can deliver when properly deployed.

Companies that achieve this level of understanding recognize the cloud’s inherent complexity, and they recognize that they may need help in reaping the most value they can from it. Teaming up with the right partner to offload the challenges that a move to the cloud presents is a smart business decision that then allows companies to stay focused on their line of business rather than the infrastructure that supports it.

Learn more about CDW’s cloud solutions and services.

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