Business Software

The Big 3 Cloud Computing Mistakes to Avoid

One would think that we're getting pretty good at cloud computing, considering the hype that's driving some quick projects -- and some quick failures, for that matter. The fact is that this has been -- and will continue to be -- a learning experience, at least for the new few years.

Considering this, I came up with the three most common blunders I've seen when organizations move to the cloud. Perhaps you can learn from these mistakes; perhaps some of them sound familiar.

Cloud computing mistake No. 1: Ignoring governance and security until the end of the project
As I've been stating, both governance and security should be systemic to the architecture, and those IT organizations that consider these concepts as something that's just part of the deployment strategy are doomed. These are very complex models and mechanisms and should be built into every step of the planning, design, and deployment. Security is not a one-size-fits-all concept for cloud computing, and neither is governance. You can't just check those boxes.

Cloud computing mistake No. 2: Leveraging "big consulting"
I understand that the partner in the large consulting firm that's been hanging around forever belongs to the same country club as your CEO. Also, that the firm has a very good-looking cloud computing multimedia presentation. However, you will find that you need heavy hitters for your cloud computing strategy and deployment efforts: key mentors that stick around after the engagement is signed.

Most big consulting firms lead with well-polished presentations and, perhaps, some pretty smart people. However, when it comes time to do the real work, you're staring across the table at very inexperienced individuals whose knowledge of cloud computing is limited by the number of article printouts they could read on the plane flight out.

The newness of cloud computing means that everyone sounds like an expert. But those that can understand the value of cloud computing in the context of the business and the existing architecture, as well as see beyond the hype, are typically not working for a big consulting firm. You could find that you're getting led down the path of cloud computing projects that spin for years, with no true value on the horizon.

Cloud computing mistake No. 3: Falling in love with the technology, not the solution
Enterprise IT has a tendency to focus on the technology instead of the solution. This is not new to cloud computing, by the way. An indication that this is an issue is when the project is named after the technology or cloud provider, and the project team has no clue on the existing business and technology requirements.

So while Amazon Web Services and Salesforce.com may be the right solution as your public cloud providers, you don't know that until you've done the business case, the "as is" and "to be" architectures, the security models, the governance models, and so on. This is a process of learning and understanding. Cloud computing architecture is something you do, not something you buy.

Learn through the mistakes of others. It's cheaper that way.

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