Multi-Cloud

Just What Can (or Should) I Move to the Cloud?

Dave Shepherd By Dave Shepherd October 14, 2013

Everybody, well at least some people, will have migrated their web and presentation tier services over the past 5-10 years, whether to internal virtual/private cloud solutions or public cloud platforms. IT departments and business5737792445_a2081ae697_o owners are becoming well versed in the benefits that virtualization and cloud-operating models can bring and their appetite for consuming more and more of these services is growing.

Bold statement, but it is now becoming common practice for small, medium, and large enterprise businesses to have ‘Virtualize First’ and in some cases ‘Public Cloud First’ policies that are driving both technological and cultural change within these companies.

I regularly see internal battles where previously silo’d services are being challenged to adopt this new approach but are resisting through the use of fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD).

Service owners (technical, application and business) are defending their applications and services with statements such as this is business critical’ and ‘the business cannot operate without this service’ or ‘we are way too complex for the Cloud’.

Where are these statements coming from? Have the actually been ratified with the business and do they align to corporate strategy? Are they based on historical or current understanding of the business objectives?

Too often IT transformation, and in particular virtualization and migration to the Cloud is either slowed down or in some cases stalled through the spread of this FUD and agreement as to whether or not the application is really a suitable candidate for change is rarely reached.

So how can we overcome these obstacles?

OK, here’s the sales pitch bit, please bear with it…..

Rapid Application Classification (RAC) is one way, by helping you begin to understand your applications alignment to your business objectives. RAC provides a standardized, repeatable, and tailored view of either your entire application landscape or a more tactical sub-set.

Through identifying clear business objectives or (criteria) against which each application should be marked, a more balanced view of the application can be achieved. A screen shot from the tool below shows that it would cover multiple aspects of the business, rather than an IT-centric view that doesn’t always align to the more strategic objectives of IT or the business.

pic 1

Business Objectives / Criteria Screenshot

Key stakeholders, with an alignment to the business who can take an objective viewpoint, identify these business criteria. Once these criteria are identified and agreed to, ‘weightings’ can be applied if required to more accurately reflect your business.

A series of interviews or workshops are then run with primary stakeholders from the business units and IT to mark each application against the criteria. This takes the simple form of a yes/no answer, and as such can generate a lot of valuable debate regarding each application helping to resolve some of the FUD.  Below you can see an example of this application scoring sheet:

pic 2

Application Scoring Screenshot

Finally, a set of reports is produced that classify the identified applications into one of the 5 categories enabling you to develop a migration strategy that truly aligns to you business strategy:

pic 3

Classification Report Example Output

…sales pitch complete

All sounds very ‘corporate,’ but I think important to understand. We are reaching a point where the ‘low hanging fruit’ is beginning to dry up.

The next waves of applications to be virtualized or migrated to the Cloud are going to involve far more stakeholders across both IT and the business, and we need a process or tool that can help us.

A tool that helps us visualize our status and task ahead, especially to senior stakeholders and decision makers within the organisation.

I’m not a product salesman, or even a salesman for that matter, but I recognize the need to be able to classify applications in line with a set of agreed business criteria.

Rapid Application Classification helps to provide a framework for exactly that and coupled with experience can provide a valuable set of outcomes that will help you understand just what you can (or should) move to the Cloud.

Dave Shepherd

About Dave Shepherd


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