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13 tips to achieve cloud success

Ann Bednarz | Oct. 15, 2014
Seventeen CIOs and IT leaders shared lesson learned on cloud deployment, use, skills and more.

7. Avoid customization. It's best to limit the amount that you're tailoring a cloud service for your organization, says Rich Adduci, CIO at Boston Scientific. "The more you build around it, the more best of breed you're doing, the more you're moving away from the cloud's value proposition," Adduci says. The better approach, he says, is to establish a strong relationship with your vendor to help them evolve the platform.

"Before you sign that dotted line, you really need to understand that software and how it will work in your environment," says Avnet's Phillips, who also recommends not making changes to cloud software.

8. Feed the network. "Your network has got to be Class A," says Wayne Shurts, CTO at Sysco. The food distributor is in the middle of a three-year network upgrade project to increase bandwidth, provide more complete redundancy, and improve traffic prioritization capabilities. "The network really becomes even more important and a huge point of failure in your infrastructure than it ever was before," Shurts says.

9.Don't forget management. As an infrastructure provider, Amazon has demonstrated it can handle large scale hosting and has geographical backup resiliency, which allows you to mitigate risk, says Family Dollar CIO Josh Jewett. Plus Amazon will take care of operational details like load balancing and server capacity. "But you're on your own to manage it," he cautions. "If you're looking for someone to keep an eye on it, you're mistaken. You still have the management challenge of the apps and data. You still own that."

10. Take the time to develop "carrier-grade" services. In legacy setups, if you lose your identity-management service a few apps might go down -- it's a pain, but it's fairly isolated, says GE's Drumgoole. But when your entire IT architecture revolves around providing services, losing ID management means everything goes down, in multiple businesses around the world. "You need to take the time" to make those services absolutely bulletproof, or ensure your providers do.

11. Consider delegating management. If a cloud solution is easy to use and configure, Avent will allow a business group to take over management in the environment. Workday, for instance, is a clearly controlled environment, but HR primarily manages it, says Phillips. "We don't need to be in the middle of that, if the tool is intuitive enough and secure enough."

12.Prepare for change. For The Vanguard Group, implementing an HR app in the public cloud required a change in mindset, says CIO John Marcante. There's less customization of the application, which requires workers to do things in a different way. That's been one of the hardest challenges, Marcante says. It's not a technology challenge, but it requires "a different way of thinking."


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