A Decision-Making Framework for Cloud Adoption

Published On
March 17, 2020

Enterprise companies are showing interest in cloud computing because of its promised benefits of scalability, reliability, and cost-effectiveness. Despite the attractiveness of these benefits, deciding to move IT systems to the cloud solely based on them is perilous. To mitigate the risks of cloud adoption and realize your desired outcomes, it’s imperative that you and other stakeholders have a framework to support your decision making.

In this post, we’ll lay out a decision-making framework stakeholders can use to make the most informed decision regarding cloud adoption. First, let’s cover the most common challenges decision makers face with the cloud.

Challenges of Cloud Adoption

With cloud adoption, the two most important factors that typically affect decisions are cost calculations and the level of organizational change cloud computing brings. Understanding these two factors in the specific case of your organization will be a challenge. Here’s why.  

Cost Calculations

Understanding the operational costs of public cloud is challenging because cloud computing introduces utility billing, which is a shift away from capital operation budgeting. Utility billing comes with a level of uncertainty.

The uncertain relates to:

  1. The actual resources consumed by a system, which are determined by load.
  2. The deployment option used by a system.
  3. Cloud provider pricing models which are subject to change.

Some of this uncertainty can be addressed with cost modeling tools (more on cost modeling later).  

Organizational Change

The success of cloud adoption is as much dependent on the maturity of your organizational processes as the technology. For this reason, it is important that you understand the significance of the organizational changes associated with cloud adoption. Once there is an understanding of the organizational changes and the effort required to make those changes, the real challenge of implementing those changes come to the forefront.

Here are some changes you can expect with cloud adoption:

  1. Security: Public cloud introduces potential vulnerabilities that must be addressed.
  2. Compliance: Your data being hosted off premise in an unknown geographic location can have legal implications based on what industry you are in.
  3. System support: Your administrators will not have complete control of your cloud infrastructure.
  4. Accounting: With cloud computing, hardware and network infrastructure isn’t procured upfront; IT will be consumed as a service and billed like a utility.

A Decision-Making Framework for Cloud Adoption

We have established cost calculations and organizational change as two of the most common challenges organization face during cloud adoption. To address these challenges and other unique challenges that may arise, you need a framework that organizes how decision makers think about the concerns that they and other stakeholders have.

Here’s a simple decision-making framework for cloud adoption:

  1. Begin with a Technology Suitability Analysis to determine if the cloud is suitable for your system.
  2. If the cloud is deemed suitable, you proceed with an investigation on the cost of running your system on public cloud.
  3. Run a Stakeholder Impact Analysis to assess the impact utilizing cloud computing will have on the work of stakeholders in your organization.
  4. If all three analyses show that the cloud is a viable option, you can conduct responsibility modeling to identify and analyze the risks associated with the operation of your systems in the cloud. The responsibility modeling exercise will also reveal the areas different cloud providers will be responsible for in your system.

Let’s go through each component of the decision-making framework in greater detail.

Technology Suitability Analysis

The purpose of a Technology Suitability Analysis is to support decision makers in determining whether cloud computing is the right fit to support a proposed IT system. It comprises a simple checklist of questions which provide a rapid assessment of the suitability of a particular cloud service for a specific enterprise IT system.

Here are some questions you would ask in a Technology Suitability Analysis:

  • Availability: Does the cloud service provider provide the appropriate SLA for your business requirements?
  • Security Requirements: Does the cloud service provider meet your security requirements
  • Data Confidentiality and Privacy: Does the cloud provider provide sufficient data confidentiality and privacy guarantees?
  • Regulatory requirements: Does the cloud provider comply with the required regulatory requirement of your organization?

This list of questions isn’t exhaustive. You may have some additional questions specific to your organization. Whatever concerns you have regarding cloud technology, address them in the technology suitability analysis.

Cost Modeling

The elastic nature of the cloud means that decision makers need a tool to support them in examining the costs of specific systems as each deployment scenario has different resource usage patterns. With a cost modeling tool, the variations in resource usage and a system’s deployment options will be modeled, thereby enabling you and other decision makers to consider the actual costs rather than cost saving estimates.

Stakeholder Impact Analysis

The purpose of a Stakeholder Impact Analysis is to support decision makers in determining the benefits and risks of a proposed IT system. This information enables decision makers to make a judgment about the risks that a specific stakeholder will not be supportive towards the proposed system. Assessing the sentiments specific stakeholders have towards the project will show the feasibility of the project in terms of organizational culture/politics.

This approach involves:

  1. Identifying key stakeholders.
  2. Identifying changes in the tasks key stakeholders would be required to perform and how they are to perform them.
  3. Identifying the likely consequences of required changes stakeholders have to make.
  4. Analyzing changes within the wider context of relational factors such as tense relationships among the stakeholders.
  5. Confirming whether the stakeholders will perceive changes to be unjust based on specific changes and their relational context.

Responsibility Modeling

The purpose of responsibility modeling is to support decision makers in determining the operational viability of a proposed IT system. It helps decision makers identify and analyze risks associated with the operation of IT systems. In Responsibility Modeling, the viability of a system is determined by:

  1. Identifying the set of responsibilities that must be discharged for the system to operate according to a set of non-functional requirements such as up-time, responsiveness, resilience, and recoverability.
  2. Understanding who's responsible for what.
  3. Determining whether the configuration of responsibilities is likely to meet non-functional requirements of the system.zDetermining the practical, social, and political viability of the discharge of responsibilities so that the system exhibits appropriate non-functional characteristics.

Begin Your SAP Cloud Migration Journey with Wharfedale Technologies

Cloud migration is a viable option for businesses looking to increase the performance and flexibility of their SAP applications. Executing a successful migration, however, is far from easy. That’s why choosing the right service provider is key.

Wharfedale Technologies is an SAP-certified cloud service provider that specializes in SAP infrastructure integration services as well as private, public, and hybrid cloud solutions. As the very first SAP-Certified cloud service provider in North America, Wharfedale brings a deep level of expertise implementing SAP solutions such as SAP high availability, disaster recovery, advanced sizing for virtualization, backup/recovery integration, systems refresh automation and landscape optimization.

For more information on Wharfedale's cloud migration services, get in touch with our team of experts.