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Approach the cloud the right way or you will fall from the sky with a thud!

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The cloud is arguably the biggest revolution in organisational capability in history. Cloud computing, ubiquitous wireless networks and a broad range of low-cost networked mobile devices, will undeniably have a major impact on every organisation and person.

If you have been thinking about adopting a cloud computing strategy for your business, it is very important that you design this strategy in terms of the market context and how the market, your competitors and your customers will change.

To really have any chance of making good decisions about the cloud for your business, you need to do so basing on the context of the evolving scenarios in your industry. Forecasting the market context at about 12, 24 and 36 month intervals is an important starting point for any business that is addressing how it will position itself to exploit the cloud.

Your cloud context review should be assessing the likely impacts (rated minimal, moderate or significant) on a range of organisational and market attributes, looking out to about 24 months. Much of this Context Review process will be one of workshop-style sessions to uncover a full range of views and in some ways an ideal reason to meet in person with customers to engage them in the process – a great way to demonstrate managements forward thinking approach and that you are a proactive organisation.

Start the more detailed analysis by concentrating on those business attributes marked as likely to experience Significant change, then do Moderate and then add some explanatory notes where you have selected Minimal change. Clearly where significant change is anticipated it will be important to develop a detailed analysis and plan of proposed actions. So the process you need to follow is:

1. Conduct two distinct workshops for these two tables of data ideally about a week apart.

2. Decide if there is any specific research to be completed before the workshops and if you need some specific outside advice to help set the scene or to facilitate the workshops.

3. Where you determine Moderate to Significant change you will need to develop action plans explaining:-

  • Your assessment of the specific issue
  • How you will mitigate risks and the likely impact of doing nothing
  • How you will exploit opportunities and the possible upside for the organisation
  • How you will measure the results of your efforts

4. The plans need to be distilled around a timeline of actions together with budgets and resource needs.

Cloud computing is not a technology innovation to be ignored, rather one to be carefully considered and embraced by all types of organisations and in every industry. Do not sit back and hope for the best but be proactive instead and spend some time and resources on your cloud context review.

Greg Twemlow works at Keystone Management Group and has led diverse operations starting with little more than an innovative idea to grow to achieve sustainable commercial reality.

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