There’s no question that organizations are increasingly turning to the cloud for IT resources. They see opportunities to improve agility, enhance efficiency, and deliver new types of solutions.

But not all organizations are successful with their cloud initiatives. In response to C-level directives, some IT groups try to move applications to public cloud services rapidly, but then run into significant issues.

Why do some organizations fall short of their cloud goals? And what can your organization do to help ensure success?

A few weeks ago, I had an opportunity to attend the Gartner Tech Growth & Innovation Conference, which explored a wide range of disruptive technologies and both the opportunities and challenges they present. I attended several sessions that focused on the cloud and the role service providers can play in helping organizations overcome cloud obstacles.

Here are a few thoughts from those sessions and the discussions they generated.

Why do some organizations get stuck on their cloud journey?

Some organizations lack the expertise and experience for successfully migrating workloads to the cloud. Large public cloud providers such as Amazon, Microsoft, and Google are hiring a large number of experienced cloud architects and engineers. As a result, many organizations cannot find or afford to hire their own in-house experts.

In other cases, in-house teams underestimate the amount of work it requires to modify their applications or retool for the cloud. They want to get things done fast, but they discover partway through projects that they need to budget more time and resources.

Other organizations might successfully complete their migration but then fail to achieve the cost savings they expected. Until these organizations optimize their management and delivery of cloud services, the cloud can cost more than traditional in-house infrastructure. They need to implement automation to reduce manual tasks and establish best practices for configuration, patching, and standardizing application templates before they can save money.

Of course, not all organizations fail. Early cloud adopters—who were not facing extreme time pressure when they began their migration—have gradually accumulated cloud experience and defined processes to avoid some of the challenges that organizations are facing now. Similarly, organizations with large development teams have been able to successfully develop their applications to work natively on their preferred cloud platforms. But many organizations do not have these advantages.

How can you avoid obstacles on your way to the cloud?

No matter where you are in your cloud journey, there are strategies and best practices that can help you avoid problems and maximize benefits.


  1. Plan Ahead

It might seem obvious, but planning ahead is critical. Start by determining the best cloud platform or execution venue for each application. Do you need to keep an application physically close to a data source or close to users? Are there regulatory issues that dictate where an application can and can’t run? Many organizations ultimately wind up with a hybrid environment, running a variety of applications on some combination of public cloud, private cloud, and traditional infrastructure.

Once you’ve found the right execution venue, there’s still more planning to do. You’ll need to identify the right tools to manage all your environments, establish governance policies, implement security, and more. It can seem daunting, but the more planning you do now, the less likely your project will come to a screeching halt down the road.


  1. Consider Managed Cloud Services

Moving to the cloud and managing cloud-based resources can be difficult on your own. And given how difficult (and costly) it is to hire staff with deep experience, you might have better success on your cloud journey by employing managed cloud services.

The best managed cloud service providers offer end-to-end cloud assistance, from planning, configuration, testing, and migration to ongoing management and continuous optimization. You might decide to completely outsource cloud management: You can hand over a workload, define service-level agreements, and let the service provider handle everything. Or you might prefer to collaborate, working together on one or more steps, and then dividing up ongoing responsibilities. Choose a service provider that gives you flexibility to select the type and depth of assistance you need—one that enables you to change the management model as you gain experience on a platform or are ready to take on more responsibility.


  1. Find the Right Cloud Management Platform

If you are retaining some management of your cloud resources, you’ll need a single solution that will give you visibility into all of your environments—from public cloud environments to your on-premises private clouds. A single solution, with a single, easy-to-access portal, will help streamline administration. The right solution will enable you to see everything you have deployed, identify who has deployed it, and provide some governance metrics—such as metrics for performance, security and compliance, and cost containment. It will even provide a single source for billing to simplify chargeback/showback analysis across all of your resources.

Move Forward with Your Cloud Journey

Many organizations get stuck on their cloud journey, but there are effective strategies to keep you moving. CenturyLink offers a full array of managed cloud services to help you plan your move, execute your migration, and manage and optimize your cloud resources going forward.

Learn more about CenturyLink Cloud Application Manager—our platform for delivering managed cloud services:

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