Your cloud choice: Succeed slowly or fail fast

If you want proof that what I’ve been advising for years is true, check out this research on cloud computing from The Register: Planning pays off when it comes to cloud migration and deployments.

The Register found that most companies don’t yet have meaningful cloud adoption or have truly embraced the idea of the cloud-first enterprise. The Register’s report also shows that cloud adoption has been gradual over the past five years—it didn’t find the market “explosion” that many in the press have been writing about.

Finally, the report recommended that you get your internal systems aligned with public cloud systems. That means planning better cloud management and application, data, and platform integrations.

The report underscored what IT should already understand: Cloud computing is an incremental process for most enterprises. It takes time to get the resources aligned and more time to do something meaningful with them. My rule of thumb is that enterprises typically underestimate the amount of time by a factor of two.

Cloud migrations and deployments are hard—or at least harder than most people believe. Why? Because cloud computing is systemic change in how we do computing. As you move up to 30 years of internal systems to the cloud, you’d better know what you’re doing.

Unfortunately, many enterprises, especially in the United States, are run by short-term thinkers, egged on by the rosy scenarios painted by the tech press, cloud providers, and, dare I say, analyst reports.

When they decide to move to cloud, it’s within an aggressive timeframe that’s largely unrealistic. They’ve set themselves up for failure.

No surprise then that most enterprises fail to meet their own expectations. It’s those that spend the time doing upfront planning that typically do the best, fall short the least, and even sometimes meet or exceed their expectations.

My advice remains consistent: View this as the greatest IT shift since the initial automation of systems in the 1970s and 1980s. There needs to be a great deal of planning and understanding that occurs before you make the move. Only then can you find your path to success. Better a slower path to success than a fast one to failure.