When customers start to plan out a cloud strategy, design and architecture are important first steps.
However, there is a temptation to design this in the same manner as traditional on premises infrastructure projects, and deploy in the same traditional waterfall project management methodologies.
We’ve seen many designs that are a comprehensive document going over hundreds of pages – but unfortunately this level of detail is often too much to maintain and adopt in an organisation, resulting in a big document that nobody ever reads or follows. It also goes out of date very quickly as a result.
How do you make sure you aren’t over-engineering the solution, or even worse under-baking the design? Each organisation has a different requirement, but it’s vital to get the design right for cloud architecture to achieve success for your organisation.
In this article we’ll give you some tips on how to get the balance correct and design the solution adequately for the business requirements.
A key principle for success is to ask “WHY”.
WHY are we using the Cloud? What are the benefits for the business?
The design needs to be viewed from the needs of the business, the staff and the customers.
IT architects are famous for over-engineering because the technology is capable of these features. Focusing on the WHY will avoid technology overtaking the requirements.
Beginning with the requirements and ensuring they are the right goal is a great first step. When the design answers the needs of the business, the staff and customers know the design is sufficient. The design should show the path to success – how this solution will improve the way the business operates and how the customers will interact.
Remember that the outcome is addressing the needs, not just producing a design. This design is the beginning of the journey to actually build something to address the need – so focus on delivering an outcome.
If too much effort is required to design, implement, manage and use, it can become a hindrance.
Cloud Architects are in demand – and because of this demand many customers simply cannot afford the luxury of having a skilled Cloud Architect on their team to use as a resource for this design. As a result, organisations are forced to hand this task to a high performing technical person, who is tasked with researching, reviewing and deciding on the required design, often without a lot of hands on experience.
It’s important to access personnel with the right level of expertise to design, implement and manage your cloud platform or it risks never meeting the requirements. Keeping up to date with the latest releases in the Cloud technologies is a full time job, and one that most internal staff simply cannot invest in. It’s impossible to design a solution based on these technologies without the knowledge and experience in real-world scenarios unless you allocate a lot more time to testing and evaluating the design options. Selling these time delays to businesses, when a key value of cloud technology is the agility in rapid deployment, is challenging without undermining the expertise of an IT team.
Consider bringing in a skilled external partner that can deliver this service as needed, and leverage the knowledge that these consultants have working in varied environments on a daily basis.
Your cloud platform should make life easier for everyone within your business, your stakeholders and customers.
Often, the design effort only considers the architecture for implementation and not for ongoing management. For a successful implementation, it is important that the design includes the monitoring, reporting and other management systems and processes that are critical for ongoing maintenance.
A solid design will incorporate these required tool sets and leverage the new unique capabilities that are available in the cloud.
Cloud offers enormous potential to improve the way your business operates and help you to be an industry leader. The complexity of the cloud and knowledge gap on what’s available means that many organisations are spending too much time, effort and resources on a platform that is not delivering improvements or ROI.
It is important not to underestimate the effort required in design for success, but this needs to be directed in the right places – researching and understanding your needs and goals to get the design foundation right and investing in expertise.
If we get this balance right your cloud design will be effective, requiring less effort and more reward moving forward.
There is a different way to get to the cloud and it’s faster than our clients imagine. Download our latest white paper, 3 Perspectives to Maximise Your Value from Azure.