It's ironic that formal business plans have fallen out of favor in recent years. Entrepreneurs are “following their instincts,” building their businesses and changing direction as they go. Investors are willing to fund after vetting “great ideas” and an existing track record through conversation and financial statements.
And yet, anyone in even the most entrepreneurial and aggressive business effort, when slowed down for a moment, will have to admit that they are “working a plan.” It may be a one week plan, thirty-day plan or end-of-quarter plan, but it is tactical effort stemming from a predetermined directive or target.
The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty. ~Proverbs 21:5
Since many public cloud options are initiated through self-service, seem inexpensive and are easy to start, let me encourage you to still do a bit of planning by taking a look a little further down the road. When going hybrid or private with your cloud effort, it is even more important to try to consider the future. “Starts” with premature “stops” can become costly and this type of thrashing also gives an impression of poor leadership to your team.
Here’s a guarantee: your business will change.
Can your cloud strategy enable changing business and customer requirements? What are the opportunities and threats from the competitive environment? Does your industry or market have low barriers to entry, welcoming new competitors? What market changes are you anticipating that may require you to alter how you serve customers and partners? Consider whatever changes you are anticipating to ensure your solution has the flexibility to accommodate.
How do you intend to deliver services?
Your chosen cloud platform may be the “back-end,” or a portion thereof, of a client deliverable. In other words, you don’t want back-end processing to predetermine how you MUST deliver services to, or support, your customers. If your business model or product depends upon emerging or sophisticated technologies, spending some time to consider their future use can help you with the right cloud plan. The current analytics and business intelligence movements are good examples of this.
Understand and directly plan what you are intending. If your cloud strategy is intended to be company-wide and you know that your business units or departments behave almost as separate companies, with their own processes, systems, data and etc., you have some cultural work to do as you initiate your cloud effort. The good news is that this is the type of project that can certainly be structured to help bring more cohesion across departments and business units.
Use cloud as a way to encourage experimentation and innovation.
Encourage your leaders to think in creative ways about new, innovative business approaches. Cloud, as a technology mechanism with typically low transaction costs, can provide a cost-effective way to support, and thereby encourage, experimentation.
Show me the money.
A keen sense of the obvious here: understanding how you need to manage expenses while gaining all the productivity, efficiency and innovation associated with your cloud implementation is essential to your planning.
So, just a few thoughts and considerations about the “future” should do it. And, you don’t even have to call it a plan if you don’t want to.