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Maximizing Your Cloud Investments

Migrating to the cloud offers tremendous potential for efficiency, innovation, and cost reduction. However, to realize these benefits requires forethought and deliberate efforts. This article outlines best practices to help you maximize returns from your cloud investments.

Cloud Strategy as North Star

Begin by defining a clear, enterprise-wide cloud strategy articulating your motivations, objectives and success indicators. Outline the specific business goals you hope to achieve such as improved time-to-market for products or superior customer experiences. Identify target applications and workloads most suitable for cloud migration based on your priorities. Map out the security, compliance and governance requirements that the cloud deployments must adhere to. Quantify expected cost savings and the timelines these will be realized in. Ensure alignment across key stakeholders through this strategy. It becomes the north star guiding all subsequent cloud decisions and the benchmark for measuring outcomes.

Spend Optimization Tactics

Cloud pricing models allow optimization of spending aligned closely to your unique workload patterns. For steady-state production workloads, leverage reserved instances to avail deep discounts. For sporadic spiky workloads, allocate bursting capacity to scale seamlessly while controlling costs. Continuously right-size cloud infrastructure across the technology stack to closely align with evolving business needs rather than go overboard with unused reserves. Balance cost savings through reservations with retaining flexibility to innovate quickly.

Architectural Transformation

Simply lifting and shifting legacy applications to the cloud will not unlock its full potential. Invest in refactoring monoliths into modular microservices-based architectures. Build API-driven integration between independent services and leverage orchestration for automated scalability and high availability. Evaluate harnessing serverless platforms for developing innovative solutions not possible in on-premises environments. While these exercises require upfront investment, they set you up to exploit the cloud’s benefits for the long-term via inherently efficient architectures.

Financial Governance

Adopt FinOps constructs proactively to ingrain financial accountability into cloud operations. Centralized teams should own visibility into cloud usage and costs. Tag resources appropriately to map spending to respective business units. Configure notifications and dashboards offering real-time visibility into utilization anomalies. Through these mechanisms, continually identify and eliminate waste via proactive right-sizing and reservations. Such governance prevents surprise bills down the road.

External and Internal Partnerships 

While your cloud providers want to maximize consumption, your imperative is to optimize spending. Reconciling these opposing incentives requires both technological integration and relationship building. Consume vendor-provided cost analytics tools, recommendations and pricing updates to stay on top of newer options. Designate technical contacts from each side to transparently exchange utilization details and discuss optimizations. Foster executive relationships to unlock enterprise discounts and influence development of custom cost management solutions tailored to your needs. 
Similarly, IT's engagement with internal business units is vital in scaling cloud deployments responsively while controlling expenses. Collaborate to accurately project future capacity needs.

In Summary

The practices outlined above reinforce each other to extract the most value from cloud computing. Migrating with due diligence and governing usage tightly enables sustaining innovation atop a lean cloud foundation. To learn more or get expert help in charting your cloud maximization journey, do reach out to us. Our strategists are ready to guide you!