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Moving to the Cloud? 10 Key Questions for CIOs

Ryan Hunt

As business computing demand explodes and web apps rule the market, moving to the cloud seems unavoidable. But even as cloud services mature, many organization make costly mistakes — and not all of them are technical in nature.

According to Cloud Tech, CIOs are on the front lines: In 72 percent of companies surveyed, chief information officers lead the cloud computing charge. However, adoption without the right information is doomed to fail — here are 10 key questions CIOs should ask before moving operations to the cloud.

What's the Business Benefit?

INFORGRAPHIC – 10 Questions CIOs Should Ask Before Moving Operations to the Cloud by SingleHop (Click to View)First, it's critical to identify business benefits. Here the key to success lies in specifics rather than generalities — how will your company leverage cloud resources to benefit existing customers, open new markets or get ahead of competitors?

How Will You Use Cloud Tech?

Cloud solutions are quickly becoming ubiquitous; almost 50 percent of companies store more than half their data in the cloud, 94 percent run at least one cloud app, and 55 percent have some portion of their ERP in the cloud. With so many processes now running off site, it's critical to identify specific use cases or risk cloud sprawl driving up total costs.

Which Solution Is Your Best Fit?

Public, private or hybrid? All three are viable options. Companies are split on the use of public versus private resources, but 75 percent plan to implement a hybrid strategy. Before investing, determine: Are you looking for easy resource scaling and lower costs, on-site servers with the benefit of greater control, or a mix of both?

Storage: How Much Is Enough?

Is it better to buy more than you need or purchase "just enough" storage to meet your data needs? Current market trends suggest the latter: While many companies experience 40 to 60 percent growth in storage requirements year over year, datacenters typically see price drops of over 20 percent in the same period. The result? Data provisioning may be your best bet.

Is Your Provider Industry Compliant?

Cloud technology doesn't exist in a vacuum, and leveraging new solutions means partnering with a reliable cloud provider — but not all vendors are created equal. As a result, it's worth asking if your vendor is up to the task of meeting industry-standard compliance regulations — can it handle health data, credit card information or insurance information?

Where Are Your Hidden Costs?

CIOs often pitch cloud computing as a cost-effective alternative to in-house IT. With any cloud service, however — and public clouds especially — you may be on the hook for line items such as data uploads and downloads, disaster recovery or customer support. Make sure your SLA spells out all costs in detail before you sign.

Can Staff Spare Time and Effort?

While going cloud takes much of the burden off in-house IT pros, you still need a way to administer and provision these services. With 32 percent of companies citing lack of resources as their top cloud migration challenge it's worth asking if your staff can spare the time and effort to handle new tech deployments — for many companies, managed cloud services can help support new cloud initiatives by letting IT pros focus on local tech issues.

What's Your Plan?

The cloud can't guarantee success in isolation; 50 percent of companies moving to the cloud experience business-impacting performance issues because of poor network design. For CIOs this means crafting a plan for success that accounts for existing infrastructure, cloud scale-up and eventual phase-out of legacy solutions.

Do You Need a Pilot Program?

With so many companies shifting to the cloud, it's tempting to dive right in — but ask yourself: Could your business benefit from a sandbox pilot? Benefits include tech roadblock resolution, performance tweaking and use-case demonstrations without the pressure to deliver instant ROI.

Are You Ready for Business Transformation?

Cloud services offer big benefits: Almost 70 percent of companies say the cloud enabled them to re-engineer one or more business processes, but just 37 percent say they've adapted their business model to embrace this transformation. Before investing in the cloud, ensure business processes are ready to make the jump.

CIOs are embracing cloud adoption as the answer to many IT and line-of-business issues — to maximize ROI and long-term success, meanwhile, start with the right questions.

By Ryan Hunt, PR & Content Manager at SingleHop
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An additional question: Does your company have Todd Knarr  –  Sep 24, 2016 3:25 PM PDT

An additional question: Does your company have a plan for dealing with a failure on the cloud provider side? Even Amazon has failures that take out entire data centers, ones where the normal failover process doesn't work leaving everything dead in the water. SLAs can't prevent those failures, and when they happen getting your services back up may not be the provider's first priority. Does your company have a plan for dealing with this some way or another? And can your company absorb the financial hit you'll be taking? Your SLA may cover refunding what you would've paid for your services for the duration of the downtime, but it's unlikely to cover lost sales and other indirect costs of your not being able to do business and those will far outweigh the bill for cloud services for the duration.

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