In my previous blog post, I drew on Accenture’s own cloud journey to examine the elements that make up an appropriate and effective cloud strategy. In this latest post, I shift the focus to the next stage: defining the guiding principles.

Picture the scenario. Your organisation has decided to migrate to cloud to realise the major benefits it can offer – reduced IT costs, scalability, flexibility of work practices and many more. And your IT team has worked with stakeholders from across the enterprise to create a cloud strategy that’s closely aligned with your business strategy, showing how cloud can support the delivery of your strategic goals.

It’s a good start but does your strategy include a clear set of guiding principles? What should you do next to build on it? The answer is to get specific about the principles that you would use to navigate your journey.

Shaping uptake

Having formulated your cloud strategy, you’re at the point where you should start shaping your organisation’s uptake of cloud. As you do this, your guiding principles will act as the enterprise-wide guidelines and ‘north star’, helping inform current and future decision-making about cloud solutions and services.

These guiding principles should come from different business units and functions to help ensure they are comprehensive. Crucially, the principles should be specific to your organisation and its goals – and should have your cloud vision and wider business strategy at their core.

Our eight principles

While your cloud guiding principles should be specifically geared to your business’s needs and objectives, it’s helpful to know what principles other organisations are applying. So, drawing on Accenture’s experience of our own journey to cloud, I’d like to give you a head start by setting out the eight principles that we’ve defined for the Accenture cloud transformation.

Here they are:

  1. Cloud First – By default, all new applications and services are architected, designed, built and enhanced for hosting in the cloud.
  2. Digital Transformation – The cloud transformation facilitates Accenture’s digital transformation and is aligned with Accenture’s business strategy.
  3. Security and Compliance – Our security, compliance and control policies and principles are strictly enforced and embedded across the enterprise.
  4. Self-Service and Automation – We have a relentless focus on driving end-to-end self-service and automation using cloud-hosted technologies as both a facilitator and a catalyst.
  5. Environment Optimisation – As environments are migrated to public cloud, we make sure each one is enhanced to benefit from cloud capabilities and that developers have access to the environments required to deliver change efficiently
  6. Portability – Decisions are consciously made to balance the advantages of portability across cloud vendors against those of using provider-specific features and capabilities.
  7. Cloud Footprint – Our cloud footprint has increased and become more balanced over time with multiple cloud providers including Microsoft® Azure, Amazon Web Services, Inc. and the Google Cloud Platform™ service.
  8. Cost Optimisation – From day one, our solution, processes and organisation have focused on managing and improving our cloud usage, costs and commercial constructs to optimise our spend.

Finding a solid starting-point

As I highlighted earlier, every organisation’s cloud guiding principles should be specifically geared to its own unique needs and goals. It follows that not all eight of our principles will necessarily suit your business – and you may even have to add one or two more of your own.

But our principles have stood us in very good stead. And I think they could provide pretty much any organisation with a solid starting-point for defining its own principles and embarking on its cloud journey. So, feel free to use them to start developing your own.

What’s next?

In the next post in this series, we will focus on the next step in your organisation’s journey to cloud: selecting your cloud providers. Getting this right is critical to outmanoeuvring uncertainty and aligning the direction of your teams, complying with regulators’ guidelines and helping drive enduring business growth and value at speed and scale.

I also would like to thank my colleagues Orla Baker and Samuel Gunn who have contributed to this blog.

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