Cloud computing is promoted as an easy way to cut costs and improve efficiency. You no longer need to worry about building a massive data center for your business. There’s just one problem with the hype…
Cloud services do not manage themselves. In fact, the providers of cloud services have no incentive to help you optimize your cloud spend. The largest cloud providers serve millions of customers. That scale delivers cost savings to you. However, it also means they cannot provide personal attention.
Managed Cloud vs. Unmanaged Cloud: What’s the Difference?
Before we develop your business case for managed cloud, we need to distinguish between two methodologies. Both approaches can work for companies. It all depends on your internal capacity and skills to understand, monitor, and analyze cloud.
Managed Cloud: The Concierge Approach to Cloud Services
In a managed cloud situation, there are at least three parties: your organization, the cloud service provider, and the managed cloud company. With a managed cloud approach, you do not have to worry about optimizing each setting. You will also have somebody to call if you have problems with your cloud arrangements. The managed cloud service provides peace of mind and convenience.
Like any business concept, there are a variety of managed cloud arrangements. Take the time to look at the support options provided. If you are running a bank, it makes sense to pay for top-tier support. In contrast, a growing small business may need a smaller package of services.
Unmanaged Cloud: The Do-It-Yourself Option
In contrast to the option above, unmanaged cloud involves two parties: your company and the cloud provider. For example, if you sign up for a cloud data storage service as an individual, then you have just experienced an unmanaged cloud arrangement. For simple, low-risk use cases such as storing personal photos, the unmanaged cloud approach is suitable.
Phase 1: How Are Business Cases Approved in Your Organization?
You have done your research, and you want to move your organization to a managed cloud. For that request to succeed, we need to take a step back. How exactly are business cases and related technology projects approved by your organization? To get the answer, use the following tips:
- Search the company intranet. Specifically, look for business case templates, technology project documents, and related materials. If you are required to use a template, make sure you use it.
- Find out about budgets. Many companies have a dedicated technology project budget. Find out how to gain access to those funds. These funds may be just what you need to pay for a managed cloud implementation.
- Research the company’s experience with cloud services. There is a significant difference between moving to cloud services for the first time and upgrading to a managed cloud environment. In particular, ask your peers and managers if there have been negative experiences with cloud services.
- Find the decision makers. Who decides to approve new technology projects such as adopting cloud? If the answer is “a committee,” keep researching until you find out who exercises the most influence on the committee.
- Identify your allies and supporting players. Implementing new technology in a large organization involves multiple stakeholders. Outside of the technology group, find out if procurement is needed.
- Assess your cloud expertise. Time to be honest with yourself. Are you be prepared to answer questions about managed cloud and the underlying services? If not, take the time to do further research.
Resource: If you are inexperienced in working with procurement, check out our article: How To Work With Procurement Without Tearing Your Hair Out.
Phase 2: How To Build the Managed Cloud Business Case
With phase 1 complete, you know how business cases are designed and approved by your organization. To create your managed cloud business case document, develop the following sections:
- The Big Picture. Explain the business rationale for adopting managed cloud. In most cases, this will be directly linked to the problem section below.
- Our Cloud Experience. This background section will review your company’s cloud services. If you have a large number of cloud service providers, limit your list to the top 5 services.
- The Problem. What is the expensive problem your company is experiencing by not using the managed cloud? This might be service failures, out of control cloud costs, or burning up staff time on cloud requests.
- The Benefits. What financial and non-financial benefits will the organization realize from moving to the cloud? Link this section back to “the problem” and “the big picture” to maintain logical flow in the document. Non-financial benefits include access to greater cloud computing experience through an outside provider.
- Options. In this section, you will explain the options to solve the problem. We recommend providing at least three options.
- Estimates. Provide a high-level cost and schedule estimate to move to the managed cloud. Make sure to underline that these estimates are preliminary and will be refined in the future.
- Recommendation. Make your request to management clear and direct by recommending a specific option. If you need a small budget for additional research first, lead to that request.
- Next Steps. Explain the steps for moving to the managed cloud. For instance, you may write the project charter, write out detailed business requirements, and meet with vendors.
Resource: When you are new to writing business cases, it is helpful to break it down by type: e.g., applications vs. infrastructure. For additional insight, read Cloud computing: How to build a business case from ZD Net.
That is everything you need to write the first draft of your business case document. We recommend asking a peer to review the document before you present it to your executives.
What About Access Governance in the Managed Cloud?
As you plan your transition to the managed cloud, cybersecurity must not be forgotten. We suggest looking at your access governance practices. If your cloud service is not controlled, you may experience access governance failures. To reduce this risk, include a cybersecurity assessment as part of your managed cloud project plan.