Motivations: Why are we moving to the cloud?

"Why are we moving to the cloud?" is a common question for business and technical stakeholders alike. If the answer is, "Our board (or CIO, or C-level executives) told us to move to the cloud," it's unlikely that the business will achieve the desired outcomes.

This article discusses a few motivations behind cloud migration that can help produce more successful business outcomes. These options help facilitate a conversation about motivations and, ultimately, business outcomes.

Motivations

Business transformations that are supported by cloud adoption can be driven by various motivations. It's even likely that several motivations are applicable at once. The goal of the lists in the following table is to help spark ideas about which motivations are relevant. From there, you can prioritize and assess the potential impacts of the motivations. In this article, we recommend that your cloud adoption team meet with various executives and business leaders using the list below to understand which of these motivations are affected by the cloud adoption effort.

Critical business events Migration Innovation
Datacenter exit

Merger, acquisition, or divestiture

Reduction in capital expenses

End of support for mission-critical technologies

Response to regulatory compliance changes

New data sovereignty requirements

Reduction of disruptions and improvement of IT stability
Cost savings

Reduction in vendor or technical complexity

Optimization of internal operations

Increase in business agility

Preparation for new technical capabilities

Scaling to meet market demands

Scaling to meet geographic demands
Preparation for new technical capabilities

Building new technical capabilities

Scaling to meet market demands

Scaling to meet geographic demands

Improved customer experiences and engagements

Transformation of products or services

Market disruption with new products or services

Classify your motivations

Your motivations for cloud adoption will likely fall into multiple categories. As you're building the list of motivations, trends will likely emerge. Motivations tend to be associated more with one classification than with others. Use the predominant classification to help guide the development of your cloud adoption strategy.

When a response to critical business events is the highest priority, it's important to engage early in cloud implementation, often in parallel with strategy and planning efforts. Taking this approach requires a growth mindset and a willingness to iteratively improve processes, based on direct lessons learned.

When migration is the highest priority, strategy and planning will play a vital role early in the process. We recommend that you implement the first workload in parallel with planning, to help the team understand and anticipate any learning curves that are associated with cloud adoption.

When innovation is the highest priority, strategy and planning will require additional investments early in the process to ensure balance in the portfolio and wise alignment of the investment made during cloud adoption. For further information and guidance, see Understand the innovation journey.

To ensure wiser decision-making, all participants in the migration process should have a clear awareness of their motivations. The following section outlines how customers can guide and effect wiser decisions through consistent, strategic methodologies.

Motivation-driven strategies

This section highlights the Migration and Innovation motivations and their corresponding strategies.

Migration

The Migration motivations listed near the top of the Motivations table are the most common, but not necessarily the most significant, reasons for adopting the cloud. These outcomes are important to achieve, but they're most effectively used to transition to other, more useful worldviews. This important first step to cloud adoption is often called a cloud migration. The framework refers to the strategy for executing a cloud migration by using the term Migrate.

Some motivations align well with a migrate strategy. The motives at the top of this list will likely have significantly less business impact than those toward the bottom of the list.

  • Cost savings.
  • Reduction in vendor or technical complexity.
  • Optimization of internal operations.
  • Increasing business agility.
  • Preparing for new technical capabilities.
  • Scaling to meet market demands.
  • Scaling to meet geographic demands.

Innovation

Data is the new commodity. Modern apps are the supply chain that drives that data into various experiences. In today's business market, it's hard to find a transformative product or service that isn't built on top of data, insights, and customer experiences. The motivations that appear lower in the Innovation list align to a technology strategy referred to in this framework as Innovate.

The following list includes motivations that cause an IT organization to focus more on an innovate strategy than a migrate strategy.

  • Increasing business agility.
  • Preparing for new technical capabilities.
  • Building new technical capabilities.
  • Scaling to meet market demands.
  • Scaling to meet geographic demands.
  • Improving customer experiences and engagements.
  • Transforming products or services.

Next steps

Understanding projected business outcomes helps facilitate the conversations that you need to have as you document your motivations and supporting metrics, in alignment with your business strategy. Next, read an overview of business outcomes that are commonly associated with a move to the cloud.