Publication - Advice and guidance

Cloud Preparation Plan

Published: 30 Jun 2020

A cloud adoption preparation guide for public sector organisations.

Contents
Cloud Preparation Plan
Define your motivations for cloud adoption

Define your motivations for cloud adoption

Your organisation's motivations for assessing and adopting cloud services are influenced by a number of factors.

Typically, these are:

  1. The strategic objectives set out by the Scottish Government, and other authoritative organisations who define strategic directions you should follow
  2. Your business motivations, challenges and desired outcomes for cloud adoption.

Actions

Define and record your strategic objectives by working through the following materials in the Cloud Framework:

Step 1 – Understand government strategies and policies

Review relevant Scottish Government strategies, policies and principles and consider how they apply to your organisation. When creating your cloud strategy, you must consider how your strategy aligns with these objectives.

Step 2 – Describing your objectives for cloud adoption - your motivations and desired outcomes

Understanding your objectives for cloud adoption requires you to engage with colleagues across your organisation. This is important because you must capture and record the objectives of all business functions – in addition to core business objectives – to ensure everyone is invested in your cloud journey.

Use the Capture Motivations and Outcomes template (XLSX 9.8kb) to record this information.

Step 1 - Understand government strategies and policies

Before you begin to define your approach to public cloud services, you should consider existing government policies and strategies, and how they will influence your approach.

Cloud First policy

The Scottish Government's recent publication of a new Cloud First Policy means that public cloud will be the default delivery model for user-focused services.  When introducing new services or updating existing ones, organisations will consider the use of public cloud services first, before other options.

Related strategies

Organisations across the Scottish Public Sector are obliged to consider the strategic objectives of the Scottish Government when developing their strategy for cloud.

These strategies define the highest-level digital objectives for Scotland, and the Scottish Government’s approach to delivering the future of public services. When it is possible and where relevant, you should align your cloud strategy to support these objectives.

The government’s objectives are outlined in the following strategies:

  • Realising Scotland’s Full Potential In a Digital World sets out plans for ensuring that we put digital at the heart of everything we do – in the way in which we deliver inclusive economic growth, reform our public services and prepare our children for the workplace of the future.  It’s a strategy for Scotland, not just the Scottish Government
  • Scotland's Digital Future: Data Hosting and Data Centre Strategy for the Scottish Public Sector targets improvement in the cost effectiveness and environmental impacts of hosting IT.  It starts from the recognition that hosting IT across a large number of government bodies is unlikely to be the most cost-effective approach. Rather, sharing of fewer, purpose built data centres is likely to deliver economies of scale and greater application of best practice
  • Open Data Strategy seeks to create a Scotland where non-personal and non-commercially sensitive data from public services is recognised as a resource for wider societal use and as such is made open in an intelligent manner and available for re-use by others.

Step 2 - Describing your objectives for cloud adoption - your motivations and desired outcomes

Organisations adopt cloud services for a wide variety of reasons. But at the highest level, there are two key drivers every organisation has in common:

  • Government policy: the government's cloud first policy instructs organisations to consider and use public cloud services before assessing alternatives
  • Market direction: vendors are gradually moving away from selling software as an asset, to selling services as a commodity. Consumers naturally follow the market when buying the latest capabilities.

Beyond these common drivers, an individual organisation's reasons for adopting cloud are more specific, but can generally be grouped into:

  • Motivations: your primary motivations for adopting public cloud services. For example, increased service scalability, or the closure of a datacentre
  • Desired outcomes: to achieve particular business outcomes, such as a reduction in IT overheads.

Define your motivations and desired outcomes

For most organisations, the desire to consume cloud services is driven by all areas of the business, with the focus usually on the acquisition of new capabilities. However, the formal programme of work - the cloud adoption programme - is usually initiated by IT in recognition that it will have a transformative effect on the operation of the business.

To discover and define your motivations and desired outcomes for cloud adoption, it is critical that you work with colleagues from all business units across your organisation (IT, developments teams, Finance, HR, etc.). By actively seeking to include non-IT colleagues and understanding their motivations and desired outcomes, you can ensure your cloud adoption effort focuses on the needs of the business, and not IT as an isolated function. This will help to reinforce the notion that cloud adoption is a business opportunity, and not solely an IT activity.

Recommendation: many organisations suffer from a lack of cross-functional communication and understanding that severely limits the visibility between business functions (HR, IT, Finance). To address this, you must reach out and build new relationships between IT and other business areas. Failure to do so will inhibit your ability to both accurately define your strategic objectives and realise them.

Ways to gather feedback from the business

Depending on where you are in your cloud journey, you may or may not already have a clear picture of your objectives for cloud adoption. The most effective way to gather feedback is through open-minded, informal collaborative sessions in cross-functional workshops and interviews with senior stakeholders from other business areas.

  • Workshops: hold collaborative workshops with nominated representatives from every business unit
  • Interviews: hold informal meetings with senior management from across the business (Finance, HR, IT, Relationship Managers).

The process of discovering and defining your motivations is usually an iterative one. It's rare to find an organisation that has a clear understanding - across all business functions - of their reasons from the outset. We recommend you hold a series of shorter, focused meetings with teams, rather than a single longer workshop. This gives the participants in the workshops the opportunity to reflect on the stated motivations in the context of the wider business, their business function and role. This provides them with an opportunity to develop their understanding, and to provide more complete feedback from a position of confidence.

Examples of motivations

Motivation

Description

Datacentre closure Your organisation must evacuate your estate from its current hosting premises
Hosting contract expiry The contract with your hosting supplier will expire by a set date and you can’t – or won’t – renew it
End-of-support technologies Technologies you use are end-of-support, or will be end-of-support by a set date. You want to assess service delivery from the cloud to remove the security, availability and / or compliance risks
Data sovereignty requirements Your organisation runs services and data in areas that do not meet your data sovereignty requirements
Improved service availability Your current service hosting provision does not meet your SLAs and you are seeking to improve service availability
Insourcing of IT You have a contract with a third-party to provide services and you wish to end the relationship and deliver services internally
Reduce technical complexity Your digital estate is unnecessarily complex and you wish to simplify it through a process of rationalisation and cloud service adoption
Reduce technical debt For a variety of reasons, you have accrued significant technical debt in terms of applications, software and infrastructure. You understand this both limitations innovation and introduces major risk
Deliver new business capabilities Your current digital estate does not support your desired business outcomes. You want to adopt cloud services to help you deliver new business capabilities
Optimise internal operations The operation of your internal estate places a heavy burden on your internal IT delivery teams, you want to increase the efficiency of your service delivery to free up your teams to focus on more beneficial activities

Regardless of your situation, it is likely your organisation will identify a number of these areas as being important motivations for cloud adoption. To make these motivations more relevant and pertinent to your organisation, align your core business outcomes with these motivations.

Prioritise and record your motivations and desired outcomes

When you have defined and openly communicated your objectives for cloud adoption, prioritise and define them within a cross-functional group to ensure they are agreed in concert with the whole organisation.

Recommendation: it may seem desirable to record a wide array of motivations and outcomes to deliver a host of benefits. However, we recommend you carefully prioritise a few critical outcomes and to focus on them. Remember, your cloud strategy is a living document and will be updated over time as you reach maturity in certain areas, to address others.

Contact

Email: Cloud1st@gov.scot

Telephone: 0300 244 4000

Post:

Cloud First
Digital Transformation Division
Area 1H South
Victoria Quay
Edinburgh
EH6 6QQ