Cloud Preparation Plan

A cloud adoption preparation guide for public sector organisations.

This document is part of a collection

Define your cloud strategy

Having complete the preceeding stages of the Cloud Preparation Plan (CPP) in collaboration with colleagues from across your organisation, the remaining task is to bring it all together into the first draft of your cloud strategy document.

For your cloud strategy to be relevant and valuable, it is critical that you approach it as a living document and that you read, review and update regularly.

Because your strategy must be relevant and accessible to colleagues across the organisation, it must be:

  • simple to understand
  • available to everyone
  • specific in its objectives (actionable).

When you are defining your strategy, do not include pad it out with superfluous information or detail - keep it relevant.

Questions your strategy should answer

Creating your cloud strategy document can seem like an onerous task. It is important to remember that the purpose of your strategy is to bring clarity to role public cloud services will play in delivering your business.

Your strategy should answer questions like:

  • how do you deliver business services now (high level), and what challenges do we face?
  • what is your vision for the future?
  • at a business-level, how does your cloud strategy align with your business strategy?
  • what role will public cloud services play in achieving your vision by supporting the objectives of your business strategy?
  • what are your specific motivations and desired outcomes for adopting public cloud services?
  • what principles will guide your assessment and use of public cloud services?
  • how will you change your operating model to support cloud adoption?
  • how will you support your teams to build the capabilities (skills and experience) to drive your cloud journey, and what capabilities will require you to partner?
  • how will these considerations develop into a roadmap for delivery over the next 1, 2 or 3 years?

It is useful to think about these questions when completing the sections of your strategy.

Components of the strategy

Your cloud strategy should address the following concerns at a minimum:

Section Description
Introduction A brief introduction to the document
Executive summary A high-level overview of the contents of the document people can consume quickly to get an overall understanding of your strategy
Cloud baseline An basic introduction to cloud services to help people understand public cloud services
Vision Your organisation's vision statement
Motivations and desired outcomes Defines your motivations for cloud adoption, and the outcomes you expect to realise as a result of your cloud programme (demonstrating alignment with your business strategy, the government's cloud policy and digital strategy)
Principles Defines your cloud principles, that will guide consistent decision-making and beneficial behaviours on your cloud journey
Target Operating Model Your Target Operating Model. Defines how you plan to deliver and operate services

As your cloud adoption programme progresses and your skills and view of the road ahead improves, you will need to incrementally update your strategy document to outline and communicate your approach to other considerations. This may include:

  • Cloud vendor selection: can a single cloud provider meet your needs, or will you need a multi-cloud strategy? Does that mean two vendors, or two models (hybrid cloud, for example). How will you manage concerns around vendor lock-in?
  • Exit plan: when you have a clearer picture of how you will use public cloud services, how will exit if you need to?

We will be publishing further, more detailed, guidance in future to assist with these considerations.

Bringing it all together

This section provides guidance to help you complete the first draft of your cloud strategy document.

Cloud baseline

You should not assume the people who will read your cloud strategy will be cloud literate. As cloud adoption is a business activity, your cloud strategy must be a business, not a technical, document. Throughout your cloud journey, the capability of colleagues to discuss and drive your cloud adoption will increase incrementally with exposure to the programme. But for many people, reading your cloud strategy will be their introduction to public cloud services and you must support their understanding.

To efficiently help you meet this need, we have produced introductory materials for business audiences. These include:

  • Cloud Primer: An introduction to public cloud services for business audiences
  • Benefits of Cloud: An overview of the benefits of public cloud services for the Scottish public sector.

You can include these materials at the beginning of your cloud strategy document to build their understanding.


Your vision statement outlines your organisation's objectives and is used to guide internal decision-making at the highest level. When writing the vision statement for your cloud strategy, try to capture your organisation's ambitions for cloud.

Motivations and desired outcomes

This section of the document provides detailed information on your motivations for adopting cloud services, and the business outcomes you expect to derive from your cloud journey.

Key points:

  • demonstrate how your motivations, objectives and outcomes relate to your business objectives and other strategies (data, digital, etc.)
  • prioritise your objectives and focus on key areas. It is better to meet several objectives well, than to outline many but achieve none
  • they must be explicit and attributed to business areas (if applicable)
  • they should be measurable.


Cloud principles help to guide consistent decision making and beneficials behaviours in your teams when assessing, designing and operating cloud services.

We recommend that you include our cloud principles in your strategy as they are universally applicable and useful for Scottish Public Sector organisations. You can build on our principles with your own where appropriate.

At a high-level, our principles are:

  1. Design for the cloud: Design your services to fit your chosen cloud deployment model. Do not heavily customise cloud services to fit legacy architectures or business processes.
  2. Be secure by design: Develop services that are secure by design by focusing on defining an effective security architecture early on, and deploying security controls that are proportionate to the risks.
  3. Be responsible with data: Organisations must understand their responsibility for data, and how it affects service design, security and operation.
  4. Build your skills: Build your cloud skills and experience to deliver high-quality outcomes.
  5. Prepare to share: Architect services to allow standards-based data and service sharing across government. Share the skills and experience you acquire with other organisations.
  6. Be efficient: Use cloud services in a cost-efficient and environmentally sustainable manner.
  7. Monitor continuously, optimise frequently: Monitor your cloud usage continuously. Optimise your services and licensing regularly.

For more detailed information, refer to our cloud principles.

Target Operating Model (TOM)

The Target Operating Model (TOM) section of your cloud strategy should indicate to your organisation how you will deliver and operate services in future.

It should outline:

  • how you will deliver and operate services
  • who will deliver and operate services (responsibilities)
  • how this differs to your current Operating Model
  • the expected benefits of the new operating model, or the reason for changes
  • how these changes will affect the roles and responsibilities of internal resources
  • whether / why you will partner with third-party organisations to fulfil certain roles and responsibilities.

Skills development plan

When you have an idea of how your operating model will change, you should have a clear idea of what capabilities you need to develop in your internal teams. Embarking on your cloud journey can be an anxious time for your employees and the business if they do no thave a clear idea of:

  • the part they will play
  • how their role will change
  • how, where and when they will receive the necessary training and hands-on epxerience to develop the skills needed to meet their new responsibilities.

At this stage you do not need to create a detailed development plan for internal resources. However, you should indicate with a reasonable degree of accuracy how you foresee the roles of staff changing - both in terms of responsibilities and required skills. Most importantly, you should outline how the organisation will support them through the journey, with training and opportunities to practice new skills.

Your strategy 

Your cloud strategy must be a living document if it is remain relevant. This plan guides you through the most important factors that form the basis of your cloud strategy. Depending on your organisation's needs, scale and complexity, you may choose to supplement the contents with additional considerations over time.



Telephone: 0300 244 4000


Cloud First
Digital Transformation Division
Area 1H South
Victoria Quay

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