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Good news!

Your firm has decided to move to the cloud to seize the agility, flexibility and cost savings inherent in cloud Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).

Bad news:

  • The average large IT project runs 45% over budget, 7% over time, and delivers 56% less value than expected.
  • One in six IT projects has an average cost overrun of 200% and a schedule overrun of 70%.
  • Only 34% of respondents say IT projects almost always deliver value to the business. 21% say they sometimes deliver value, and 41% say results are mixed.
  • 78% said their project requirements are usually or always out of sync with the business.
  • 17% of large IT projects (budgets $15M+) go so badly they threaten the existence of the company.

Wait! It gets “better”. In the cloud:

  • 63% of AWS projects fail
  • 57% of Rackspace projects fail
  • 44% of Microsoft Azure projects fail
  • 33% of VMware projects fail

Sobering – isn’t it. Information Technology has always been notorious for project failures. Even before cloud really got rolling the studies determined that 68% of IT projects were failures.

What are you going to do? Today’s enterprise lives on IT as its lifeblood to connect to customers and employees, and run operations. Cloud is the next wave of computing that promises great advantages over the old on-premise model. The answer is a three-prong approach: (1) old school program management; (2) engage someone who has been to the cloud movie, and – here is the twist – (3) take advantage of the new-age capabilities enabled by the cloud itself.

Let’s tackle the old school disciplines first. A recent SunGard survey showed that cloud projects were failing because of a failure to establish and identify clear business objectives before cloud migration (55%) and a lack of planning (42%). Folks, this is project management 101. The cloud is powerful but it is not magic. Things don’t just happen on the cloud with out clear requirements and planning.

Next, find someone who has been to the movie before you. Cloud is different than your firm’s experience with traditional computing. In the SunGard survey the third complaint was a lack of understanding of security and compliance issues (56%). That doesn’t mean the cloud is weak in security – in fact, it is better  – but the approach is different and undoubtedly new to your team.  Survey results from the cloud implementation referred to above also reported that organizations ran into unexpected challenges in:

  • Pricing
  • Performance
  • Support
  • Downtime
  • Management of cloud services
  • Scalability

Duh! This is about every aspect of the cloud that is different from legacy computing. Of course you are going to run into challenges. Be smart – mitigate the risk (again good program management!). Go get some help. It is well worth it. (See my prior post for more detail).

Lastly, here is the neat part. Use the unique nature of the cloud capabilities to raise the probability your project will be successful. Smartly done – cloud enables you to be unlike traditional IT projects which are often big; the design requirements become outdated the moment they are written, and you commit to major expenditures in equipment and software before your even begin.

Instead you can: Break it down into smaller pieces and “eat the elephant one bite at a time”. Circle back to the business to confirm what you built is what they want. Spend only what you need, when you need it, for compute power without long-term commitment. And, if you find yourself in a hole – you can stop digging (and spending) and regroup. Cloud gives you all sorts of on and off ramps that were previously unavailable.

Congratulations on moving to the cloud. Make sure your experience is a success. Exercise good program management. Engage a cloud knowledgeable resource. Be creative with the capabilities the cloud enables.

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