Are Requirements Needed in the Cloud?

Back from vacation … wow, it always seems to take longer to recover from vacation than the last time, but had a great trip!  I saw some amazing places and did some fun things.  We got to visit the place they filmed Jurassic Park, but did not see any of the dinosaurs they left behind.  Guess they were sleeping.

Right after vacation, I went to a conference on Healthcare technology.  During one session, a consultant exclaimed – “We didn’t define requirements for moving to the cloud, because we weren’t going to submit an RFP.”  First, I was impressed by the consultant’s score of the holy grail – consulting work without an RFP.  Then, I was amazed with the comment.  I was shocked by the number of other comments surrounding the fact that companies did not think requirements weren’t needed for cloud work.

Let me ask a question … when you go to buy a car, do you just tell the salesperson “any car would be fine”?  Yes, I am equating a car dealership with a cloud provider, but think about it…the dealership has different car types (patterns if you will), different performance levels and different capacities.  So again, when you are planning to buy a new car, don’t you at least have an idea of what you want to buy?  Things like how fast you want the car to go, how many people you want to place in the car and the reliability features of the car.

So, the next question – is buying a car more important than your company’s systems in the cloud? 

Got your attention?  I hope so, because requirements are more important for cloud implementations than they are for on-premise implementations! Remember, you are relying on someone else to run your business, shouldn’t you have input on the way it is done?

I am constantly amazed by the consideration that clients entering the cloud think they don’t have a choice about what they want.  A main focus of our cloud migration process includes the definition of requirements for the systems while in the cloud.

Why define requirements for the implementation, migration and steady state support for cloud implementations?  The same reason you choose the type of car you want … in your mind, you are thinking you want this type of car…

GoodCar

Unfortunately, if you have not communicated correctly with the sales person … you may end up with …

BadCar

Seriously though, the requirements support multiple phases of the migration to the cloud.  The following bullets identify these phases.  Keeping with the car analogy, the following table presents some of the areas where requirements impact the implementation of a cloud solution.

Requirements driven results Car Analogy
Supports the appropriate selection of cloud providers (not just for RFP purposes) What type of car are you going to purchase and where will you purchase?
Defines success criteria of the implementation including patterns and process What is your experience with the buying and drive-off process?
Process and SLA surrounding the migration process Do you know what the accessories do and how to use them?
Success and management surrounding post implementation support (steady state) Is the car performing and where will you get it serviced?

Without requirements (explicit or implicit), how do you declare success or failure of a cloud implementation?  The requirements support the identification of needed resources and processes.

These components define the foundation of the cloud platform and are the differing factor between a cloud deployment and a hosting deployment.

A cloud deployment leverages repeatable processes an agile implementation and management.

So, the next time a consultant says “we don’t need requirements”, you should look for another consultant.  Implementations without requirements lead to extended schedules and poor experiences.

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