Cloud migration is integral to the modernization and digital evolution of many businesses. In an effort to make the transformation process as seamless as possible, Microsoft has unveiled a framework to help businesses manage their cloud adoption journey within the Azure environment. The Cloud Adoption Framework for Azure is a valuable resource for any business that wants to migrate to the cloud efficiently on its own terms.

Why is cloud adoption important?

Cloud adoption is an increasingly important part of digital transformation. As networks proliferate and communication speeds accelerate across the globe, operational and data storage solutions continue to move off-site. Businesses engage with cloud computing to store, manage, and process critical data assets. Cloud adoption promotes efficiency, collaboration and data access, business continuity, security, and scalability across an organization in order to reduce costs and improve business objectives.

Cloud adoption is a core component of business evolution, but it demands a key cultural shift. Successful change depends on accurate assessment, detailed planning, and innovative governance and management routines. The understanding and implementation of cloud migration strategies is greatly enhanced through the adoption of a recognized industry framework. The Cloud Adoption Framework for Azure helps businesses to align core business and technical strategies in order to ensure success.

What is the Cloud Adoption Framework for Azure?

The Cloud Adoption Framework for Azure has been designed from the ground-up to help create and implement important business and technology strategies. Regardless of size or sector, each organization needs to fulfill certain requirements in order to succeed in the cloud. The Cloud Adoption Framework is a collection of documentation, implementation guidance, best practices, and tools that have been proven to solidify and accelerate the cloud adoption journey. The framework has been vetted by over 200 organizations and is actively supported by Microsoft.

This framework covers a lot of territory in its effort to streamline all aspects of cloud adoption. It provides best practice recommendations, detailed documentation, and practical tools for cloud architects, IT professionals, and business decision-makers. Rather than making educated guesses or sticking to outdated methods, this framework lays down clear guidelines to help businesses achieve their short and long-term objectives.

How does the Cloud Adoption Framework for Azure work?

The Cloud Adoption Framework is a set of tools, standards, and documentation files that attempt to define the typical cloud migration journey. By defining the complex act of cloud adoption in a few discrete stages, stakeholders are given a consistent framework in which to work and make appropriate decisions.

Azure’s Cloud Adoption Framework can be understood as a journey and six-step process. The sequential nature of the adoption process is designed to help businesses take advantage of cloud benefits while avoiding the pitfalls. While this framework is defined in linear fashion for easy comprehension, like many operational models, it is best approached as a fractal and iterative process.

  • Strategy– After receiving input from all stakeholders, this step involves setting key business and financial objectives, opportunity cost justifications, and expected outcomes for cloud migration.
  • Planning– After formulating a clear strategy, it’s important to develop a long-term plan and perform an inventory by analyzing your data and technological assets. People will be assigned to technical and governance tasks based on capabilities.
  • Ready– During this pre-operational phase, you will prepare all data, processes, and people for the cloud. This stage is critical, with your entire IT environment made ready through landing zones and replicable workload mechanisms.
  • Adopt– During this phase, implementation begins. Workloads are migrated to the cloud in an iterative fashion based on complexity and importance. Only certain systems can be moved in full. Some legacy systems need to be adapted or partially migrated in combination with on-premise solutions.
  • Govern– During this phase, you need to develop a governance plan based on your business goals and IT policies. While it’s important to execute your initial strategy, it’s also essential to be flexible and agile in order to fulfill industry standards and legal obligations.
  • Manage– During the management phase, you will monitor and optimize your new cloud environment. Successful management is dependent on detailed analysis and accurate reporting mechanisms. A sustainable operating model is required to deliver excellent outcomes.

Benefits of the Cloud Adoption Framework

Cloud migration is a powerful and transformative move with wide-ranging business benefits. Despite mass migration to the cloud across industry sectors, the benefits of cloud adoption are dependent on the details of your business and its operational goals. Maybe you’re moving to the cloud to reduce operational costs? Perhaps you need to modernize core functions, ensure continuity, or upgrade your security stance?

Regardless of why you’re moving to the cloud, the Cloud Adoption Framework is a valuable resource for any business using Azure. Instead of relying on guesswork or making it up as you go, this robust and flexible model summarizes key cloud adoption strategies and migration mechanisms in an abstract and highly useful format. While the exact advantages of this framework are contingent on your business goals, the following three benefits are undeniable and impossible to ignore:

Supported and tested

The Cloud Adoption Framework for Azure is both robust and flexible. In an effort to make this framework relevant to everyone, Microsoft has produced documentation that is abstract enough to be insightful and practical enough for operational decision-making. The framework has already been used by over 200 organizations, and Microsoft is committed to ongoing support for years to come.

Key steps documented

This framework includes detailed documentation of key steps and processes needed for successful cloud adoption. While many of these steps have a cyclical and iterative nature, the existence of a defined cloud adoption journey is incredibly valuable for any business. No single adoption path works for every organization, but key defined steps make it easier for businesses to manage their costs, workloads, and compliance obligations.

Business goals aligned

As both a strategic and operational model, the Cloud Adoption Framework for Azure is a great way to align technological changes with business goals. The existence of known adoption phases along with likely timelines and operational outcomes makes it easier for businesses to identify requirements and reach key performance indicators. Instead of moving too fast or going too slow, the framework can be used to align strategy and execution.

How to get started

There’s never been a better time to get started on your cloud adoption journey. If you’re ready to take the leap and enjoy the benefits, simply take the Microsoft Cloud Journey Tracker assessment to identify your organization’s cloud adoption path. If you need some help getting started, or a partner for ongoing support, please contact Softlanding for trusted professional advice.

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Softlanding is a long-established IT services provider of transformation, professional services and managed IT services that helps organizations boost innovation and drive business value. We are a multi-award-winning Microsoft Gold Partner with 13 Gold Competencies and we use our experience and expertise to be a trusted advisor to our clients. Headquartered in Vancouver, BC, we have staff and offices in Toronto, Montreal and Calgary to serve clients across Canada.

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