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Success in the cloud: Microsoft Cloud Adoption Framework for Azure

By Evelyn Padrino, Director of Product Marketing, Azure

November 9, 2019

With thousands of customers deploying more and more applications on cloud platforms, cloud technologies have become increasingly more familiar to businesses. However, the path for successful cloud adoption can be bumpy for enterprises as it requires more than the typical technology deployment steps. Successful cloud adoption requires deeper and broader changes across an organization, including business plans and expectations alignment, process updates, and technical readiness.

In our work with customers, we’ve helped solve some common obstacles to the cloud journey, including proper cloud governance to control costs and ensure security, confusion on the right migration strategy to define a path to the cloud, and a lack of context on how to establish a Cloud Center of Excellence in their organization.

Today, we are announcing the general availability of new content within the Microsoft Cloud Adoption Framework for Azure, including Innovate and Manage stages and new resources and assessments to help organizations wherever they are. It brings together best practices from Microsoft solution architects, partners, and customers into a comprehensive and curated set of tools, documentation, templates, and guidance that help organizations shape their cloud strategies, driving towards their desired business goals and outcomes.

Digital transformation is real and is here. We realize change takes time and real effort; it impacts people, culture, and business, and it can feel risky. It requires new disruptive thinking. It requires leaders to adapt, take risks, and learn quickly. It requires a culture and organization shift. And the Cloud Adoption Framework is here to help organizations navigate their respective and unique journeys, delivering on their business goals through the power of Azure.

How does it work?

Built with a modular approach, the Cloud Adoption Framework helps organizations breakdown their journey into discrete stages with clear guidance for business decision makers, cloud architects, and IT professionals to undertake their cloud journey with confidence and control, aligning business priorities and expected outcomes with technology changes and investments.

While each organization will have their own cloud journey to adopt the cloud, there are six main stages that hold true for most organizations: strategy, plan, ready, adopt, govern, and manage. Although the framework suggests a linear journey, reality shows it isn’t. It is an iterative and cyclical process, where organizations jump in and out of stages as they make progress or have new areas to address in their journey. If the organization is concerned with managing policies and staying compliant to industry regulations, then focus on establishing proper cloud governance to unblock and address those concerns. If the organization wants to review or define its own motivations for cloud adoption, then they will need to focus on the strategy and planning stages to establish a clear North Star for this change, and so forth.

Each stage of the framework focuses on specific aspects of the cloud journey, for each organization to address internally. Here is an overview of each stage:

  • Strategy: Understand the motivation to adopt new cloud technologies, considering business and financial justifications, and aligning to business goals and expected outcomes.
  • Plan: Create a cloud adoption plan based on inventory of the current digital estate, prioritized workloads, and a suitable migration strategy for business impact. The definition of a cloud strategy team and center of excellence must be defined at this point to ensure appropriate execution.
  • Ready: Prepare people, business processes, and IT environments for the change, based on a prioritized and agreed cloud adoption plan, leveraging landing zones and replicable mechanisms to enable agility with proper governance and controls.
  • Adopt: Whether looking to migrate existing workloads to the cloud or innovate creating something new, this stage is where the technology implementation takes place to deliver on the business expectations and align to the cloud adoption plan.
  • Govern: Review existing on-premises IT policies and define cloud governance to complement them. Learn to iterate as the cloud estate, business priorities, and processes change over time, potentially creating new risks to mitigate.
  • Manage: Define a cloud operating model based on operational excellence. Monitor, manage, and optimize cloud environments to adapt and deliver on business goals and expected outcomes.

Making the Cloud Adoption Framework actionable

Many customers and partners have been leveraging and contributing to this framework for a few months now. Partners, in particular, have found it very useful to help address their customers main blockers to cloud adoption, focusing on both the technical and business components.

“As a partner, New Signature has used the Microsoft Cloud Adoption Framework to help organize our services and have aligned customer engagements with the themes and goals the framework discusses. It has also been useful to fully identify the end to end capability needed to run both the technical transformation and the business change elements of cloud adoption.” - Sean Morris, Head of Consulting at New Signature.

And many Microsoft partners have already created offerings to help guide customers through their journey based on the framework. Similarly, OpsCompassleverages the Microsoft Cloud Adoption Framework for Azure to help customers feel safe knowing they’re proactively managing their cost, compliance, and security risks as they adopt the cloud,” said Scott Griffith, Vice President of Corporate Development at OpsCompass.

Already, over 200 organizations have engaged with the framework, providing feedback, sharing best practices, and also learning new aspects to address open items in their journey. One of those is Dentsu Aegis Network, which wanted to enable teams across the world to leverage the power of Azure, in a controlled and secured matter.

“Using the Cloud Adoption Framework, we set up an automated self-service portal where anyone can request a cloud landing zone, get approval, and within hours have a new environment provisioned and ready to use in Azure,” said Chris Fry, Director of Global Programs at Dentsu Aegis Network.

All organizations can start leveraging the Cloud Adoption Framework to support their adoption journey today. Depending on your organization’s needs, there are a few options to get started:

For more information and to learn more about it, visit the Cloud Adoption Framework for Azure page and for the best practices, guidance, and technical documentation, visit the Microsoft Cloud Adoption Framework for Azure documentation. Learn more about Microsoft migration resources and programs.

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