What is a Cloud Adoption Framework?

In this video, Nigel Schmalkuche, Managing Director, Strategic Architects outlines How to Create a Cloud Adoption Framework.


Organisations should commit to a mature transformation of their governance, technology, applications and management processes in order to better adopt cloud services.

The first step for all organisations is to provide clear direction in a cloud strategy and link it to their digital, ICT and organisational strategies, vision and goals. The cloud strategy may include how to implement a cloud-first approach to the sourcing of ICT as-a-service in order to enhance service delivery, be responsive and agile when proven to deliver best business value. 

The implementation of a cloud strategy involves the development of a well-designed cloud adoption approach including clearly defined business drivers, comprehensive assessment criteria, mitigating of cloud issues and capturing key lessons from earlier cloud projects.

Cloud adoption can be a critical turning point for ICT in an agency and a vital step to enable digital transformation due to the significant improvement in availability, functionality, mobility, scalability and cost effectiveness from traditional ICT. However cloud adoption without proactive planning and comprehensive design and architecture documents that aligns to business goals, objectives and expectations may result in a failed cloud program and implementation.

The Cloud Adoption Framework should include clearly defined goals, defined perspectives (such as business and security) and a maturity model. To provide the high level implementation plan a 3-5 year as-a-service roadmap is required with IaaS, PaaS, SaaS and XaaS (Anything as-a-service) mapping out the organisations planned transition to the cloud.

Moving application workloads to the cloud has many benefits but the right cloud migration plan for an application can depend on the application’s specific characteristics and the goals and priorities of the organisation. Moving applications to the cloud can range from the simplest lowest cost option of rehosting with IaaS (lift and shift), right through to replacing with a SaaS application. It is important to not miss the associated step of decommissioning the legacy application/s, associated technologies and data migration when replacing as this will ensure unnecessary costs are avoided. SaaS applications may deliver new capabilities not available in the legacy applications that can in-turn deliver new required business services across multiple channels.

The Cloud Adoption Framework includes the following 7 stages: Strategy; Plan; Architect; Implement; Operate; Maintain; and Improve. I will run through each seven in more detail.

The Strategy stage should provide clear direction detailing to what level a cloud first strategy is required for the organisation. Some organisations go for a cloud only strategy preferring Software as a Service to other less flexible and agile cloud alternatives. Other organisations strategy is to be cloud first unless there is a proven better value alternative. All cloud strategies should include a Vision; Purpose; Goals; Principles; Benefits; Outcomes; Challenges; Drivers; Direction Statements; and adoption perspectives.

The Planning stage is one of the most important. It includes developing a Cloud Roadmap; a Cloud Team with skills; Standards and Policies; Application Inventory; Testing Approach; Adoption and Assurance Framework; Suitability Assessment; relevant Business Cases; and Organisational Change and Communications.

The Architect stage contains creating Cloud Design Patterns; Business, Data, Application, Technology and Integration Readiness Assessments; Architecture Requirements; Service Design; and Develop Cloud Security including Identity/Network/Encryption Strategy, Key Management, Business Impact Assessment and Audit Logging. Undertake Cloud Migration Assessment, determine preferred Delivery Model and Deployment Model based on Evaluation Criteria in Cloud Migration Tool.

The Implement stage includes selecting Cloud Providers and Services by applying Selection Criteria. Select and Estimate Bill using a Cost Calculator, Budgeting, Forecasting and Cost Comparison. Establish Governance with Policies and Standards, Framework, Roles and Responsibilities, Audit Process, Security Assessment and Govern Order and Provisioning Process; Conduct Risk Assessments; Business Continuity; Exit Strategy; and Implement Cloud.

The Operate Stage is where Orchestration is implemented to Automate Cloud Services within Thresholds; Utilise Deployment Tools; and Monitor Cloud Consumption.

The Maintain stage is where you Manage Cloud Vendor and Deployments; Utilise Financial Tools to Invoice Business Units based on Usage and Accurately Forecast Demands and Costs; Deliver on Management Requirements; and Establish Cloud Brokerage.

The Improve stage is where the organisations cloud program is enhanced by Continuous Improvement from Capturing Lessons Learned; Partnering with Industry and Business to improve Service Levels and Implement New Technologies; Continuous Personal Development of Staff; and Improve Capabilities.