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3 Reasons Cloud Computing Projects Fail, and How to Avoid Them

3 Reasons Cloud Computing Projects Fail

3 Reasons Cloud Computing Projects Fail, and How to Avoid Them

Written by David Linthicum exclusively for Nelson Hilliard

Cloud computing is all the rage within the enterprise.  Enterprises are migrating data, systems, and infrastructure to cloud computing services.  They are also building private clouds internally.  In this torrent of activity, there are cloud projects that will do whatever it takes to succeed, and thus they make common mistakes that will cause them to fail. 

Let’s try to stop the insanity.  Here are 3 common reasons why cloud computing projects fail, and how to avoid them.

1.No complete understanding of the requirements up front. 

Remember the old cartoon?  “You guys start coding and I’ll go see what they want.”    While that still causes a few chuckles, it seems that looking to interact your way to success has returned with a vengeance in the world of cloud computing. 

The fact of the matter is that you have to have a complete and detailed understanding of all your requirements before you pick the technology, or even the approach.  This means logical and physical architecture, interface designs, database schemas, provisioning mechanisms, etc.  From here you can allocate and plan for the resources you’ll require.  You just need to stick to the plan, and things will be fine.

2.Jumping too quickly into the technology 

Techies love technology, but not so much when it comes to design and planning.  They have a tendency to begin the project by evaluating and selecting the technology, and then they hope the requirements will fit into their technology selection.  While you can get lucky, chances are you’ll pick a technology or service provider that is less than optimal, or, worse, does not work.

Push the technology selection decisions down the road for when you completely understand your requirements (see my previous suggestion).  By doing so, you’ll have a good foundation of understanding before you check out the various technologies that are on the market. 

3.No skills. 

Seems like a no-brainer, but many of those looking to build or migrate to cloud computing platforms will hire or leverage those who are not ready for the challenge.  Thus, the project makes one bad decision after another due to the lack of experience and talent.  This is typically compounded by the fact that cloud computing is hot, and thus those that who work on the initial cloud computing projects are those who are more politically connected.  Those are not always the people you want on your first cloud computing project.

The best way to avoid this problem is to make sure you get the talent you need on the project, either by leveraging outside consultants or mentors, or by providing the right amount of training.  Just a bit more spending here will keep your project out of a world of hurt.

In many respects, there is no way to completely eliminate risk from these projects. However, with a few simple concepts, you can remove most of the issues that will quickly kill the project.  I hope you heed these warnings before you embark on the road to cloud computing.

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David S. Linthicum is a managing director and chief cloud strategy officer at Deloitte Consulting, and an internationally recognized industry expert and thought leader.

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