A cloud-first policy is like saying 'the answer's cloud, what's the question', says Ray Bricknell, managing director of Behind Every Cloud
Cloud-first policies are wrong, says Bricknell
Organisations which employ a cloud-first policy, where any new IT requirements will default to being hosted in the cloud unless there's a business reason not to, are wrong.
That's the opinion of Ray Bricknell, managing director of consultancy Behind Every Cloud, speaking at a recent web seminar from V3's sister title Computing called 'Cloud mix and match, getting the balance right'.
"I disagree with any organisation that takes a cloud-first policy," said Bricknell. "It's lke saying 'the answer's cloud what's the question?'"
One high-profile organisation to have adopted such a policy is the UK government, who announced its cloud-first intentions in 2013.
And recent research from Computing found that 20 per cent of UK-based firms are currently pursuing a cloud-first strategy. By 2019, this is anticipated to rise to 40 per cent.
Bricknell added that in his opinion cloud isn't necessarily the best choice for hosting applications, storing data or running services.
"It's not true that cloud is always the best and most cost-effective way to do something. The question should be: what are you trying to achieve? IT should get back to that level of questioning," Bricknell argued.
Jon Forster, global programme director at Fitness First was also on the panel. He agreed with Bricknell, but added that a cloud-first policy can work "if there's a sound strategy behind it," in other words, if cloud is used for a reason, not just by default.
The panel also discussed the way IT commonly puts business cases together for new technology investments or strategies. Bricknell criticised the idea that IT could formulate a business case in isolation, then take it to the business for approval only once fully formed.
"If you get to the point of saying 'I have my business case, and now I need to take it to the business and ask them to sign it off', you're a bit late," he said. "At that point you've not enaged them as you've already gone quite far down the road. By the time you've created the business case you should already have engaged with them. You should be saying 'I'm doing this because you're going to need it'. If you don't have a business person with you as you're creating it, it's going to fail," Bricknell argued.
He added that in his opinion, the decision as to whether to use the cloud should come down to a pure decision about where a system will work the best for the business.
"You have to look at the best execution location for your workload. What's the workload? What are the attributes of that workload, in terms of scalability, privacy, compliance, variability? Once you know that, then you can determine where it's run. And then that dictates the business case," he said.