5 Things You Should Do to Level Up Your Cloud Strategy

Companies that rely on multiple clouds for agile, efficient data access and analysis need solid cloud strategies that meet their specific needs, outline beneficial tools, and reduce overall costs without limiting innovation.

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A robust cloud strategy is essential in the cloud-first world of today. With the endless technologies and applications available, the right strategy enables organizations to clarify and outline their specific needs and identify tools to help advance their overall goals.  

Leaders who develop effective cloud strategies avoid getting caught up in each new feature and product update to maintain streamlined clouds and prevent substantial monthly bills. As companies rely on multiple clouds to be agile and efficient, cloud strategies are even more vital to minimize overall costs without compromising innovation. 

To get an accurate look at how top organizations organize and deploy their cloud strategy, we partnered with the Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) to conduct a global web survey of 500 global IT and data analytics leaders and published the findings in The Multicloud Maturity Report. We asked senior industry leaders in mid-sized to larger companies about their cloud strategy, data management, and how it impacted their organizations. We found that how leaders handle their data is crucial to organizational success. It affects profits, meeting budgetary goals, and even company valuation. 

Leaders must continue to refine their cloud capabilities to provide strategic impact, enhance their operating model, and foster innovation. Here are the five things top organizations do to level up their cloud strategies and get the most from their data costs you can start copying today. 

#1: Leverage Predictive Third-Party Cloud Cost Tools 

Most IT leaders are concerned about their budgets as organizations look to tighten their belts and cut excessive spending. In fact, a survey from ITPro Today found that 45% of tech leaders stated their companies were cutting their 2023 budgets. Understanding and predicting costs upfront is critical to ensure data costs stay under control before investing time and money into new solutions and applications. 

Predicting the total cost of data is challenging for most organizations, especially in a multicloud environment with many moving parts at stake. High egress fees and commitments make it costly to move data, and other data-related costs are unpredictable. Many leaders find budgeting nearly impossible, from data growth to hidden fees and unexpected expenses. In our survey, 79% of leaders said that budgeting and forecasting were extremely challenging. It makes anticipating costs difficult and significantly impacts multicloud freedom as organizations cannot afford to move data from cloud to cloud. 

While many organizations face these challenges, predicting costs and getting realistic assessments do not have to be a mystery. A third-party cloud cost tool is critical to understanding and anticipating the total cost of cloud resources. Predictive tools provide leaders with realistic insights that drive accurate decision-making and ensure they forecast and budget correctly. That is why leading organizations were more likely to say they leverage third-party cloud estimation tools every time they make a data placement decision. 

#2: Evaluate Deployment Criteria 

Moving applications is a costly and complicated process. It provides many complex challenges for IT leaders, and not all emerging technologies deliver on their great promises for organizations. It is up to leadership to perform sufficient analysis upfront to identify whether the application will deliver on expectations. 

Before making the efforts to deploy applications, evaluate across multiple requirements so that you know what the user experience will be. Some criteria to measure include: 

  • Performance
  • Data mobility
  • API
  • Availability
  • User network bandwidth

While performance and bandwidth usually weigh heavily in decision-making, considering multiple requirements is vital for ensuring the application is suited to company goals and keeping down unexpected costs. Our research revealed that leading organizations evaluated twice as many deployment criteria than less developed ones. In particular, they were more likely to consider availability and API requirements.  

Moving applications can be a strategic way to increase the value of your data but performing the right due diligence before moving can keep you from making a crucial mistake. 

#3: Monitor Application Characteristics 

Enhancing your cloud strategy is about continuing to challenge your operating model and improving it even after implementation. An efficient cloud strategy continues once applications are up and running. It requires regular monitoring to ensure that environmental requirements and capabilities stay the same. 

Leaders that monitor their multicloud environment ensure that it continues to run optimally and are less likely to be surprised by unexpected changes. Our research found that the top leader organizations monitored almost double the number of application characteristics over the less mature organizations. Just a few of the application characteristics they observed include: 

  • Performance
  • API
  • User network bandwidth
  • Availability
  • Data mobility

Beyond additional characteristics, top organizations were far more likely to monitor user network capabilities. Leaders must monitor the application and user environment to create the optimal user experience. 

#4: Prioritize Tools in Addition to Training for Investments 

Training and awareness plans are critical for ensuring efficient use of the cloud, but there are other investments organizations need to prioritize in their cloud strategies. The right tools are vital to an enhanced cloud strategy. For example, comprehensive visibility in a multicloud environment can only be achieved with the right technology. Tools will ensure that your organization effectively manages your cloud costs and provide critical insights. 

Storage platforms are another example of vital tools that help organizations increase their agility and work effectively across different clouds. Effective storage platforms enable organizations to retain and access all the essential data it collects. Without the right storage tools, businesses are forced to throw some of it away to make room because they cannot move it to the right datacenter or cloud to process. Crucial information is lost, and leaders cannot harness the full potential of their data. Scalable and vendor-agnostic storage tools give businesses full access to their data whenever and wherever they need it. 

Tools are typically what separates the high performers from those who still struggle to make the most of their cloud spend. Our survey found that most organizations invest about the same in training and additional staff. However, leader organizations tended to invest more in cross-environment compatible tools and technology that fueled better insights, automation, and storage over smaller companies. 

#5: Automate Security and Protection 

Cloud security is a serious focus for most companies as they become more vulnerable to a breach. The Thales Global Cloud Security Study found that 40% of organizations experienced a cloud breach in the past 12 months. Continuous security must be a priority, but that is a burden on personnel. Automation is a critical tool to enhance security in the cloud and protect the entire IT cloud landscape across the organization. It reduces the burden on IT security teams, and organizations benefit from increased agility and accelerated operations. 

Leaders in top organizations revealed that they automated over twice as many security functions as those with less developed cloud strategies and outcomes. Some of the processes top organizations automate include data flows, the protection of data, provisioning and updating end-user permission, and enforcing data security. 

Enhance your cloud strategy.

In the current uncertain tech environment, many leaders need to find ways to cut costs without compromising data-driven innovation and progress. The top organizations give great insights into how to level up your cloud strategy to help you become more agile and lower monthly expenses. From investing in the right tools to emphasizing multicloud freedom to evaluating and monitoring characteristics, they provide powerful clues to what is critical to a cloud strategy. 

To get more insights into creating an effective multicloud strategy, download The Multicloud Maturity Report.


[1] Eddy, N. (2022). IT burnout, budget cuts concern tech leaders heading into 2023. Retrieved from https://www.itprotoday.com/it-operations-and-management/it-burnout-budget-cuts-concern-tech-leaders-heading-2023

[2] Henriquez, M. (2021). 40% of organizations have suffered a cloud-based data breach. Retrieved from https://www.securitymagazine.com/articles/96412-40-of-organizations-have-suffered-a-cloud-based-data-breach