What should be included and how to manage it?

What should be included and how to manage it?

With increasingly complex computing workloads moving to the cloud, the question everyone is asking is:How much is it going to cost me?

At the beginning of a cloud journey, organizations start with designing a small-scale concept based on how they might approach running their cloud-native applications. Considerations include the use of virtual machines, containers, and serverless applications, or combinations of all three. Expanding this line of thought further, many will wonder how scalability, security, and high availability should be designed in, before finalizing the approach to monitoring, continuous delivery, and load testing.

Cost considerations

The first stage of the technical design process for the cloud is to analyze all associated cost considerations; All major public cloud providers offer a budget calculator to estimate the cost of using their services.

You should already have a first stage technical design, and this will inform the different application environments that are required for the solution. However, before any new or updated application is released to the public, there must be an internal environment running the updated version for testing by the development team. While development environments tend to be smaller in scale compared to the final “live” production environment, they help organizations begin to understand their budget needs from an infrastructure perspective.

Once the technical overview of the first stage is in place, the next stage is to understand how large the engineering team needs to be. It is very important to assemble an engineering team that is large enough and has the right skills to help deliver the project on time. As the engineering team grows, so will the budget needed to support the project. The overall goal of putting together a focused engineering team is not to overwhelm them with a huge amount of work, but to take on a consistent and balanced workload. It is also vital to set aside a budget dedicated to team building, in order to provide team members with the time and space to develop their technical skills. In today’s rapidly evolving and expanding technology environment, this is now even more important than ever.

Don’t forget to outsource…

The final step in meeting the budget needs of a project is outsourcing. In conjunction with the in-house application development team, in some cases it may be necessary to contact a trusted and experienced third party for guidance and support. This support can range from ongoing application development, cloud infrastructure, or security verification. In most projects, the core engineering team does not have all the skills necessary to develop, deploy, and maintain a cloud application.

The most common problem many organizations face is keeping their data secure. It is of vital importance for all major organizations – whether in banking, insurance, or any industry dealing with sensitive data – that their infrastructure and public web-facing applications are properly protected. In most cases, an internal development team may not have access to a security team with the appropriate skills to verify application protection standards. This is a good opportunity to contact an experienced third party, who can support the project with web application security and can sign off on security standards before going public. Not building the right engineering team or getting the right expertise from a third party will quickly expose any flaws in forecasting the agreed upon cloud budget.

Cloud Cost Journey Review

Now we’ve looked at what should be included in your journey to the cloud. It begins with creating an initial small-scale concept of the infrastructure needs for the application. Then review the different environments for the app, to allow the development team to freely test updated versions of the app before releasing it to the public or end users.

The next step is to build the right engineering team and find the best approach for your business. This may well include the ability to use third parties for assistance, depending on application development, skills and timelines required.

We have seen that the cost considerations of the journey to the cloud break down into two distinct elements; pay for the infrastructure used by the application and budget for the engineering team. It is important to distribute the management of these two elements to the right people.

Your responsibility to get it right

The person who directs and manages how the budget is spent on cloud infrastructure It has to be someone in regular contact with the accounting team, such as a project manager or product owner. Those operating in such a role can share regular feedback on how the budget is being used and identify if the project is overspending in any area.

The other aspect of the budgeting process is ensuring that the project has an engineering team of the right size and with the right skills. This boils down to the right hiring processes, ensuring that the engineers brought onto a project have the right skill set and are the right “cultural fit” to create a motivated and effective team. Finally, outsourcing should be considered, where bringing in experienced talent can help speed up the project, particularly where the time to hire a technical skill set could delay the agreed project delivery date.

In conclusion…

We recognize that the journey to the cloud is complex and should be viewed as a strategic transformation. Change will always come at a cost, so organizations need to plan accordingly to ensure they don’t go over budget or face costly delays.

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