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A Guide to the AWS Cloud Adoption Framework

AWS Cloud Adoption Framework is a great way to speed up your organization's cloud adoption, and ensure your architecture is built on a strong foundation.

6 min read
A Guide to the AWS Cloud Adoption Framework

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Do you want to migrate your company to the cloud but you're not sure how?

Cloud adoption is increasing, with 60% of organizations predicted to use cloud managed services by 2022. The cloud computing market is set to reach $354.6 billion over the next few years. Yet, many businesses don't know how to plan and implement a cloud computing strategy.

Amazon makes this process less painful with its AWS Cloud Adoption Framework (CAF).

This article examines the AWS CAF and how it benefits any size or type of business to use cloud computing.

Discover how the CAF helps assess your needs and develop the correct workstreams to match your goals. Learn how the CAF gives guidance in identifying gaps in processes and skills. Become aware of the six perspectives that identify responsibilities.

Read on to explore what the Amazon's Cloud Adoption Framework is and how to make your cloud migration plan successful.

What Is Cloud Adoption?

A cloud adoption journey is the process whereby companies benefit from cloud computing by migrating to those systems.

Migration can take several forms, from moving data to object stores like AWS S3 to running SaaS apps online.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a leading provider of cloud computing services. It provides over 200 products that businesses can access from its global data centers. Millions of customers from startups to enterprises use the AWS platform daily to fulfill their cloud architecture requirements.

Benefits of Cloud Adoption

Why migrate internal systems to the cloud? Here's a list of the top benefits:

  • Reduced costs - lower on-premises hardware and maintenance costs by 31%
  • Robust and scalable - Robust and scalable - As a top public cloud provider, Amazon's systems cover the world and scale to suit demand
  • Compliance and security - security is built into all of AWS services
  • Faster innovations - create applications directly within your cloud environment

Pilotcore offers an AWS cost optimization service that lowers your bill even more. That gives an added incentive to migrate to the cloud.

Cloud Adoption Issues

What are the barriers that limit more companies from adopting a cloud strategy?

According to a publication by ResearchGate, seven main concerns may prevent a business from investing in the cloud:

  1. Outage/availability
  2. Security
  3. Performance
  4. Compliance
  5. Private cloud concerns
  6. Integration
  7. Costs

Some of these are more applicable to medium and large businesses, but all types have one common issue - a lack of knowledge on how best to migrate.

What is AWS Cloud Adoption Framework?

Amazon recognizes that moving existing practices and systems to their platform is challenging.

Their solution was to create a structure for business to follow. It would highlight the roles required to migrate to the cloud successfully. It would also showcase the different core perspectives or stakeholders responsible for the shift.

The result is AWS Cloud Adoption Framework.

AWS CAF Overview

The CAF's goal is to create an efficient and effective plan for adopting cloud successfully.

The framework provides guidance and offers best practices across an organization and its IT lifecycle. It attempts to do this as fast as possible while mitigating risk.

Amazon achieves this through 4 sequential phases:

1. Envision Phase

The Envisioning workshop builds a foundation for the strategy by conceptualizing future deployment. It identifies key measures, connects goals to the right technologies, and prioritizes initiatives.

Values must remain measurable to quantify performance and other benefits after migration. This measurability ensures that you implemented the correct strategy through a series of key performance indicators (KPIs).

2. Align Phase

This workshop aims to create an executable action plan by drawing together all affected parties.

It does this by identifying the stakeholders within the organization and their objectives. It also establishes the correct approach and provides transparency on how the process will occur.

3. Launch Phase

AWS CAF then develops workstreams or core areas of activities in the adoption plan.

These facilitate cloud deployment production as well as the execution of cloud projects. Any stakeholder concerns get addressed in this phase, along with using the cloud to increase business outcomes and business agility.

4. Evaluation Phase

Once deployed, this iterative or cyclical phase continually evaluates the cloud strategy.

It ensures the plan still aligns with the proposed outcomes from phase 1 and addresses any concerns. It also identifies any further cloud projects that could benefit the organization.

AWS CAF Core Perspectives

Central to the Cloud Adoption Framework are perspectives.

These areas of focus create workstreams to identify issues in existing processes or skillsets. They align with specific stakeholders, and Amazon identifies six core perspectives:

Each perspective builds a set of responsibilities and describes how they relate to the broader cloud adoption plan. We've outlined the main areas and their roles below.

Business Perspective

This perspective attempts to integrate different IT and business strategies into one. Its Agile approach ensures that stakeholders can adjust outcomes as required.

The Business Perspective includes finance managers, budget owners, and business managers.

It addresses IT budgets and how they align with cloud services, and why a cloud approach is cost-effective. And it also looks at risk management and the potential financial impact of preventable hazards.

People Perspective

HR and personnel managers fall under the People Perspective. Their role prepares team members for adopting cloud through staff training and updating skills.

Capabilities include forecasting cloud-specific challenges and organizational processes change management.

People remain at the core of migrating to the cloud, so this perspective ensures their concerns get addressed. It covers career management as it relates to using cloud systems and incentive schemes for new personnel.

Governance Perspective

This perspective combines IT Governance with Organizational Governance. It gives guidance on how to develop an AWS cloud governance model and support business processes using cloud technology.

Stakeholders include project managers, business analysts, and program managers.

Aligned with this perspective is the desire to manage projects using proven cloud solutions. That includes the procurement and distribution of licensing for systems and software.

Platform Perspective

This area focuses on AWS architecture and how to best implement and optimize it.

CTOs, Solution Architects, and IT managers fall into this group. Their job is to define and describe cloud architecture and move existing systems onto those platforms.

Security Perspective

Compliance and security initiatives form a fundamental part of a successful cloud adoption journey. User authentication and authorization must remain secure when migrating to the cloud.

The Security Perspective helps to identify these controls and processes.

It ensures the correct regulatory obligations are met along with best practices. Incident response methodologies are defined by these stakeholders too.

Operations Perspective

The Operations Perspective defines current operating procedures and how they relate to migration.

The role helps to understand and update all necessary skills to make sure the adoption process works correctly. Service monitoring ensures that existing SLAs are maintained. And application monitoring checks that all apps remain healthy while migrating.

Building a Cloud Adoption Plan with AWS CAF

This approach provides a clear pathway for you to create an AWS CAF action plan for your business.

All of the associated perspectives mentioned above join together to have their say. A series of questions helps address each part of the plan so that all stakeholders' concerns get addressed.

Once again, Amazon offers assistance when building your plan through its AWS Cloud Adoption Readiness Tool (CART).

AWS Cloud Adoption Readiness Tool

CART asks sixteen questions through an online survey and produces a report based on the six perspectives.

The report produces a heatmap and a radar chart along with scoring data and links to resources. Scores in green indicate you're ready to migrate within that perspective. Yellow means more work's required.

The radar chart indicates the strengths and weaknesses of each perspective, marking them from 0 to 80.

The heatmap shows blocks of topics per perspective, such as Change Management for the People Perspective. Green means you can migrate, while yellow highlights potential problem areas.

The questions cover a wide range of topics, with some examples including:

  • Has your company identified specific business reasons for moving to the cloud?
  • Have you implemented an organizational change management plan for cloud adoption?
  • Does the organization have at least 12-months of experience with Agile Frameworks?

Each question is designed for a particular perspective. A list of recommended actions is included at the end of each section. That includes common stakeholders who should be involved.

AWS CAF Reviews

Amazon has produced a range of whitepapers that outline AWS CAF benefits, including its speedy migration process.

You can download them to a Kindle device or follow the links to save them as PDFs. However, reading the reviews on the product pages gives an excellent insight into the service itself.

A whitepaper entitled 'An Overview of the AWS Cloud Adoption Framework' averages 4.4 stars. Comments are generally positive, both about the whitepaper and AWS CAF.

Yet, one major issue that persists for small and medium-sized businesses is a lack of cloud knowledge.

Even with the Cloud Adoption Framework and Readiness tool, companies still need assistance. They require advice on perspectives and migration issues. And they need a team of experts to explain some of the cloud-centric technical terms.

Pilotcore Is Your Cloud Adoption Partner

The CAF brings together all the elements you need to migrate to the cloud.

By identifying the different roles and perspectives, migration becomes easier to strategize. It's an excellent platform for planning your IT future. Yet, it still requires a certain level of skill and foresight to be fully effective.

Pilotcore is a Canadian AWS consulting partner that specializes in planning cloud adoption for global startups and SMEs.

Our team have expert knowledge of architecting cloud environments and the AWS Well Architected Framework, including security and compliance. We help companies of all sizes plan to migrate to the cloud.

We make that cloud journey seamless through initial assessments, strategizing, implementing, and ongoing support.

Learn more about our services to see how Pilotcore's experience can help you take full advantage of the cloud.

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