Cloud technologies provide extensive benefits for startups and growing businesses. Cost savings, scalability, agility, and modernization are among the advantages of cloud migration that open new opportunities. Business owners and decisions makers should understand that the benefits won't be immediate. Still, migrating a business or some processes to a cloud may be a game-changing decision in the long run.
Tips to Bootstrap Your Startup with Cloud
In this article, you will find some tips that hopefully will help in smart cloud implementation.
Make Flexibility and Productivity the Key Priorities
The opportunities and financial capabilities of a startup may be limited, and it may be essential to lay the groundwork for investment relying on a team's abilities only. Under such circumstances, flexibility and productivity should be the focus of changes. Give it in other words, startups should strive for efficiency of the processes, not a fast implementation of the cloud.
Migrating resources to the cloud can be complex. If you believe that quick migration is essential for optimizing the processes, you still shouldn’t rush. The migration is likely to cause maintenance issues and require staff training. Therefore, it may be more reasonable to implement changes gradually. In this case, a team will have an opportunity to set up everything correctly while the core functionality remains accessible and business processes keep going.
Know Your Options
Do your research and learn the basics – what types of cloud software are available and the difference between them. All cloud solutions are united under the umbrella term XaaS – ”something” as a service.
- SaaS – software as a service. Providers using this model offer host software on their service on a subscription basis. A company doesn’t need to install software on its side. Employees can access it via browsers after entering the credentials.
- PaaS – platform as a service. This model offers the lease of the development infrastructure for the complete SDLC. In addition to servers and hardware resources, companies can also rent middleware, such as development and database management tools, etc.
- IaaS – infrastructure as a service. It is an on-demand infrastructure used on a prepaid model and accessible over the internet instead of a data center. Using this solution, startups can avoid the pricey and tedious set-up of on-premises infrastructure.
Cloud models also differ in terms of deployment. With the private cloud, infrastructure is owned by a single business. In the public cloud model, services and infrastructure are shared by different organizations on a subscription basis. Finally, with the hybrid cloud model, a business gets the combination of the private and public cloud.
It is essential to scrutinize the pros and cons of each option, taking into consideration the risk and cost implications. Analyze everything carefully before making a decision. If you hire a specialist to assist in the cloud transformation, ask for explicit explanations so that you can understand the details.
Business Analysis Before Implementation
New initiatives should always be well-grounded. Implementing a cloud solution doesn’t mean success by default. Every element in the business infrastructure should have a purpose and cover a specific area. In other words, any changes should come only after careful analysis. A solution that works perfectly for your competitors or partners may not always work out for you.
This piece of advice may seem obvious, but still, excellent reviews and success stories can play head games with decision-makers, appealing to the emotional factor rather than encouraging them to do hard math. If you find it difficult to estimate the true value of the cloud solution for your startup, don’t hesitate to engage a qualified assistant.
A Business Analyst is a specialist that examines a company’s business processes in detail to detect areas for improvement, opportunities for scalability, and steps to take to achieve higher performance. In other words, a BA will help to create a well-defined strategy that explains the “why” and “how” part of cloud adoption. The strategy is essential for balancing the expected benefits with the possible risks.
Hiring another expert may seem like extra expenses for a startup. Nevertheless, it would be more cost-efficient than choosing the wrong solution. Besides, it is possible to hire a Business Analyst for one project only. Many QA companies can offer such an opportunity.
Always Test Custom Solutions
A custom software product is tailored to suit a company’s needs precisely. Developing such a product is unreasonable for a startup, but you may need to use a commercial solution enhanced with custom integrations.
Remember that even the smallest addition or alteration to software requires testing. Every component has a particular effect on the system as a whole, sometimes causing disturbing behavior. And if some features of the cloud don’t work as supposed, the efficiency is also affected.
So if you decide to customize the cloud a little bit, you will most likely need to run the following types of testing first:
- Functional testing to verify that the new feature works as expected.
- GUI testing to check the layout and functionality of the graphical elements.
- API testing to make sure the integration between the cloud and the other system has been successful.
- Performance testing to verify that the response time and other performance-related parameters are acceptable.
- Regression testing to check whether nothing has been broken because of the new integration.
Again, this task is better to entrust to a software testing company than developers or enthusiastic team members with non-technical expertise.
Don’t Neglect Pre-Migration Testing
The complexity of cloud architecture arises from its advanced opportunities. Accenture names sizing optimization, software design, resiliency, security, and performance among the main challenges of switching to the cloud. In fact, around 67% of companies have failed to detective the intended benefits due to some of those issues. All of the abovementioned issues are possible to detect and prevent during testing. A rigorous pre-migration testing and quality assurance will help to avoid post-migration difficulties and risks.
Consider Omni-Cloud Solutions
According to the Flexera 2021 State of the Cloud Report, 92% of enterprises have a multi-cloud strategy, and 82% have a hybrid cloud strategy. Put it another way, cloud strategy should be highly customized and not necessarily limited to one solution.
How can an omni-cloud strategy benefit a startup? All available services and models have different capabilities and performance. Therefore, you can build the combination that will work best for your particular case. Moreover, such a strategy works well for technical and financial risk mitigation. It becomes possible to distribute services across different cloud platforms to manage performance. At the same time, you have a backup: in case one of the elements doesn’t work out, there is no need to rebuild and migrate the whole infrastructure, only its part.
Unlike a popular belief, an omni-cloud solution isn’t necessarily the more expensive one. The industry is very competitive, and vendors come up with flexible pricing options to match different user expectations. Besides, the majority of products come with free trials so that the business can explore the benefits before a paid subscription.
Count the Risks and Prepare an Exit Strategy
First of all, it is important to choose a reliable provider (or providers if you decide to go with omnichannel infrastructure). Businesses should access the risks of utilizing resources from a non-approved or questionable provider. Lower prices can come at the expense of security breaches.
Then, decide how the company will provide consistency over the environments and services and organize their management. It is necessary to establish protections against the risks to data privacy, resource availability, etc. The strategies for on-premises and distributed systems will differ. Top-tier providers take clients’ security seriously, but it still remains the shared responsibility. Thus, a company will need to adjust the security strategy, taking cloud realities into account.
Finally, the excitement inspired by the advantages of the cloud a startup is about to experience shouldn’t make the team overconfident. Sometimes things don’t go as planned, even when a strategy seems perfect. Thus, it is crucial to consider data ownership, backup, and portability, in case the strategy changes on the way or a need to roll back the implementation arises.
To Sum Up
Lately, there has been a lot of talk about the cloud-native mindset – a new way to deliver products and services that moves beyond just migrating to a new environment. It means exploiting the core characteristics of the cloud solutions: a faster transformation of ideas into business results, along with scalability, elasticity, and resilience.
Cloud technologies aren’t a magical solution that can kick-start any business. However, they enable greater elasticity that is vital in today’s climate. Adopting cloud infrastructure for a startup means optimizing the processes in the long term. It also simplifies the data sharing, business processes management, and lays the foundation of future scalability. Just make sure that migration to the cloud is a calculated decision supported by a solid strategy. It is the only way for a startup to exploit all the known benefits to the fullest.