There are a number of contributing factors towards the eventual success of cloud adoption. The cloud architect is paramount to the eventual success of cloud adoption.

Cloud computing is showing no signs of slowing down. Spending in public cloud services is predicted to reach $260.2 billion in 2017, an 18.5% increase in U.S. dollars (18.9% in constant currency). In addition to this, it is growing more than five times faster than growth in IT spending across all categories. Organisations must realise that the complexities of cloud adoption will continue to provide challenges with regard to successfully adopting cloud computing.

The implementation of cloud computing is multidimensional and must be run as a multi-year programme, as opposed to a fixed-duration project.  What’s more, reliable, scalable solutions do not come about from ad hoc, simple projects. Cloud adoption is a hugely complex issue, and as such requires a strong architectural leader that will take executive vision and oversee the entire cloud adoption process.

A number of organisations are likely already utilising cloud computing in some capacity, but the technical architects may not feel ready for the adoption that is occurring. There are several possible explanations for this lack of preparedness, but it often arises from organisations beginning their cloud adoption through ad hoc processes. This ultimately leads to issues, frustrations, duplicate work cycles, general inefficiencies or inappropriate use that puts the company at risk. In order to overcome the issues that stem from ad hoc adoption, an architect must be placed in charge of the cloud programme.

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But what exactly is a cloud architect? A cloud architect is responsible for the entirety of cloud computing initiatives within an organisation, as well as directing the architectural aspects of a cloud brokering team across all aspects of IT and the business. They must not only evangelise, strategise and delegate, he or she must also architect, design, facilitate, lead and direct cloud initiatives on multiple fronts.

There are no set responsibilities for a cloud architect. They may shift from day to day, and may vary from organisation to organisation. As the cloud computing market matures and the organisation improves its cloud adoption, the cloud architect will also be required to adapt and support the tasks and projects in front of them. They cannot possibly hope to act as an adequate consultant for businesses without staying up-to-date on the latest trends and issues. That being said, there are three main tasks that the cloud architect is currently responsible for.

1. Ingraining a Cloud Adoption Culture into an Organisation Successfully

Organisations recognise just how vital it is to have a “cloud-first” strategy. But no matter how good the strategy is a company won’t achieve anything if its culture doesn’t include a sound understanding of the cloud and all that it can offer. It is the job of the cloud architect to inspire a new culture and influence a change in behaviour toward the adoption and consumption of cloud services. By changing behaviour in the necessary way, organisations can expect to see a culture that embraces cloud services as the primary, prioritised and promoted approach.

2. Develop and Coordinate Cloud Architecture

A further priority for the cloud architect is to develop and coordinate cloud architecture across a variety of disparate areas within the organisation. This can range from user experience to application development, for example. A focused cloud architect must work to closely coordinate the architecture changes to all of these areas. This does not mean that they dictate or implement all of these changes and entirely reshape the business. Rather, it means that they must build relationships with the functional architects in each area to influence each toward the necessary changes.

3. Design a Cloud Strategy and Coordinate Adoption

While a cloud-first strategy certainly places the cloud within the heart of an organisation, it doesn’t necessarily mean “cloud-always”.  After all, there will be certain scenarios in which cloud services may not be the best approach. It is the responsibility of the cloud architect to recognise such situations and convey their thoughts to the company. The way in which the cloud architect will do this is by creating a cloud adoption process to coordinate and align adoption.

When an IT initiative shows signs of being challenging, but also fails to display any indications of slowing down, it is time to allocate people to the initiative. Cloud computing is one example of such an initiative, and therefore requires a cloud architect to help guide an organisation towards cloud computing success.  Moreover, the timing of this is crucial. It is far better if an organisation opts to architect complex IT initiatives as early as possible. This is because it is much easier this way. If they choose to do it later down the line, they can encounter problems in the form of existing or in-flight projects.

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