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The CIO cloud blueprint: A strategic planning guide

In this CIO Essential Guide, learn how to craft an enterprise cloud blueprint that supports your organization's software and infrastructure needs.


Implementing cloud computing technologies is no longer a question of "if" for enterprise CIOs, but of "when" and "how." Employees, customers and clients want immediate access to business applications, platforms and corporate infrastructure from their office computers, laptops and mobile devices to make working in the 21st century seamless and efficient, and the cloud can provide that and more.

But making best use of the cloud can be complicated. IT leaders crafting a cloud blueprint must decide between public, private or hybrid cloud models and then ask whether software as a service, infrastructure as a service, platform as a service and other such offerings would best align with their company's strategic direction. In this CIO Essential Guide, get integration advice from cloud-first CIOs and expert cloud advocates in order to set your cloud blueprint in motion.

This strategic planning guide on tailoring a cloud blueprint to your organization is part of the CIO Briefings series, which is designed to give IT leaders strategic management and decision-making advice on timely topics.

1Create a plan-

Unlock a strategic direction for cloud

Enterprise cloud management isn't as simple as choosing the first vendor to pitch you, selecting an offering and then letting the technology do all the work. Before reaching the "choose a vendor" stage, IT organizations must establish a strategic direction for their cloud implementation by asking, "What business value should cloud computing offer our company?" These pieces from SearchCIO answer that all-important question.


The 2014 cloud blueprint favors end-to-end implementation

Piecemeal cloud implementations come and go but a strategic direction is forever (or at least until the next cloud innovation on the horizon). Find out how one organization made the move to a data center-less IT infrastructure. Continue Reading


Cloud strategies feature a new focus on security

With the cloud going mainstream, CIOs must ensure that they are provisioning services that are productive, cost-efficient and perhaps above all else secure, with CIOs looking for ways to encrypt their data even before it reaches their cloud service. Continue Reading


A cloud-first mentality steers IT centralization

When CIO Steve Cawley was hired two years ago, the University of Miami undertook an effort to centralize IT service management and transform into a cloud-first organization. In this SearchCIO Innovator profile, the university's deputy CIO, Brad Rohrer, discusses how the school turned a decentralized IT delivery system into a centralized strategy. Continue Reading


Cloud and SaaS success drive university forward

In part two of our profile of Brad Rohrer's cloud computing efforts, the deputy CIO examines what the future holds for the university's cloud-first philosophy, how cloud projects are progressing and how university researchers are reaping the benefits. Continue Reading


Improve and innovate with cloud computing

"Cloud computing is ideally positioned to become a significant catalyst of business model innovation," says CIO columnist Harvey Koeppel. "CIOs and their IT staff need to be thinking about how to leverage cloud computing to increase the value of their IT investments." In this piece, Koeppel examines the ways in which cloud can move business forward. Continue Reading


Cloud computing advice straight from the pros

Is your organization hoping to weave cloud computing services seamlessly into business operations? In these videos from SearchCIO sister sites and, glean some CIO-relevant pointers for public, private and hybrid cloud integration on the enterprise scale.


Find your perfect hybrid cloud provider

In this webcast from, learn what questions to ask before selecting a provider. The webcast covers cloud pricing, interoperability, data security policies, service-level agreements and more.


Cloud technologies: More than just a game

If you've ever played FarmVille, CityVille, Words With Friends, Draw Something -- really any game on Facebook or mobile that allows you to play along with others -- you're likely familiar with Zynga, a provider of social game services. A former Zynga CTO of infrastructure engineering offers cloud lessons in this sit-down interview.


Best practices for cloud data integration

Does your company have a cloud computing platform initiative? Jeffrey M. Kaplan, managing director at cloud consulting firm THINKstrategies, explains the latest trends in cloud and offers advice on cloud data integration in this webcast.

3Pick a model, any model-

Find the ideal cloud infrastructure for your organization

When it comes to implementing cloud technologies, is your IT organization comfortable hosting certain enterprise infrastructure in the cloud, prepared for a loss of full control over certain business applications, collaboration tools, client personally identifiable information and databases, and willing to pay for these hosted or hybrid services? Finding the right cloud computing model -- one that both fits your organization's needs and leaves you feeling secure -- is no easy task. The advice in these SearchCIO stories can ease your attendant cloud concerns.


Exploiting cloud for business gains, not layoffs

Finding the right cloud computing model in business is tricky and often sends IT staff into frenzy over the future of their careers. In the feature story, contributing writer Dina Gerdeman explores how organizations are harnessing the power of cloud computing and freeing up IT staff to work on strategic projects. Continue Reading


Electronic Arts proves refining cloud is not wasted time

"What you figure out over time is that Amazon becomes like a drug," says former Electronic Arts Inc. CIO Mark Tonnesen. "We decided that we had learned a lot and we could go build our own private cloud and maybe do it cheaper." In part two of this feature on architecting business models for the new millennium, find out how the game maker handled its move to the cloud. Continue Reading


The upsides and caveats of pursuing a hybrid cloud strategy

Ready to tackle cloud computing but not quite ready to give your data center the heave-ho? This tip examines the drivers behind a hybrid cloud strategy and provides a comprehensive rundown of the best IT tools for the job. Continue Reading


Cloud strategy: Tech hats off, business minds engaged

Business strategist Harvey Koeppel suggests that viewing cloud as a technology is the wrong path to take, paved with misinformation and false assumptions. In this CIO Matters column, Koeppel sets guidelines for how to view the cloud as the business does in order to deliver top-level organizational value. Continue Reading


Fourteen questions to guide business-oriented cloud conversations

Is your IT organization asking the right questions about cloud computing in conversations with business-minded partners? Koeppel provides 14 alternative ways for CIOs and their teams to discuss cloud computing strategies with those outside IT, complete with helpful graphic. Continue Reading


Need-to-know terms for crafting a cloud blueprint

Prior to finalizing your enterprise's cloud blueprint and strategy, familiarize yourself with these oft-misinterpreted cloud-related terms.

5Integrate with ease-

Implement cloud technologies, but pay mind to risk

Once you've established a blueprint for your enterprise's cloud strategy and selected the appropriate services to suit your organization's needs, it's finally time to integrate. Whether IT decides to host cloud services publicly or privately, there's a sky-high number of considerations to assess. In this section, our recent news stories and expert columns provide pointers on getting cloud implementation right the first time, and keeping them running smoothly thereafter.


The inherent integration challenges of hybrid cloud deployment

Why do many IT leaders opt for a hybrid cloud approach? What questions should CIOs ask when considering hybrid cloud? In this Q&A, Gartner Inc. research vice president Chris Wolf shares his expert take on hybrid vs. an all-out move to the cloud, and dispels some myths while he's at it. Continue Reading


Cloud is disruptive, but good for the business

Don't let disruption get you down: In this column, CIO strategist Harvey Koeppel traces the history of disruptive technologies and explains why integrating cloud computing into your IT and business strategy is a must. Continue Reading


Avoid complexity in legacy and cloud implementation

Has the difficulty of integrating legacy systems with new cloud solutions caused you to wrestle some applications back into your data center? In this piece, CTO Niel Nickolaisen tells his peers to keep it simple when integrating legacy systems with new cloud solutions. Continue Reading


Five tips for implementing cloud-first

A "cloud-first" strategy calls for strong security. In this Data Mill column, Nicole Laskowski reports from a Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council seminar on securing data, availability and reputation in the cloud, where attendees pointed to the importance of long-term strategic planning and contract review. Continue Reading


Biggest cloud integration challenges? Speed of change, for one

When asked about their biggest CIO challenges, moving to the cloud ranks right up there with such CIOO headaches as mastering change management and providing stellar customer service. In this CIO Snapshot, we look at why the shifting cloud industry causes such consternation for CIOs, and how they can overcome these hang-ups. Continue Reading


Cloud computing examples, advantages and challenges for CIOs

Many CIOs remain leery about making the cloud computing leap, given the challenges inherent in moving business applications and infrastructure to an off-site provider, or building one's own cloud infrastructure. There's also a fear among some in IT that a cloud-centric world might be their professional undoing.

Take this quiz, based on SearchCIO's recent cloud computing coverage, to help inform your decision as you consider moving none, some or perhaps even all of your IT infrastructure and applications to the cloud.

Check your cloud IQ

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