No More Proof of Concept! Define, Align, Ascend Instead.

No More Proof of Concept! Define, Align, Ascend Instead.

Posted by Robert Koury


Jan 05, 2017



At Vertical Trail, we see our clients continually reviewing and assessing the relevance and performance of new tools and technologies, especially around cloud adoption.  Companies often believe that building a Proof of Concept (POC) is a necessary starting point for determining whether a new technology can live up to its marketing promise.  For 2017, we say: no more cloud POCs!  The jury has reached a verdict: the cloud works, and not just for specific markets.  All industries – regardless of scale and volume, or of security and compliance needs – can benefit from the cloud.

Vertical Trail has been an integral partner in the implementation of many successful, productive cloud solutions.  We have seen firsthand the many ways in which cloud facilitates the concurrent integration of many technologies to provide robust solutions.  While it’s true that effectively introducing cloud computing to an existing environment requires big-picture consideration of many components across the IT estate (e.g., virtual environments, security, disaster recovery, automation, DevOps, change management, etc.), the fact that the cloud works – and works more economically and securely than traditional infrastructure – no longer requires proof.

To date, there have been thousands of successful cloud deployments throughout all industries, and while technological validation is still an essential component of the adoption process in many other IT decisions, AWS has proved a de facto business case for cloud.  The question is no longer whether or not to use it, but what to use it for, and how to take quick advantage of the benefits while avoiding the known pitfalls.

In numerous deployments, Vertical Trail has observed that the most important component of a successful cloud strategy is not the technology itself, but the solution’s alignment with the organization’s core values and key drivers.  When cloud adoptions fail, they fail because there is no quantified value… or they lack executive sponsorship… or they have an absence of project support…  or they need overarching justification… the list goes on!  This trend of not aligning solutions to business values / drivers accelerates as the need for adoption grows more urgent – especially in organizations that do not have the support of skilled resources with in-depth cloud knowledge and experience at hand.

We help our clients assess and quantify the value of their operational requirements – a key step in ensuring proper alignment and a solid foundation for success in the cloud. We pay close attention to advanced technical and operational factors, and help you answer questions such as:

  • How will this cloud solution work in our complex production environment
  • How can we take advantage of the scalability and flexibility without losing control?
  • How can we design a cloud solution to grow with a changing IT environment?
  • How should we synergize the adoption of cloud with existing IT investments and programs?

Another important step is ensuring that organizational misconceptions about the cloud are dispelled, and that skilled resources are available to identify – and gain or provide insight into – crucial areas such as:

  • Security and compliance
  • Business objectives and how the cloud will address those obligations
  • Proper designing and planning requirements

Through our numerous experiences helping organizations achieve their successful cloud adoptions, we have developed a proven framework for optimizing cloud solution deployment: the Cloud Ascend Adoption Framework (CAAF).  We’ve dropped the POC from our offerings entirely, and exclusively use our CAAF to develop manageable, production-ready pieces of functionality that achieve real business value.  Our CAAF then incorporates those functional components into a wider cloud strategy that provides continued value throughout the entire adoption process.

Vertical Trail’s CAAF is a robust and detailed framework with three distinct phases – DEFINE | ALIGN | ASCEND – that helps organizations move through the process of adopting cloud technologies, from inception to operation.

  • The process starts with DEFINE.  We gain deep understanding of the existing environment, not just around functionality and technologies, but with respect to the unique goals and drivers of the organization.  As we have seen, understanding how these components work together – and their potential areas of impact – is a critical step in a successful adoption strategy.
  • The next step is to ALIGN the current state to the target environment, determining how the new environment will function in production and how resources will be allocated, and doing all of the technical and operational planning necessary to transition from the current state to the target.
  • We then begin to ASCEND, with the implementation of the envisioned environment and solutions, and knowledge transfer to the on-site teams.

The Vertical Trail CAAF identifies and creates manageable, valuable pieces of capability for immediate business returns, then employs these capabilities in a broader cloud strategy with long-term value. The Vertical Trail process saves the time and money that would be wasted on a redundant POC.  The CAAF takes your cloud strategy from obvious (i.e., how technology works, period) to unstoppable: how technology works to further your success.


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