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Navigating Cloud Strategies: Cloud-Smart vs. Cloud-First

  • 9th November 2023

Written by Andréa Williams, Head of Marketing

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Businesses today recognise the importance of cloud strategies in digital transformation. To make the most informed decisions, you need to understand the two dominating cloud strategies: the “Cloud-First” approach and the “Cloud-Smart” approach. Both strategies come with advantages and challenges that can shape your organisation’s future, and determining the best one for your business is crucial.

Cloud-First Approach: The Cloud-First approach advocates an all-inclusive embrace of cloud technology. It focuses on cloud solutions as the primary option for hosting your data, applications, and services.

Cloud-Smart Approach: On the other hand, the Cloud-Smart approach is selective with cloud technology. This strategy is more critical, analysing your existing infrastructure and making decisions that align with your business objectives.

Why does it matter?

The coexistence of these two paradoxical approaches reflects the dynamic digital landscape. Choosing the right call for your business is more important than following a one-size-fits-all mindset. Here’s why the paradox matters:

  1. Customisation: Your business is unique with its own set of challenges and requirements, and blindly adopting either approach can mean ignoring your specific requirements that make your business work. Cloud-Smart recognizes that one-size-fits-all solutions aren’t always the best fit. This approach empowers you to customize your cloud strategy to align with your business’s specific goals.
  2. Cost Management: Not everything requires cloud storage. Embracing Cloud-First could mean unnecessary costs. With a Cloud-Smart approach, you have the flexibility to assess and allocate resources in a more cost-effective manner. Instead of moving everything to the cloud, you can be strategic about which workloads or data should reside in the cloud and which can stay on-premises. This approach minimises unnecessary cloud expenses and ensures that you spend your IT budget wisely.
  3. Scalability: One size does not fit all when it comes to scaling. Cloud-Smart allows you to scale your infrastructure efficiently based on your business needs. You can adapt to growth and evolving technology trends without overcommitting to cloud resources that may go underutilised.

Cloud-Smart over Cloud-First

Cloud-First may lead to overprovisioning and unnecessary cloud expenses, while Cloud-Smart is a more resource-efficient approach. Cloud-First offers rapid adoption and an update to modern technology, while the selective nature of the Cloud-Smart approach optimises costs and maintains legacy systems when necessary. It makes it simpler for your business to pivot and adapt as technology evolves, ensuring agility and flexibility.

Impact on Business Operations and Strategy

Adopting a Cloud-Smart approach provides a profound impact on business operations and strategy.

Operational Efficiency: By selectively adopting cloud solutions, you can streamline operations, reduce complexity, and optimise resource utilisation. This approach minimises disruptions during the transition to the cloud and ensures that the adoption of cloud technology doesn’t negatively impact your day-to-day operations.

Data Governance: Cloud-Smart ensures that your data is in the most secure and accessible location, improving compliance and governance. Keeping critical data on-premises, where you have full control over security and compliance, while still leveraging the cloud for less sensitive data or workloads. This is particularly important in regulated industries where data privacy and compliance are paramount.

Moving from On-Premise to Cloud, with Less Complexity

Moving from an on-premise solution to the cloud can vary in terms of ease and complexity depending on several factors, including the nature of your on-premise system, the cloud provider you choose, your organisation’s readiness, and the level of planning and preparation involved.

Why Cloud-Smart?

A Cloud-Smart approach simplifies the move from on-premise to the cloud by introducing a level of pragmatism, flexibility, and strategic planning that makes the transition smoother and more manageable. Here’s how it eases the process of moving from on-premise to the cloud:

  • Selective Migration: Cloud-Smart recognises that not everything needs to be moved to the cloud. It encourages organisations to be selective about what is migrated. By carefully assessing which workloads, data, or applications should be moved to the cloud and which should remain on-premises, organisations can reduce the complexity and risks associated with migration.
  • Hybrid Flexibility: Cloud-Smart embraces a hybrid cloud strategy. This means that organisations can gradually migrate workloads and data to the cloud without rushing into a full-scale migration. It allows for a gradual transition, where legacy systems can coexist with cloud resources, reducing the impact on business operations.
  • Operational Efficiency: By adopting a more selective and gradual migration strategy, organisations can maintain operational efficiency. There’s less disruption, and business operations can continue without major interruptions, which is particularly crucial for businesses with stringent uptime requirements.
  • Risk Mitigation: Cloud-Smart emphasises risk management. By not rushing into a full-scale migration, organisations can carefully plan and address potential risks associated with data security, application compatibility, and operational continuity.

Cloud Usage: The Numbers

  • 90% of enterprises expect increased cloud usage due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact.
  • Almost half of all organisations will focus on optimising their cloud costs through 2024.
  • The global hybrid cloud market is projected to reach $168.8 billion by 2026.
  • 96% of organisations use the cloud, with 57% using a hybrid strategy.
  • 41 % of EU enterprises used cloud computing in 2021, mostly for hosting their e-mail systems and storing files in electronic form.


Opting for the Cloud-Smart approach allows you to unlock cost savings, graceful migration, and strategic agility, ensuring the cloud becomes an asset to your digital transformation journey.

Learn more about how we can support your digital transformation goals here.

  • 9th November 2023

Written by Andréa Williams, Head of Marketing

Add me on LinkedIn

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