As modern organizations rapidly move to the cloud, they face many strategic challenges that can have a massive impact on their ultimate success or failure. And while the reward for a successful cloud adoption is high, it comes with significant risk.
We’ve all heard horror stories around cloud adoptions and migrations, and many are asking: How can we mitigate these risks to ensure success? In this article, you’ll learn how the combined best practices and guidance provided by Microsoft’s Cloud Adoption Framework, alongside the power of AppDynamics, can ensure a successful cloud adoption strategy.
What is Microsoft’s Cloud Adoption Framework for Azure?
The Microsoft Cloud Adoption Framework for Azure is proven guidance designed to help create and implement the business and technology strategies for cloud adoption. The framework provides best practices, documentation, and tools that cloud architects, IT professionals, and business decision-makers need to successfully achieve their short and long-term cloud objectives.
The Cloud Adoption Framework is a full lifecycle framework supporting customers throughout each phase of adoption by providing specific approaches to overcoming common blockers.
Business outcomes play an important role throughout any successful cloud adoption strategy and are a central theme throughout Microsoft’s Cloud Adoption Framework. As part of the guidance, best practices, and tools such as the Business Outcomes Templates, various key performance indicators(KPIs) are identified by key stakeholders. These KPIs often span from fiscal metrics to performance-related data and global reach.
Why are business outcomes important?
An essential aspect of a business outcome is that it should be measurable and quantifiable. Although meaningful, common soft outcomes such as “Saving Money,” “Happy Customers,” or “Faster Applications” are far too ambiguous and not easily quantifiable. Examples of better outcomes would be along the lines of “increase revenue by 10%” or “decrease average response time by three seconds.”
Effectively mapping your business outcomes to the results of an organization’s cloud adoption strategy allows an organization to measure its success and avoid many of the common pitfalls that lead to high risk, high cost, low reward, or even failed migrations.
How to measure business outcomes with AppDynamics
Identifying those all-important business outcomes and their associated KPIs is arguably the easier part of the overall equation. The irony is that actually measuring and collecting the data that drives those KPIs can be immensely difficult.
So, how can we accomplish this where it is done in a way that is reliable, easy, and timely so that we can make effective decisions? This is where AppDynamics delivers immense value. For more on how we do it, check out our recent article, “Measure business outcomes with AppDynamics” in Microsoft’s Cloud Adoption Framework, where we cover high-level common use cases for measuring business outcomes.
Let’s take it one step further and see how this can be applied in practice. We’ll start with the understanding that many business outcomes and their KPIs can be distilled down into two types of data points: Application performance and business performance.
Measuring application performance with business transactions
In the case of measuring application performance and the closely related user experience, AppDynamics has a concept we refer to as business transactions. Business transactions are key user experiences automatically identified by AppDynamics that provide end-to-end insights into the performance and user experience of that transaction, regardless of how many components and layers there are or whether they reside on-premises or in the cloud.
Using an e-commerce application as a reference, user experiences like “Login,” “Add To Cart,” or “CheckOut” are common examples of business transactions. These unlock complex business outcome KPIs such as “increase checkout response time by five seconds” with relative ease.
Holistic migrations of large distributed applications are frequently seen as a risky proposition. Business transactions reduce risk by providing visibility into the performance of individual elements. This unlocks the ability to identify the impact of smaller changes on the platform that are common while making cloud-native optimizations vs. traditional lift and shift deployments.
Measuring business performance with business analytics
In addition to traditional application performance data, AppDynamics also has the ability to collect business performance data. AppDynamics data collectors can be configured to collect business data as it flows through your application in real-time without any code changes. One option for configuring a data collector is by using the “Recommended Data Collector” feature of AppDynamics. This provides previews of various data points flowing through your application.
Returning to the example of an e-commerce application, let’s consider the total amount in a shopping cart — a potential leading indicator for revenue. In this case, the business outcome of “increasing revenue by X” would be easily unlocked in addition to many other scenarios.
Bringing it all together
When configured for pre and post-migration comparison, the combination of application performance KPIs and business KPIs together provide a clear and quantifiable understanding of the state of the desired business outcomes identified as part of your overall cloud adoption strategy.
De-risk and accelerate adoption of the cloud now
With the rapid adoption of the cloud, it’s essential to have a proven strategy and process supported by best practices. The combination of AppDynamics and Microsoft’s Cloud Adoption Framework can both accelerate and de-risk your rapid adoption of the cloud, getting you faster to your growth goals and fostering greater innovation across your entire organization.