Are you overthinking your cloud model? If so, you\u2019re likely in need of a well-defined cloud strategy. \n\nCompanies with a clear cloud strategy position themselves to achieve more from cloud computing than those without. A well-defined cloud strategy provides a playbook inclusive of principles, baselines, services, financial models, and prioritization guidelines that enable companies to make informed decisions that support their goals.\n\nIn addition, a cloud strategy that is concise, actionable, and reviewed continuously allows organizations to assess current and future states in alignment with security, architecture, governance, compliance, human resources, quote-to-cash processes, and business objectives.\n\nUnfortunately, many organizations mistakenly take their cloud adoption or migration plan as a cloud strategy. Whereas a cloud adoption or migration plan is focused on the \u201chow,\u201d a true cloud strategy is focused on answering the \u201cwhat\u201d and \u201cwhy.\u201d A cloud strategy provides a clear decision framework that directly supports business goals and outcomes.\n\nIn this article, I\u2019ll share what a cloud strategy looks like, how it helps companies make better decisions, and how to get started.\n\nWhat a cloud strategy is (and isn\u2019t)\n\nUnfortunately, many misperceptions surround the cloud, as outlined in Gartner\u2019s Top 10 Mistakes in Building a Cloud Strategy. One such misperception is that a cloud strategy is a cloud adoption or migration plan. It\u2019s not. A cloud strategy is not a data center strategy, a cloud-first strategy, or an IT-only strategy. Furthermore, it\u2019s not the execution-level implementation plan many organizations think of. Take a minute to review the top 10 misperceptions that lead to mistakes in building a cloud strategy, as defined per Gartner:\n\nIn The Cloud Strategy Cookbook, Gartner defines a cloud strategy as \u201c\u2026a concise viewpoint on the role of cloud computing in your organization.\u201d A true cloud strategy describes the role of the cloud as a business accelerant. It exists to align stakeholders and establish guardrails for decision-making. It includes leaders across the business, including C-level executives. Most of all, it directly supports whatever your business is trying to achieve.\n\nA formal cloud strategy streamlines decision-making, drives better ROI, and reduces risks in strategy execution. A clearly defined cloud strategy helps businesses maximize their cloud investments and align with other synergetic domains of the business. Ultimately, a cloud strategy reduces frustration, disappointment, overspending, and low-value creation.\n\nGetting started with your cloud strategy\n\nIf you don\u2019t have a cloud strategy, you\u2019re not alone. Most organizations don\u2019t start with a strategy. Instead, they may begin with a business driver, such as closing a data center or merging with or acquiring another company. They may start with experimentation or heavier adoption in one silo of the organization. In most cases, it\u2019s not until later that they circle back and create a cloud strategy that is not intermingled with adoption or execution planning.\n\nA cloud strategy playbook does not need to be long or written in stone. In fact, it should be relatively short (10-20 pages) and considered a living document \u2014updated regularly to reflect the shifting needs of your business, changes in the market, or anything that affects a significant organizational change.\n\nFor example, if your company merges with or acquires another company, that will impact your principles and R-Lane prioritizations. Or, if a new market opportunity comes along, you may need to revisit your cloud strategy to ensure it will help you drive competitive advantage.\n\nThe steps for creating a cloud strategy are simple:\n\n10 questions your cloud strategy should answer\n\nAs part of your cloud strategy definition, you should consider assessment and hands-on workshop sessions to define guiding principles. To do so, be sure that you answer the following 10 foundationally strategic questions:\n\nDefine your cloud strategy with help from GDT\n\nA solid cloud strategy helps ensure your organization makes suitable investments to support your business and streamlines decision-making around your cloud model.\n\nWith decades of experience, GDT can help you define your cloud strategy and create a cloud strategy playbook based on Gartner\u2019s principles and best practices. To learn more, contact the cloud experts at GDT today.