Now more than ever, companies are seeing a need for cloud-based solutions to their IM/IT Ecosystems – one that balances the needs of the business with maintaining data integrity. Having a plan to integrate your current and future business requirements with modern cloud-based solutions is key to avoiding headaches. Stratford recommends a 3 stage approach that could even see you saving money in the long run; (1) Discovery,  (2) Assessment, and (3) Recommendations.

    The winds are shifting…

    For the past two decades IM/IT organizations have been reinventing themselves to accommodate the industry’s shift from on-premise IT solutions to cloud-based models (SaaS, PaaS, IaaS). Each organization approaches this transformation differently depending on the urgency assigned to the change and the specific needs of their user base and customer demographic.

    The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated parts of this transition for many businesses as IM/IT organizations struggled to rapidly implement solutions that allowed business operations to continue remotely.

    The result is a number of organizations with hastily implemented cloud solutions woven into their existing IT Ecosystems in a patchwork of incomplete integration and quasi-usability.

    The impacts of these Franken-systems are significant even if not always easily spotted. Poor integration between IT solutions results in data duplication and errors, inefficient manual workarounds, and a suboptimal user experience.


    Moving to the cloud

    More and more frequently, we’re observing a growing rift between the business units and the IM/IT teams as one seeks to leverage cloud offerings faster or more extensively than the other is comfortable with.

    In extreme cases there are unexpected and serious security and data integrity vulnerabilities that only become widely known after their effects are experienced first-hand.

    Modern organizations need to adjust their IM/IT operations to reflect the changes imposed by this shift to cloud solutions and hybrid IT Ecosystems.

    An often overlooked reality of this transition is the change it requires within the capabilities and aptitudes of the IM/IT teams themselves rather than the IT systems they support. People and process need to evolve just as much as technology does.

    With the movement to SaaS offerings, for example, local backup and recovery needs are reduced but information security and integrity needs skyrocket. The IM/IT organization must pivot from focusing on local data protection to understanding how the organization’s data is maintained in the cloud; taking into account within what jurisdictions these operations fall into and with what levels of security, privacy and protection.


    3 Stage Approach

    As cloud computing becomes the dominant model for business to house data and applications, and with increasing adoption, it is increasingly important for organizations to develop or clarify their IM/IT strategy.

    Stratford helps organizations chart out the path for their IM/IT organizations and their overarching IT Ecosystems through a structured IM/IT Operational Assessment.  This effort guides the organization through three distinct stages:

    1| DISCOVERY – where the organization’s holistic IM/IT needs are clearly defined and documented.  Every aspect of the IM/IT people, processes, and systems (collectively the IT Ecosystem) that support effective business operations are examined, qualified, and documented.

    Stratford then overlays these needs with the organization’s strategic plans and the industry’s movement to reflect not just today’s requirements, but also how these needs are likely to evolve over the next several years.

    2| ASSESSMENT – where the organization’s current IT Ecosystem is compared to the holistic business needs, assessing strengths, weaknesses, overkill, and gaps. The competitive differentiators and areas of strength are marked for reinforcement while the weak areas and gaps are identified for further development.

    3| RECOMMENDATIONS – where Stratford identifies how the business can optimally inject maturity and modernization into their IT Ecosystem to better align with the organization’s current and future needs in a pragmatic and logical way.

    Stratford provides clearly explained recommendations and helps the organization develop a roadmap to realize these needed changes over time.


    Adjusting to a new ecosystem

    With a clear definition of what the Business needs (now and in the future) from its IT Ecosystem along with a thorough understanding of where its current IM/IT capabilities meet (or exceed) these needs and where they do not, Stratford can help the organization plan out the transition to a more robust and appropriate end-state.

    Often, our clients find that they have significantly more bench-strength in their teams than they realized. The culprit? Not utilizing their employee’s capabilities appropriately and not accounting for the shift in skillsets and training needed to adjust to the new reality.  Similarly, many clients learn that their existing IM/IT investments are better suited to their organization’s needs than they originally thought. They were simply not properly integrated or implemented.

    The savings realized from avoiding unnecessary hiring or unneeded systems changes could be significant.

    Sometimes, what’s needed is a pair of outside eyes that know what to look for to bring the picture into focus.  To point out that compass shape in the cloud where you couldn’t see it before.

    We’d love to chat with you about how Stratford’s IM/IT Operational Assessment can help your organization retool its IT Ecosystem to better meet current and future business needs. If you’d like to learn more about our Strategic IT services, please reach out to


    About AJ:

    A senior technology executive with over two decades of accomplishments in digital strategy development and large-scale solution delivery, AJ Harris has distilled his extensive experience into best practices and leadership insights that have won awards at a national level. AJ has successfully designed, staffed, and implemented value-based, business-driven technology solutions in a number of different industries across six continents. AJ specializes in designing and applying Digital Strategies for visionary companies, ensuring successful implementation of large-scale IT programs, and maturing IT & Professional Services organizations.