“The last thing IBM needs right now is a vision.” famous words uttered by Lou Gerstner before he proceeded to save IBM from imminent demise. (Who says Elephants can’t Dance.)

Photo by rawpixel on UnsplashPhoto by rawpixel on Unsplash

Why did Lou say something so utterly counter-intuitive?

It was because he didn’t have enough information at that time to form a strategy. He spent the next year gathering knowledge from customers, employees, and suppliers to identify what made IBM great. Then he created the strategy to reinforce the notion that IBM’s strength came from its ability to craft and deliver multi-national, complex solutions and support these solutions once delivered. The strategy was supported by the creation of two divisions, services, and software. The value proposition (and margins) rescued IBM.

So why do we insist on creating our cloud strategy without gathering all the information?

We hear all too often, we have a cloud-first strategy?

While the hype about the benefits of going to the cloud is not unfounded, realizing these benefits depends entirely on how you go to the cloud.

If we simply Lift & Shift our applications to the cloud, we are merely relocating to a data center somewhere else, with an additional layer of management! If this isn’t just an intermediate step before looking at making these apps more cloud-native, it could easily end up costing more.

How would you know which apps to move? All of them?

We’ve seen a major shift in how the cloud had been perceived over the last 12 months. Because the full benefits of a self-serve development environment coupled with auto-scaling and availability scheduling, organizations often looked at a public cloud as just another data center, i.e. “We’re going completely to <insert AWS, Azure or Google here>!”

However, now that there is comprehension that the various cloud services, including private cloud, all have their strengths and benefits, we now hear that “we need a hybrid, multi-cloud approach and strategy”.

It still begs the question, how do you know which apps are going where? How do we prioritize the migration of these apps? Which apps should be reimagined to be more cloud-native and live in a cloud or across clouds?

Enter the power of creating an application-centric portfolio of your workloads. Evaluating each app for its business value & technical complexity to better understand which apps should stay put for now, which apps should be replaced with a SaaS offering, which should be retired and which apps should be re-architected to take advantage of continuous integration and delivery (CI/CD) with the resulting business agility and cost-effectiveness.

[The Matrix ](http://a.co/d/frWsgeV)— See how deep the rabbit hole goesThe Matrix — See how deep the rabbit hole goes

Let’s take a page or of Lou’s book and gather the information we need first, and only then, create a strategy.

What do you think?