Cloud Adoption Assessment Framework (CAAF)


Cloud computing supports and encourages important business and technical benefits like faster time to market, increased productivity, cost reduction, scalability, and agility. Thus, many organizations give cloud computing a fundamental role in transforming their business and IT organization. There are several perspectives of cloud transformation like migrating applications and infrastructure services to the cloud, developing new business capabilities enabled by the cloud, and transforming the IT organization and services (see figure 1).

Figure 1: Perspectives of Cloud Transformation

The transformation of an IT organization and its services often deals with evolving an internal IT department from a mere deliverer of technology to become a broker to the business for all cloud services. In this new role the internal IT department should enable the business to choose the best solutions, provide governance through policies and cloud management tools, and gather and disseminate cloud best practices.

However, the transformation towards an efficient and effective broker for cloud services requires significant and coordinated changes to the organization, processes, governance models, tools, and skill sets. Misunderstanding of the modern cloud technologies, wrong interpretation of the cloud advantages, misalignment and lack of a coordinated effort can put the transformation at risk and eventually increase complexity and cost. Therefore, many organizations grapple with the identification and coordination of the decisions and designs that are required along the transformation towards a broker of cloud services. Moreover, organizations that already started the transformation wonder whether they have reached their full potential and what could be the next steps in their transformation journey.


The Cloud Adoption Assessment Framework (CAAF) and related consulting service aim at conducting a structured fit/gap analysis for an individual organization, identifying areas for improvement, and deriving an individual transformation roadmap (see figure 2).

Figure 2: Objectives of the Cloud Adoption Assessment Framework and related Consulting Service

Depending on the initial situation of an organization, the framework and consulting service can be leveraged to either find the right way to get started with cloud computing or improve and further advance an already initiated cloud transformation, focusing on the governance models, tools, and skill sets to unleash the full potential of the cloud.


The Cloud Adoption Assessment Framework (CAAF) embodies my knowledge and experience related to several large-scale transformations towards the public cloud including all required changes to the governance, organization, processes, tools, and skill sets. It focuses on the key decisions that must be taken and the key designs that must be developed across various business-related and technical domains to ensure the end-to-end consistency of the transformation.

The CAAF consists of an index of the key decisions and designs, an encompassing documentation for each decision and design, the dependencies between the decisions and designs, and a documentation of the underlying concepts, decision options, design tradeoffs (see figure 3).

Figure 3: Contents of the Cloud Adoption Assessment Framework

It is used as part of a consulting service which is organized in preparation, workshop, and documentation phase (see figure 4).

Figure 4: Overview of the Cloud Adoption Assessment Framework and Workshop Offering

As part of the preparation phase, the initial situation of an organization is roughly grasped by analyzing strategy-related documents, the current organizational set-up, and other existing documents. Depending on the individual customer requirements, the workshop is customized, i.e., the scope and focus of the fit/gap analysis can be individually defined.

During the workshop phase, the decisions and designs which are in scope are analyzed by walking through predefined questionnaires. Moreover, depending on the customer’s situation, the underlying concepts, available decision options, tradeoffs, and dependencies are explained, discussed, and analyzed. The analysis results in a set of identified gaps related to the decisions and designs.

In the documentation phase the gaps are elaborated and used to derive an individual transformation roadmap for an organization. This roadmap can be the basis for a transformation project or program that implements changes to the governance, organization, processes, tools, and skill sets.

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Stefan Malich