The cloud has changed a number of computing equations.  Enterprises now set up and deliver scalable networks–that reach the remotest corners of the globe–with minimal time and cost overhead.  Cloud vendors deliver highly sophisticated, customizable software systems that can be granularly personalized; seamlessly deployed and concurrently used by employees across the board.

At the core of this kind of capability delivery, is discipline that creates standards and regulations.  Organizations transitioning to the cloud must learn to effectively define and manage requirements. They must establish systems that deliver value to both internal and external customers. All this must be done while addressing compliance and staying on schedule and within the budget allocated.

Ill defined requirements can produce devastating consequences. The domino effect may demand requirements rework; untimely deliveries; loss of business and budget overruns.

A cloud computing requirements definition must be correct-both at the technical and legal level. It should be well thought through and complete in all respects. It must not suffer from ambiguity and must provide a guideline or direction consistently. The requirements defined must be verifiable; traceable and feasible. It should be modular enough to enable plug and play as and when requirements change. Finally, the requirements must take into consideration customer requirements.

The grammar of the requirements document is unique. The rules demand that the document is clear and consistent and well structured. Duplication is to be avoided and there must be no omissions. Duplicate requirements can cause conflicts and omitted requirements can cause shortcomings in the final cloud computing set up. “Shall”, “will” or “must” are operative words that must mandate requirements and specify the need to attain a specified goal without fail.

Cloud computing requirement definitions begin with an “AS IS” evaluation and a needs analysis. Both these will undergo internal transitions until the requirement definition begins to assume a shape.  Specifications and contractual documents can then be generated from the requirements repository and compared with terms and conditions of services offered by cloud vendors. Comparisons of the areas of convergence and divergence become simple and selection of the “best fit cloud vendor” can be done with awareness of risks taken and compromises made.

An efficient way to test the requirements is to trial with the different cloud vendors before selecting the vendor whose services best meet the organization’s requirement definitions.

By maintaining the link between employee requirements, business goals and customer needs, the organization can ensure that resources are used efficiently and capacity is available just when and where they need it.