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Creating a new NHS England: NHS England and NHS Digital merged on 1 February 2023. More about the merger.

Cloud journey guide

To help you define your next steps towards cloud adoption, we have defined a set of recommendations for services and reading topics, available through this portal on a self service basis.

Cloud Centre of Excellence services website feedback

Where do I start?

Every organisation is likely to be in at a different point along their journey to the cloud.  The cloud journey guide aims to direct you towards services and actions which are appropriate to where your organisation is. This guidance is structured along the lines of organisation personas, described by characteristics which define where they are on the path to cloud adoption.  

Using the cloud journey guide
  • Start by familiarising yourself with the persona model below, and find the level which describes where your organisation is along the way to cloud adoption 
  • follow the links to the relevant services and topics 

If you require assistance to find what you are looking for, contact the CCoE  by emailing

If you need further support as an NHS organisations planning or migrating to use Cloud Services contact us using our feedback form for an introductory 30 minute conversation with a member of the team.

Organisation Cloud adoption personas

The Cloud adoption personas provide a generalised description which helps direct an organisation towards relevant actions and information.

Based on industry experience, an organisation's position along the journey to cloud can be described by the following characteristics

  • decision maker motivation
  • budget
  • organisational readiness
  • workload suitability for cloud
  • security and compliance
  • cloud consumption


This won't work for health, its too complex and expensive. 
  • Decision maker motivation: they see frugality and efficiency of services provided to the patients as the major business driver and would like to optimise services.
  • Budget:  Budget is prioritised to keep the lights on and the short term tactical gains for their investments. Overall, they are sceptical about transformation initiatives.
  • Organisational readiness: Strong desire to maintain the status quo. Little understanding of the changes required to prepare for cloud adoption.
  • Workload suitability for cloud: A range of legacy workloads which have not been systematically assessed for cloud suitability.
  • Security and compliance: They are risk adverse and follow traditional working practices for security and compliance.  
  • Cloud consumption: Limited or no cloud consumption. Cloud adoption is not a priority at present. 


I see some value but just can't comprehend doing more, I have to keep the lights on. 
  • Decision maker motivation: There's been some success, but its perceived as a one-off. The decision maker needs the benefits clarified and presented as being repeatable and expandable. 
  • Budget: Budget will generally be requested to operate and improve the IT landscape however it is not aligned with a cloud OpEx model. 
  • Organisational readiness: There's a responsible appetite for change but with a lack of direct skills and experience. Some justifiable doubt of the ability to enact the desired changes. 
  • Workload suitability for cloud: As an organisation that is beginning to prioritise Cloud and is doing some IT optimisation there will be a sizable percentage of cloud suitable workloads.
  • Security and compliance:  Generally, governance will be good but with some staffing challenges this will be achieved through a significant number of third-party services or outsizing.
  • Cloud consumption: Consumption is still low. Despite perceiving the value achievable with Cloud the current team is not confident in realising it. 


I've got some ideas for PoCs but I am struggling to get moving.  
  • Decision maker motivation: The benefits of cloud are acceptable, understood and desired but the roadmap to achieve them is unclear. 
  • Budget: Funding is aligned with operational and enhancement needs, not specifically for a cloud transformation programme. Need help to make the business case for cloud. 
  • Organisational readiness: The organisation is used to dealing with change but can not define the breadth and depth of the changes required to achieve an effective Cloud service capability. 
  • Workload suitability for cloud: Due to gap between the IT vision and the operational reality the organisation has not undertaken a systematic analysis of workloads. 
  • Security and compliance: Reasonable level of IT governance, have the foundations ready to extend working practices to the cloud. 
  • Cloud consumption: Cloud adoption is sporadic, with the individual migration initiatives led by technology teams. Likely to include some SaaS and early deployed applications and PoCs. 


I have multiple workloads in the cloud, learning some of the strengths and pitfalls
  • Decision maker motivation:  Motivated by compelling business needs, customer experience and satisfaction but also interested in cost reduction. 
  • Budget:  Sufficient financial resources and willing to take risks trying something new. Least price sensitive of the personas and are highly demanding in product feature set and performance. 
  • Organisational readiness: A "risk tolerant" culture and sufficient human resources, they have a high level of cloud and IT expertise. 
  • Workload suitability for cloud: Have a clear understanding of the suitability of their IT estate and have an ongoing programme to make their applications "cloud ready". 
  • Security and compliance: Understand what good looks like, and are in the process of implementing a standardised approach. 
  • Cloud consumption:  Tens of workloads in the cloud with plans to continue migration. Are aware of opportunities to optimise consumption through right-sizing and dynamic scaling. Initial experimentation with cloud-native services. 


Cloud ready? We are the people giving the talks at cloud conferences. Moving towards cloud-native technologies.  
  • Decision maker motivation:  They see IT as opportunity for creating new services and capabilities to serve their patients and staff. 
  • Budget:  Have fully embraced the variable opex budget model. Have adopted solid FinOps disciplines and tooling which allows them to stay in control of their cloud spend. A portion of savings are re-invested in optimisation initiatives. 
  • Organisational readiness:  The organisation sees itself as innovators in their field. Staff are able to handle change and are motivated to develop new skills and abilities. 
  • Workload suitability for cloud: Most workloads are either ready are in the cloud or are in the process of being made cloud-ready. IT solution vendors are de-selected they do not have cloud offerings or show a clear road map for their cloud offering. 
  • Security and compliance:  Proven compliance posture, evidenced by positive audit results. 
  • Cloud consumption: Majority of workloads are in the cloud. Only services that rely on special infrastructure are kept on premises. Focussing on modernisation of application using cloud native services. 

Further information

internal Cloud Centre of Excellence cloud plan components

The Cloud Centre of Excellence (CCoE) promotes a best practice approach to drive the adoption of Cloud services. It provides a centralised enablement function and supports Cloud service consumers across NHS Digital and the wider NHS.

Last edited: 14 November 2022 12:28 pm