Saturday, December 8, 2012

Cloud Navigation: Who, What and How

Cloud is a phenomenon in the last couple of years, not only is it an IT capacity and capability to run business with agility but also it’s an attitude now both business and IT drive its adoption. A recently released Cloud survey report from Capgemini demonstrated the cloud landscape and the top impedients to prevent its uptake.  

1. Who was leading on Cloud? 

Cloud is technology trend, more than three-quarters of businesses from survey already have a Cloud adoption strategy in place. And, from the data collected, it is clear that in many organizations surveyed,  it is now the business and IT takes the fair share to take the lead when comes to Cloud adoption.

Also, the Cloud is often associated with new processes and business initiatives that tend to be owned by the business, rather than legacy systems, traditionally the domain of IT. And perspectives are shifting quickly and that Cloud is now much more firmly embedded within the business way of working.

 2. What were the drivers? 

Data indicated that business leaders are keen to drive adoption forward, particularly given current cost pressures and the need to explore new business ideas quickly, like “reduced cost” and “time-to-market” —were identified as drivers for moving to the Cloud much more frequently than technical factors like “scalability” and “capability modernization.”

  • The benefits of Cloud, such as the ability to move costs from capex to opex and increased speed-to-market, are now well understood – and not just by the technology visionaries and promoters, but by those in the lines of business.
Top five business drivers behind moving to the Cloud?
a. Reduced cost
b. Reduced time to market
c. Operational efficiencies
d. Free up data center space
e. Avoid operational expenses, preserve capital

  • Tipping Point to Business Cloud: These findings of decision-making suggest that we are probably reaching a tipping point at which the business will drive Cloud decisions in most organizations. Although some people in the business might feel they can adopt, but cloud solutions without the help of the IT department is risk taking, the reality is that IT involvement is crucial.

  • IT’s value-adding role is best served as an expert enabler of the most appropriate Cloud adoption for the business as a whole, about which type of cloud to use — public, private or hybrid. IT also needs to ensure that Cloud becomes a viable platform that enables the business, but also aligns and integrates with other IT activities without disruption.

3. How was Cloud being managed 

The survey found that companies are proceeding with caution. Most are putting specific areas or applications into the Cloud when they feel the need, rather than taking a “big bang” approach.

North America has been classified as the most mature “IT economy,” as it has the highest proportion of companies that are close to Cloud maturity.  72% of respondents are working, or planning to work, with more than one vendor. The companies are adopting a seemingly more piecemeal approach, in which vendors that specialize in relevant applications are chosen to support the needs of a specific department or function

  • Adopt a Cloud “orchestration” approach. This will mitigate the risk of the increasing complexity and ensure that nothing stands in the way of reaping the benefits of the Cloud. Looking ahead, the pace of adoption could well accelerate as businesses start to expect these same benefits right across the systems landscape.
  • A step-by-step approach to migration: Only 56% of organizations said they trusted the Cloud with their data. The progressive approach to putting applications into the Cloud is also likely to be a function of trust. Although a lack of trust may still be slowing down the speed of Cloud adoption for some organizations, the step-by-step approach to migration is, on the whole, serving companies well. The North American market – relatively mature in terms of general IT adoption – indicated higher levels of trust in the Cloud at 62%.
  • Cloud as the ideal platform to develop new applications, 78% is focused on new, as opposed to legacy applications, most organizations also have developed new, innovative processes that are at the edge of the business, these new processes are almost invariably owned by the business rather than IT, and the business is likely to evaluate the Cloud as the ideal platform to develop, test and launch applications to the market as quickly as possible. It makes sense to focus on new and critical parts of the business that need rapid rollout and maximum flexibility and scalability. Legacy systems are mostly being left where they are for the time being
  • Cloud Investment is up 25% globally and 28% more in the case of the companies in North America. Board, IT, and Operation., etc. are driving Cloud adoption, as Cloud is  no longer perceived as an IT-owned technology, its effectiveness as an enabling platform has been recognized and has percolated throughout the business.
  • Top impediments preventing Cloud uptake
      1. Fear of security breaches
      2. Issues with data sovereignty
      3. Lack of integration
      4. Lack of a clear Cloud strategy
      5. Lack of agility in the business

4. CIO Perspective 

From a CIO perspective, the trend towards greater business ownership of a so-called IT platform may at first glance appear to be challenging. But Cloud still represents an opportunity for IT to demonstrate expertise and management skills in orchestrating and enabling the most applicable Cloud strategy

  • IT’s vital role to view Cloud holistically. CIOs need to be aware of the shifting power balance regarding Cloud and to establish the most appropriate role in this new dynamic. IT departments have a vital role to play in ensuring that the business as a whole, and not just individual business units, gets the most out of Cloud.
  • Make technical and architectural decisions: the business will continue to look to the CIO to make well-informed technical and architectural decisions, such as whether legacy systems should run on a private, public or hybrid Cloud and which platform and solution vendors to standardize on.

  • Take a well-orchestrated approach: CIOs and IT departments also need to take a well-orchestrated approach to the Cloud landscape – bringing together all the constituents into a cohesive and mutually supporting whole, and dealing with the most important inhibitors.

It is essential that IT and business leaders establish or maintain an ongoing dialogue around Cloud to ensure that the organization realizes the full benefits, as migration moves ahead

5.    Standardize Cloud 

Though everyone understands the business value inherent in the promise of cloud computing. Yet in its current state, the cloud operates under any number of inconsistent, often incompatible standards—a situation that will likely hold back its ongoing development and limit the benefits the cloud offers enterprises looking to capture its potential for boosting flexibility, efficiency, and economies of scale.

The many challenges for companies making a transition to the cloud aren’t limited to technological implications, it’s lack of standards. All players with a stake --IT vendors, cloud service providers, business customers, and governments alike—to begin now to settle on the technological, management, and regulatory standards needed to bring order to the cloud. And it is up to CIOs everywhere to take the lead in guiding their companies’ actions in helping to develop these standards to overcome challenges listed below:

1)    Efficiency of service provisioning(scaleable architecture, tools, flexibility, service availability)
2)     Effectiveness of service (SLA, governance mechanism)
3)     Service Transparency (license management, quality assurance, data process)
4)     Information security (privacy, integrity, access control, verification., etc)
5)     Data Privacy
6)     Interoperability (migration in/out, cloud federation)
7)     Portability (service, data portability)
8)     Ensure Fair competition.
9)     Compliance with regulatory requirement

CIOs at all companies start now to understand how cloud standards are developing and to define their companies’ role and objectives in standardization development, must ensure that the cloud environment evolves according to consistent standards that will provide economic benefit. Because the promise of cloud computing is too great to let it be diluted in a sea of conflicting standards. A deliberate and well-designed standards effort would provide the definitions, guidelines, and best-practice examples necessary to make the best use of the cloud. It would enable CIOs not just to better identify the opportunities available through the use of cloud computing, but also to engage in cross-industry partnerships and common ventures that would benefit their own companies.

Most significantly, Cloud has moved from a platform managed by IT to a way of working that the business as whole values and wants to use for important new initiatives. And Cloud is now fundamentally driving the future of business and technology fusion –it’s about the business benefiting from the Cloud.


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