Sunday, November 24, 2013

A Cloudified IT

A Cloudified IT is not Cloudy.

The majority of organizations today has already adopted cloud-based IT services in a certain way. One thing for sure - Cloud is here to stay and it will be changing the paradigm for running IT and business as well. The simple fact is that CIOs have to consider the cloud within their long term strategy. However, cloud adoption depends on many factors including partner availability, costs, reliability, and connectivity. Is a cloudified IT less-cloudy? And how to push the cloud envelope with thoughtful planning & solid action?


Value Proposition:  It depends on what each individual internal IT department does to respond to the competitive challenge. Those who think strategically will map out a  cloud strategy which uniquely identifies the value proposition to the company and how public cloud services compare and fit in. 1) Talking about committing to the cloud or not is not the right way to approach IT meeting the needs of the business. You  need to start with understanding the business opportunities that IT can deliver solutions to that will increase top and bottom line performance as well as increase opportunities to deliver to current and new markets.    2) Cloud allows IT departments (and all other departments for that matter) to focus on being more pro-active and strategic vs. reactionary and redundant. Cloud computing has the ability to actually bring IT much closer to the business. It will free up considerable amounts of time for IT staff to innovate and take a leading role in contributing to the overall business strategy. 3) Perhaps the first step, which IT has yet to do, is to understand in total what services they do offer, benchmark those services (deliverables, quality, and price) against cloud services - and create an investment-based budget

Strategic Planning: Businesses need to have an overarching cloud strategy as an integral element of corporate strategy. Those IT departments that do think strategically are building a value proposition around core services while portraying the public Cloud as a platform for non-core, consumer like services with cost efficiency. Organizations, which do not create strategic capabilities of integrating on-premise, private cloud, and public cloud through appropriate over-arching infrastructure with relevant GRC model, will create a 'bigger' gap, increase business vs. IT friction and increase IT costs, by their cloud initiatives. Going cloud may not always be more cost effective, faster, or more reliable in every situation. Overall strategy and business requirements are still at the heart of providing effective solutions

Architectural Conversation: An Enterprise should understand its EA before shipping parts of IT out to be managed by third-parties; organizations also need EA afterward to manage the complexity in the cloud. EA is about ensuring the maximum payback for an organization's IT investment. Much of this has to do with complexity management. If the IT solutions are available in the cloud then IT can consider those options along the side of in-house or hybrid delivery models. The conversation above still requires capable BA's and PM's to work with the internal business no matter what delivery model you use. These skills are going to continue being a value add proposition that IT can deliver to organizations

IT Leadership: IT is not going away, rather It’s the opportunities for IT to deliver solutions faster via enablement by viable cloud solutions and hence faster means more business solutions can be solved in the long run. The use of a cloud solution is one of many choices that an organization should consider in using information and technology to manage digital transformation for the long term. As a key member of the corporate executive team, the role of the CIO remains one of helping the business maintain its competitive advantage through greater efficiency and customer service, even stretching out its goals, to help the business achieve agility. Today you must consider the cloud, advance in communications, social media, and array of mobile technologies. The CIO must also understand how the business operates, the opportunities technology and information science offers, and the value of adding business analysts who can help business units reap the benefits from these technologies.

Vendor relationship management for smooth integration and long-term partnership: When cloud solutions are a good choice in a given situation, the vendor relationship and quality of service will, as it always has  a key variable. As long as there is a desire to integrate process and information across the organization and the applications, there will need to be an IT organization comfortable with talking to all those cloud providers. As IT moves more applications to the cloud, there'll need to be more IT involvement, not less, because the efficiencies of the cloud allow  to bring in more applications, but those applications then need to interface with each other and with legacy applications. And while you can buy technical expertise for the cloud applications, you cannot buy internal process knowledge.

Cloud Governance Model: In order for a cloud initiative to succeed, a clear governance model must be in place and tied to the greater IT risk management and controls regimen. If the goal is to expand the extent to which the cloud is utilized within an organization, the manner in which these controls are implemented take on an even greater importance. In fact, forward-looking CIOs will be more focused on SLA management and creating better IT-enabled business models. With strong governance discipline, IT can become a true business partner to say yes while not compromising GRC principles and well-educating business upon the potential risks Cloud solution may put on their organizations.   

A Cloudified IT is not cloudy, it is a paradigm shift for IT, and will take some work to refine the culture and restructure - but, it is being done by many organizations that embrace the future, and it should shine through laser focusing on business visions and goals.


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