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Enterprise Cloud Computing and the Services Led Organization

The Cloud, like the Internet before it, seems deceptively easy

Charge! That’s the rallying cry not of your IT on the way to the Cloud, but your business units as they use their corporate American Express (AMEX) cards to buy Cloud services.

The Cloud, like the Internet before it, seems deceptively easy.

Back then, it was just connect. Done. Today, it’s just subscribe. Done.

The illusion is powerful and seductive, isn’t it?

As a C-level executive, you know better though. Being the CEO, CIO, or other senior executive responsible for running a global business with more than 10,000+ employees is no easy task. Perhaps you’re a Fortune 500 company or large government entity. Years of battle scars have turned you into a seasoned veteran. You know that thinking of Cloud computing as just another technology that can be incorporated the same way (you’ve added technology to your enterprise for the past 20 years) would be a mistake. You also know that Cloud computing isn’t about technology, it’s about business. So you’ve given serious thought to what it will take to migrate your slow, inefficient, static, traditional IT organization; change your business processes, and adapt your procurement to accommodate the acquisition of internal and external Cloud services. You’ve considered these and many other issues because you believe in the business agility, dynamic capabilities, and other benefits that a hybrid Cloud will bring to bear for your organization.

Yes, a hybrid Cloud. Lets be pragmatic about this. An enterprise of your scale (or larger) will likely have its own Private Cloud in addition to offloading some services to Public Cloud Service Providers. So you have carefully weighed the enterprise components you’ll need to keep in-house, and components you’ll defer to cloud service providers. You know you will need to manage this migration carefully or spend a lot of time and money cleaning up the mess.

However, you can’t sit still and wait. Rogue IT will create an unmanageable hodgepodge of point solutions throughout your enterprise if you do. Imagine all your business units independently negotiating agreements with the same or numerous Cloud Service Provider(s). The Gang of Six. No, not the ones in Washington, but Amazon (AMZN), Google (GOOG), Salesforce (CRM), VMWare (VMW), Microsoft (MSFT), and Apple (AAPL) whose devices (smartphones, tables), technology, and as-a-Service solutions (SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS) is overwhelming your enterprise. Now it’ll be up to you to clean house and consolidate all those agreements attempting to leverage economies of scale and develop some IT governance and management around all those point solutions with varying Service Level Agreements (SLAs), if there are any at all. Like spaghetti programming, avoid it up front and you won’t have to redo the work down the road.

It’s a good thing you’re way ahead of the curve. You’ve been here before, not like some of the kids that grew up during the dot-com boom and continue to ask me how one “monetizes” the Cloud. This is real business, not “eyeballs” and other fanciful metrics.

You know it’s about your people, process, technology, and organization thereof. We can all have the same Rubik’s cube (technology), however, not everyone can organize it successfully to solve the (Cloud management) puzzle.  The right strategy is multifaceted, encompassing:

  • Migration (to a services model and new architecture),
  • Management and Governance (within and outside enterprise boundaries),
  • Organizational culture (silos and the status quo must be replaced by teamwork and cooperation),
  • Integration, Security, and Interoperability
  • Business and operational models,
  • Reference frameworks (for development), (business) models, and architectures (enterprise, technology, information, software, and systems),

And other key components to shift from a traditional, static, infrastructure management approach to dynamic, on demand, service management, and ultimately become an internal Cloud Service Provider, Cloud Broker, or both, to the rest of your organization. You think about this as you look down rows of Intel (INTC) x86 systems sprawled on valuable real-estate in your datacenter. At 10-15% utilization per system, that’s a highly inefficient energy, maintenance, and real estate footprint and that’s just the hardware – software maintenance, upgrades, patches, security, management, license fees, labor, the list seems endless. With 75-80% of your budget going to keep the lights on, and business units demanding services, you’re at risk of losing control of your IT.

So you’ve launched business transformation initiatives, understood that Cloud terms mean different things to different people in your enterprise and developed a common taxonomy to keep everyone on the same page. You have enumerated the benefits sought from migration to Cloud services, captured business requirements across business units, considered alternatives, studied the impact on your business processes, evaluated reference frameworks, models, and architectures, positioned your Services (or Web) Oriented Architecture (SOA/WOA) to take advantage of Web Services, worked on your IT governance, dispatched your leadership team to work on changing your organizational culture to break down silos, standardized your backend enterprise technologies and processes, simplified your IT environment, consolidated IT systems, servers, storage, networks, and rationalized your application portfolio – after all, does your enterprise really need to migrate 20,000 applications to the Cloud? Let’s hope not.

Finally, you have virtualized and abstracted your infrastructure. You can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Dynamic, elastic services are finally within your grasp. Now you’re deploying enterprise wide service offerings ranging from internally provided Cloud services to externally procured Cloud services brokered by your team.  Your business and IT services are a web of tightly integrated, loosely coupled, highly modularized and cohesive, end to end value chain with no weak links. Your team has shifted to business service operations, agile (iterative) implementation methods, highly flexible configuration management for automation and dynamic service delivery, orchestrated services, continuous (operations) improvement, and integration with development, to build, support, and maintain applications and services.

Is this your enterprise Cloud computing migration end game in order to become a (Cloud) Services Led Organization?

Regardless of your approach, you have to see your enterprise end game. Without a strategy, without a plan, without envisioning the end game, you’ll be changing direction midstream like many others before you. Don’t be seduced by the illusion. Develop your strategy and plan your rallying cry before committing your troops.

-Tune The Future-

More Stories By Ray DePena

Ray DePena worked at IBM for over 12 years in various senior global roles in managed hosting sales, services sales, global marketing programs (business innovation), marketing management, partner management, and global business development.
His background includes software development, computer networking, systems engineering, and IT project management. He holds an MBA in Information Systems, Marketing, and International Business from New York University’s Stern School of Business, and a BBA in Computer Systems from the City University of New York at Baruch College.

Named one of the World's 30 Most Influential Cloud Computing Bloggers in 2009, Top 50 Bloggers on Cloud Computing in 2010, and Top 100 Bloggers on Cloud Computing in 2011, he is the Founder and Editor of Amazon.com Journal,Competitive Business Innovation Journal,and Salesforce.com Journal.

He currently serves as an Industry Advisor for the Higher Education Sector on a National Science Foundation Initiative on Computational Thinking. Born and raised in New York City, Mr. DePena now lives in northern California. He can be followed on:

Twitter: @RayDePena   |   LinkedIn   |   Facebook   |   Google+

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