I spend a lot of time talking to my customers about ” the cloud “. They have all sorts of questions about it, such as ” what is it? ” ” where is it? ” ” how do I/we access it? ” ” why do I / we need it? “, and so many more that it is hard to keep track of all of them some times. What I am actually doing most of the time is helping my customers to understand the idea of the cloud, and what it may mean for them, in their business, and for their users and information. They are asking me to help them to understand a massive shift in the way that we all interact with information and consume technology today. They are often mystified by the changes that the cloud represents, and the opportunities that the cloud may hold for them and their customers.
Given the many ” mysteries ” of the cloud, I thought that it would be a good idea to spend some time discussing what it really means to contemplate a move to the cloud for you and your information.
There are many reasons to migrate your enterprise applications to the cloud.
The top 3 drivers are:
To achieve the best possible ROI when considering a move to the cloud, you need to address 3 main areas with regards to cloud transformation:
Is your team ready to anticipate the delays in connecting global systems?
In order to anticipate possible complications, a team’s readiness to transition to the cloud needs to be tested and analyzed. A cloud ready team will need to have:
- o The skills to migrate from a physical environment to a virtual one
- o An accurate assessment of the time and effort required for migration
- o The experience to handle this activity in addition to their daily roles
Are your organizational roles and responsibilities ready for a hybrid IT environment?
With enterprises developing a cloud strategy alongside the drive towards integrating legacy environments, your team must be aware that roles and responsibilities will change as the focus of service provisioning within the enterprise moves to either a service organization or hybrid IT solution. Taking on a broader view of business applications can be a challenge to adoption. As automation and user self-service replace many typical administrative tasks, it provides IT staff with more time to perform strategic work.
Are your IT consumers ready for a self-service model?
The nature of a self-service model means that non-technical users are given the ability to deploy IT services and solutions on demand. These services and solutions can cover a wide array of traditional IT areas and technologies such as:
- o Storage
- o Networking
- o Applications
- o Security
As a result, end users will need to be trained on these new service and solution offerings, in order to understand them and their proper positioning and usage within the enterprise.
Does your IT staff have the skills to address automation and orchestration?
Cloud initiatives require a lot more upfront customization work, and less long term upkeep to create a functioning platform. Your IT teams will need to have the expertise to create deployment templates for cloud services and solutions, as well as developing automation solutions to manage repetitive tasks across the platform.
Is your organization prepared to incorporate new approaches?
Cloud services and solutions are a different offering then traditional IT services that have been consumed by business units and departments up until now. As a result, new models that represent value and cost in different ways need to be brought forward to capture and represent the new opportunity costs that these models represent to the business.
- o Pay As You Go offers flexibility for consumers of cloud services, and is a “familiar” model that everyone has comfort with already, based on how we consume services in our private lives.
- o Chargeback tends to be more unpopular as a model, due to the fact that most business units and departments have been used to an “ all you can eat “ model that does not have accurate costing associated with it. As a result, most are not used to be told that they have to pay for a service, as it has historically been provided at a highly subsidized, or zero cost offering up until now.
Can your ITIL processes scale with the business and your service offerings?
With the self- service nature of some cloud services, as well as the fact that many cloud offerings are built around some sort of outsourced “ ___ As A Service “ model, where there is a third-party supplier providing one or more “traditional” IT services back to the business as an outsourced service provider, many IT environments find themselves in a radically different world post cloud implementation. With the real possibility that IT environments will potentially scale up and down rapidly and repeatedly within minutes to hours, multiple times during a business day, questions such as those below need to be addressed:
- o When do you start to monitor a system or solution?
- o When will a system be entered into the CMDB?
- o When should a system be removed from the CMDB?
How will recovery and availability be impacted by cloud adoption?
The estimated average cost of downtime for an enterprise is:
$ 163,000.00 USD / hour
To be successful in the cloud, IT must take the lead in revising continuity and disaster plans to ensure that they are aligned with the new services and solutions being offered. Although the cloud can improve your availability levels, migrating solo provides you with no guarantee, and the consequences can prove costly.
Have you established an IT Service Management (ITSM) solution within your organization?
In order to truly benefit from a move to the cloud, your organization needs to have a robust ITSM solution in place that can scale and handle the following areas:
- o Capacity Management
- o Service Catalog Management
- o Release Management
Are your applications a good fit for the cloud?
External facing and mission critical business applications make up approx. 60% of cloud usage in enterprise IT today. The need to determine which applications and solutions will scale well into the cloud and which may not is crucial to the success of the enterprise long term. The main reasons that IT decision makers have been reluctant to deploy to the cloud have been:
- o Control
- o Security
- o Infrastructure Limitations
If your applications are not a good fit for the cloud today, what will it take to get them there?
In order to fully maximize the opportunities that the cloud may provide for the enterprise, you will need to decide if your current applications and software platforms will support the cloud, or if they will hold you back. When looking to critically assess the enterprise’s applications, the following question may be helpful:
- o Are there versions available for alternate platforms, and/or a SaaS offering from a trusted vendor?
- o Do specific resource requirements present challenges to performance that need to be identified and overcome?
- o What is the ROI of rewriting the application for the cloud vs. running them within a traditional IT infrastructure?
- o Do current testing procedures allow you to validate the expected performance in the new environments?
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