How to avoid creating cloud chaos in your enterprise

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Louise Ng has more than 25 years in multiple IT positions across a variety of industries. At HP, she specializes in leading large-scale projects that deliver quality services through process optimization.

 

Any time a disruptive technology comes along, the tendency is to focus on the technology itself rather than how it might change our IT and business models. In the rush to adopt the next big thing, organizations weaken governance and control; as a result, many struggle to achieve the benefits and value of the latest technology wave. Cloud is a perfect example.

 

When each line of business builds its own cloud or purchases cloud services from a provider, the resulting proliferation of uncoordinated cloud services in aggregate may not ultimately benefit the enterprise. It is possible to avoid this scenario. But first you have to understand cloud in context.

 

Data distribution comes full circle—and brings tradeoffs—with cloud adoption

Cloud is an operating model. Technology enables the cloud operating model, of course, but the disruptive aspect of cloud is not the underlying technology, but rather how data is used differently than it was when you built, managed and maintained all of your IT services in-house.

 

Back in the ’80s, we went from everything consolidated on a mainframe to localized client-server computing. Suddenly the data was distributed away from a monolithic repository, and it became unique to the operation that was using it. Then in the ’90s, with the Internet, we accelerated the sharing and usage of data by allowing the data to be more accessible to a broader audience. This decentralized the use of data and at times created security challenges for enterprises. Now the pressure is on to expand the pipe even more and let enterprise data be visible to a larger audience in the cloud. But with individual LOBs creating their own service delivery capability using clouds, it’s becoming harder than ever for enterprises to see all the data they need in one place. Without controls over how the data is shared, you create another form of decentralized IT sprawl.

 

Governance heads off cloud chaos

The solution is governance. If you don’t have governance at the CXO level—rules of engagement for cloud based services—lines of business will take their budgets and do whatever they want. I’ve seen many organizations that essentially go to the cloud for each business unit or function. With some of our clients, if we didn’t raise our hands and let them know, we could have ended up selling them multiple instances of the same solution. The result: cloud chaos.

 

You’re less likely to find yourself in a state of cloud chaos if you answer questions such as:

  • Are we using the data efficiently across the enterprise?
  • Have we met the expectation of the enterprise mission and goals?
  • Have we used IT operations effectively?
  • Can we measure and manage the expected outcomes of our plan of record?

 

Without setting some straightforward, easy-to-follow policies, you could end up jeopardizing the integrity and quality of data in your enterprise, making decisions cumbersome and difficult to achieve. Overall, the enterprise could end up spending more money than it saves for the sake of moving to the cloud faster.

 

You need to set up governance that ensures alignment between the business strategy and the use of IT, including:

  • Services architecture
  • Business services management
  • Enterprise data architecture
  • Data sharing
  • Compliance requirements
  • Service costing and budget limitations                   

There are tradeoffs you have to consider when you look at enterprise-wide cloud adoption. To gain the agility, do you eliminate the need for compliance? To achieve flexibility, do you disregard the constraints of the enterprise strategy over specific LOB use cases? Of course, you shouldn’t have to sacrifice compliance for agility or enterprise strategy for flexibility. But you can’t shove these issues under the rug.

 

Build on a foundation of service lifecycle management

What we’re finding in this sprint toward automation and cloud is that some of the governing principles aren’t solid; the foundation hasn’t been built. So with many of our customers, looking under the covers reveals that their service delivery problems relate to standard operations issues that are typical of basic service management functions. Of course, you can’t solve this instantly. In HP Software Professional Services, we help customers move through these steps:

 

  1. Look at current states and set your sights to the future state through a journey.
  2. Establish a solid foundation of practices that supports service lifecycle management, which clarifies the expectation between the business and IT.
  3. Apply the appropriate operating model to that service or need.

The operating model could be cloud or something else. But what you are aiming for is a foundation of service lifecycle management. To learn more about how you can better manage private, public, or hybrid cloud environments and cut through cloud chaos, see hp.com/go/CSA.

 

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