3 roadblocks to avoid in your cloud journey

Challenges ahead.jpgUse cloud to transform your business. Sounds simple, right? But it’s not that easy. You need to think about more than technical issues. Culture, processes, skill sets, and change management all play a strategic role in smoothing your path to the cloud.  What happens when you neglect these factors? Consider this cautionary tale of a large enterprise customer, who turned to my colleagues to sort out their private cloud missteps and transform IT into an internal service provider.

 

Imagine if you went to a home improvement store and bought a bunch of two-by-fours, brackets, hammers, and nails, then came home and started to build a house. You have no blueprint, no architectural drawings, and no dimensions. You could raise a structure but it might not turn out the way you expect or everything may not work together.  That’s what it’s like when you embark on building private cloud without thinking through the key points such as: 

  

  • What is the business outcome you want? Do you want to speed the rate of innovation, reduce IT costs, or improve business agility?
  • What are the business and regulatory requirements? How complex is your IT environment today?
  • Which part of your organization you want to transform first? What is the timeline? What are the key milestones?
  • How do you measure success or progress? What are some of the key metrics?
  • Do you have the required expertise in house to lead the transformation to cloud?

 

By answering these questions first, you can create a strategy and high level roadmap for your cloud journey.  If you don’t have the expertise and know-how, you can partner with a trusted partner such as HP Cloud Professional Services to help you create a detailed blueprint to transform your IT environment, applications, processes and staff skillsets and to stave off the roadblocks that may derail you.

                                                                                                                                                                                       

Roadblock #1: Poor internal alignment

 

The first stumbling block for this enterprise was that while the CIO is ready to embrace cloud computing to transform the way they do business, its direct staff was unprepared and not well aligned for the change. Confusion around IT’s role resulted in a disconnect between the IT executives and the IT group.

                                                 

To have a successful transformation, you need to have internal alignment at every level, from executive management to mid-level management to the people down in the trenches developing applications and managing the infrastructure. If IT thinks that it has 12 months to roll out an application, and the line of business expects the solution in three months, then there’s a big mismatch in expectations that can result in frustration and missed business opportunities.

                                                                                                                                                                                            

To achieve better alignment, IT management needs to transform the skill set and mind set of their IT staff and to transition from being a manager of infrastructure to a manager of services. The key aspects of the transition include:

                                                                                                                                   

  • A customer-service centric focus
  • A formal organizational structure with defined roles
  • A formal communication strategy and plan

 

Roadblock #2: Lack of governance and process maturity within the IT organization

 

Another major hurdle impeding this company’s private cloud implementation was a lack of governance and process maturity. After standing up virtualized compute and storage resources, IT failed to consider how to manage the various and often competing demands from the lines of business. The result was an ongoing cycle of project delays, changing priorities, and configuration changes.

 

You can build the best cloud infrastructure but if you don’t govern and manage it, it will not serve your business well. In order to become the internal service provider of shared services, IT needs to develop a unified service management for infrastructure and applications, including practices such as service portfolio management, and change and configuration management.

                                                                                                                                                                        

Roadblock #3: An inability to demonstrate value

 

This enterprise also lacked a specific method for charging back IT services to the business. In order to demonstrate value, the CIO and IT managers need a way to show usage of their IT services. This enterprise lacked the ability to reveal how IT was contributing to business success.

 

In order to accurately portray the value of IT, you need to report on a monthly or quarterly basis how much of the IT services, whether be cloud or traditional services each business unit is consuming. By implementing service level agreement metrics, IT can deliver evidence that it is providing valuable services to the business.

 

Manage, govern, and transform

 

By putting a management framework in place, instituting proper governance, and most importantly, aligning IT with the needs of the business, you can be better assured of a successful cloud journey.  To learn more about Cloud transformation services, visit HP Cloud Professional Services. For more information on HP Cloud, visit www.hp.com/cloud.

Labels: Cloud| cloud journey
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