Thinking of Becoming a Cloud SuperHero ?

Cloud Super Hero

I remembered during my younger days (donkey years ago) when I was enlisted for national service like every Singaporean  men,  we had  go through medical examination to be certified medically fit for national service duties.  The medical examination was an “eye opener” experience as we had at some point , performed hilarious  stunts that defy common sense(at least during that time, it was totally perplexing for me) but that was not the main point.  Anyway, the medical examination justifiably  ensured that any person enlisted  is physically fit to go through  3 month of grueling basic military training.

In the same context, any organization that is considering cloud initiatives. It would be wise (or even mandatory) to conduct a cloud readiness assessment (either internally or hiring a consulting firm) else you get caught in a situation that  you discovered midway (worse end of the project)  through your cloud project that it is doomed for failure and your name instantly make it to the hate list of your business users.

So, what are critical areas that are key in a cloud readiness assessment?  What are the key concerns to be address and mindful when you perform a cloud readiness assessment  in-house or engage an external consultancy firm. Below are 5 pointers for you.

Strategy

When deploying any new IT initiatives, its success largely depends on how tightly is the IT Capabilities aligned with business needs. To ensure the effort achieves immediate goals as well as supports the entire cloud computing journey,

The following are the key next steps.

  • Test-drive cloud that involves multiple constituents and services; document costs and realized benefits to feed into the development of a long-term strategy.
  • Build a business case for cloud computing expansion beyond a few isolated projects and use cases.
  • Involve the right stakeholders across IT and the business to articulate the longer term business value of cloud computing for your company, and gain support and budget for the initiative.

 Processes

Cloud transformation involves new ways of doing things. Understanding the impact of the new infrastructure on service delivery, release management, services management, resolution management and other processes in the organization is critical to avoid operational issues, and achieve maximum efficiency and service quality. With that understanding, you can also adjust your existing processes to better support cloud operations. The goal is to design the right IT processes appropriate for the infrastructure to drive efficiency, scalability and reliability.

Infrastructure

Once the defined strategy shows clear alignment with business and IT goals, the capabilities of the future infrastructure needs to be identified. It is important to ensure the new cloud architecture aligns with the existing IT architecture to ensure maximum compatibility and re-use of existing resources.  Determine the desired capabilities of your cloud architecture; perform gap analysis between your existing architecture and where you want to be.

Technology

Technology review is mandatory to ensure that the recommended architecture can be deployed by extending existing infrastructure and tools across cloud environments. It is critical to identify upfront what existing technologies can be leveraged or requires maintenance, and what new technologies should be acquired and integrated.  Identify physical and virtual infrastructure, storage, networks, applications and the surrounding ecosystem.   It is prudent that you use technology that enables application portability across public and private cloud environments for future hybrid clouds models.

People and Organization

Organizational barriers are an infamous inhibitor of successful deployment of new IT strategies –usually a result of lack of a governance model, and skills and training. To successfully adopt cloud computing, services must now be created and shared by multiple constituents across the enterprise. Successful sharing of these services and processes require a governance framework – collaboration and decision-making policies that specify accountability for each stakeholder. Understanding and creation of roles and skills to ensure company-wide adoption to support cloud computing is an often over-looked area. IT’s role is evolving with cloud computing and new skills are required in this new enterprise cloud infrastructure.  It is imperative that metrics are quickly identified to audit the benefits realized through the cloud experimentation.

Embarking on the Cloud  can turn out to be a ardous journey without doing your due diligence.  Making sure that you have not been short changed can make the difference between you becoming a worshipped superhero or a abhorrent villian.