2015 – Time for Cohesive Cloud Strategy

In 2007 while I was at Thinstall/VMware,  I predicted and crafted the vision for Universal Clients – applications and data that follows the user regardless of network, device or connectivity.  Although 30 out of 40 customers I had interviewed indicated they desired this ability even then – those of us in the industry knew it would take years for not only the underlying infrastructure technology to evolve but the people and processes overseeing them.  Why? Because the current implementations of ITIL and Business Service Management were created prior to and in parallel with the adoption of Cloud solutions and still need to be revised to embrace changes in the market and these new technology advances.

The Forbes article with Gartner’s predictions for 2015 is an interesting article on how the cloud will evolve into a hybrid model well into 2015.  How the Top 5 Cloud Trends will Impact the Enterprise in 2015 – Forbes.  What is interesting about the Forbes article is that even  the top analyst at Gartner still lose sight of the fact that ALL companies have had some form of hybrid cloud solution in place for several years.  What the Nexus of Forces overlooks are the root causes driving what I had coined the “Clash in the Cloud” and fueling the growing appetite for Universal Clients.

Based on my research for iSpeak Cloud – Companies need to focus on creating a Cohesive Cloud Strategy and addressing the underlying causes that are creating Cloud Sprawl and Stall to be successful in their cloud initiatives.  Many of the companies I interviewed stated they had any where from 160-300 cloud based applications that IT was unaware of come up in their cloud audits. This reflects an epidemic that needs to be addressed to reduce the risks of increases costs and being out of compliance with key business, security and regulatory directives.

In 2015 Company’s need to create a Cohesive Cloud Strategy that focuses on the following critical elements:

1) Address growing Digital Native workforce.  Putting up guardrails and policies to control but not hinder the growing population of Digital Natives whose use of technology was developed in their formative years when they learned basic communication and life skills – birth to five.  These individuals are more prone to subconsciously gravitate toward alternative solutions to gain work life balance and simply get their jobs done without thinking about policies in place.

2) Refactoring business cases for Cloud.  The Cloud changes the dynamics of your business case.  Many IT and Business Executives alike are caught off guard when they find that their Business Case for Cloud may be more expensive then the solution they were replacing due to loss in depreciation benefits.  Companies need to change their modeling to reflect the lifespan of the service and include other hidden costs to insure what they are selecting – private, public or hybrid meets the cost objectives.  Otherwise more often then not IT is stretched too thin due to increase cuts due to business cases that understate costs and overstate value.

3) Creation of Cloud Governance Committee.  Early attempts at a Cohesive Cloud Strategy have typically failed because they were driven solely by IT or by a subset of players for political reasons.  In order for companies to be successful they need to have a Cloud Governance Committee that consists of Business, Legal, Finance, IT, and Security at a minimum.  Word of Caution: Do not give away your cloud strategy or policies to a Cloud Service Broker as these areas are mission critical to the business and need to be governed by those that understand it best.

4) Make it a goal to address Shadow IT across Business and IT.  The Cloud Governance Committee should address and provide guardrails to slow down and/or significantly reduce Shadow IT.   Business Leaders would need to commit to quit hiring technical resources so they can circumvent IT only to find out later that the business case excluded key costs or requirements such as disaster recovery or business continuity.

5) Create and enforce policies and precedence for compliance of your Hybrid Cloud Environment.  Regardless of what analyst is saying the inconvenient truth is that companies already have Hybrid Cloud Solutions.  Because many of those solutions were adopted under the radar this leaves the Company at great risk of exposure to not being in compliance with key License, Business, and Regulatory requirements.   Company’s need to audit to see what they have, assess the risk to the business and put policies and procedures in place for addressing both current and future risks.   Contractors can help in the short term but unless the root causes are addressed this will only continue to be an issue for years to come.

6) Adjust People and Processes along with Cloud Technology beyond current ITIL and Business Service Management framework.  As one of the thought leaders behind Business Service Management at Marimba/BMC – I can say that this area really needs to be revisited and revised to address the newer technologies, hybrid cloud implementations, lack of involvement of key stakeholders from the Business, usage of Big Data, and compliance changes. The Cohesive Cloud Strategy should include training and uplifting critical resources to address skills shortages, incorporate a compliance first architecture/policy, services driven by joint business cases (Business & IT), and an enhanced asset management framework across hybrid infrastructures.

In our workshop on iSpeak Cloud we provide the framework that can assist company’s in creating their Cohesive Cloud Strategy to not only address Cloud Sprawl and Stall but the compliance risks to their business.   We provide templates and guidance based on real world implementation experience and interviews from Fortune 2000 companies to address process enhancements needed to the current frameworks.  For more information on the workshops please follow the link to register or contact me at jmorain71@gmail.com.



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