You Want the Cloud? You Can’t Handle the Cloud! | Gaining Altitude in the Cloud

Posted On September 26, 2011

If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. This oft-repeated mantra is one of the many cornerstones of IT governance. It serves as a reminder of the importance of measuring those outcomes that matter. So what’s all the hubbub about cloud governance? It’s just another compute and software delivery platform, right? Governance is governance, right?

With the increasing adoption of cloud solutions, organizations are quickly discovering that the traditional application of supplier governance and measurements do not effectively translate to cloud solutions. For example:

  • Several cloud services do not offer traditional service guarantees –  e.g., accuracy, speed, fidelity, and availability –  or means to measure the desired outcomes
  • When service levels are offered, they are rarely customizable to the buyer’s needs, e.g., measurement period, or frequency
  • Cloud providers often do not support a joint governance model but rather put forward a take-it-or-leave-it solution
  • IT services are being purchased outside the IT organization by employees throughout the enterprise, causing a variety of internal governance issues, including:
    • Duplicate services creating increased costs and operational confusion with regards to solution performance and responsibility
    • New integration issues with current systems aren’t considered
    • Strategic data becomes increasingly disaggregated from central decision repositories

Compounding these issues is the emerging practice of best-of-breed solutions. These models, when successfully implemented, spread much of an enterprise’s application services across a broad set of suppliers. But, when you want to measure cross functional performance, say in order-to-cash, how do you actually do it?

With more service providers supporting your environment dictating their own service levels, when they are even available, and ringing a death knell to end-to-end service levels, what’s a governance group to do?

To answer this and related questions, our perception of governance must fundamentally change. For example, managing consumption of cloud services will have to be far more internally focused on managing end users. When employees can purchase services in the same time it takes to type sixteen digits, the IT organization and governance function will need the agility of a world-class athlete.

The newly required form of governance has to address multiple challenges, including:

  • Defining cloud computing use policies
  • Managing the organization to enterprise-approved use of a readily available cloud services
  • Removing barriers to computing needs to quickly enable compliant consumption of cloud services
  • Determining how and when services migrate from traditional to cloud environments
  • Shifting workload to quickly lower compute costs
  • Managing demand in a new world with practically infinite supply

Stay tuned as we continue the conversation in an effort to dive deeper and discuss these and other topics for governing the next generation of IT services.

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