Even though email, smart phones and iPads are great virtual communications devices, nothing beats the value you can gain from face-to-face time with your peers and other industry thought leaders. If you weren’t fortunate enough to attend the Cloud Connect conference in Chicago earlier this month, we’ve captured some of the highlights of and insights from the discussions during the Organizational Readiness track (which we were privileged to lead) for you:

  1. Change management comes to the fore – executive sponsorship and early successes are keys success factors for driving cloud-enabled transformation. While “top-down” CIO-driven programs are helpful in shifting culture and mindset, “bottom-up” adoption and innovation is also required to demonstrate the value of cloud models to skeptics. In many cases, new cloud initiatives need to be incubated and protected from the enterprise to provide freedom for experimentation. This kernel of wisdom was a result of our very interactive session with Matt O’Keefe (Morningstar), Keith Shinn (Fidelity) and Dave Roberts (ServiceMesh) about the hard choices in enterprise cloud adoption. Watch Dave in this video for tips on ensuring a successful cloud deployment in.

  2. “Shadow IT” isn’t a dirty phrase – corporate IT needs to focus its limited resources and time on the objectives and initiatives that are deemed to be highest priority. In many organizations this means focusing only on applications and infrastructure considered to be “mission-critical.” As an unfortunate result, many projects requested by the business fail to make the cut. Thus, it’s understandable if the business decides to “end-run” IT and go to the cloud. The cloud can give enterprises additional scale with limited IT budget and go deeper in the project stack. In fact, in many cases CIOs actually encourage their business counterparts to go to external cloud service providers. The key to success, however, according to Bates Turpen (formerly InterContinental Hotels Group) and David Falck (salesforce.com), is that IT leaders , help internal customers self-provision without losing control and help business users ask the “right” questions of potential cloud vendors.

  3. Culture changes within IT – not only is cloud reshaping the relationship between business and IT, it’s also starting to restructure the IT organization itself. The dev ops revolution is shifting IT from a CIO-driven model to a developer-driven decision-making model around infrastructure. Developers are making their own frontline choices around platforms and service providers that are then being aggregated up by managers, a distinct break from legacy models where platforms and infrastructure are mandated by the CIO. Also, as user experience becomes an integral part of a product, CIOs need to encourage their developers to think like a user and empower them to build a product from beginning to end. Watch Lauren Cooney (Cisco) talk more about the dev ops movement.

  4. Different clouds for different folks – common enterprise concerns around cloud continue to center around security, compliance, performance and vendor lock-in. We asked the experts on our “Current Thinking in Addressing Persistent Cloud Challenges” panel, Paul Burns (Neovise) and Troy Angrignon (Cloudscaling), how to best address these questions. Their answer was : “It depends” (which is a much better answer than the vendor community could deliver just a few years ago). Options across public and private, and enterprise virtualization and elastic infrastructure clouds, provide new answers to these issues for both legacy and new applications, but also must be carefully evaluated.

  5. Adoption is about innovation – in conjunction with the Chicago conference, we conducted a joint survey with Cloud Connect on enterprise cloud adoption patterns. While most service providers think enterprises are migrating to the cloud for total cost of ownership (TCO) reasons, agility, innovation and flexibility are actually the drivers. Thus, there’s a glaringly apparent  disconnect between vendors that are focused on selling next generation infrastructure to IT, and businesses that want cloud platforms to drive top line revenue. Download the complimentary survey results.

If you attended Cloud Connect, our readers would enjoy hearing what you took away from the conference sessions, as well as your concerns, issues and successes on cloud adoption within your enterprise, so feel free to share away!

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