Category: Gaining Altitude in the Cloud

Video Interview: Balancing Cloud Decisions between Executive Team and Business Unit | Gaining Altitude in the Cloud

At CloudConnect 2012, Everest Group’s Marvin Newell moderated a lively panel discussion on next generation IT governance. The panelists included Thomas Barton, Global Enterprise Architect at Novartis Pharmaceuticals; Jeromy Carriere, Chief Architect at X.commerce; and Erik Sebesta, Chief Architect and Technology Officer at CloudTP.

The panel focused on the governance concept of holding on loosely but not letting go. Though executive buy-in is important for cost-efficient and holistic migration to the cloud, the business unit knows operations and needs the best.

In the third CloudConnect video interview of the series, Erik Sebesta answers the question: How does one balance the decision-making between the executive team and the business unit?

In case you missed the first blog, this is the second video interview of a series we taped at CloudConnect 2012 in Santa Clara. Everest Group’s Scott Bils chaired the Organizational Readiness track and enlisted an impressive lineup of speakers.

Watch the first video, featuring Francesco Paola of Cloudscaling.

Watch the second video, featuring Simon Wardley of the Leading Edge Forum.

Watch the last video, featuring Clayton Pippenger of Quest.

Video Interview: Simon Wardley on Cloud Adoption Inertia | Gaining Altitude in the Cloud

In my last blog, you watched Francesco Paola’s response to CIOs’ willingness to fund a “cloud account team.” Another resistance an enterprise could face is the agnostic feeling towards the cloud promise and the resulting reluctance to move to the public cloud at the opportune time because of its perceived insecurity compared to the private cloud.

In today’s video interview, Simon Wardley, researcher for the CSC Leading Edge Forum, answers the question: Do you think enterprises who are adopting private clouds over public clouds are fighting the inertia due to computing utility? 

Simon also added to his first response by explaining how organizations can transform themselves to fight this inertia efficiently.

 

In case you missed the first blog, this is the second video interview of a series we taped at CloudConnect 2012 in Santa Clara. Everest Group’s Scott Bils chaired the Organizational Readiness track and enlisted an impressive lineup of speakers.

Watch the first video, featuring Francesco Paola of Cloudscaling.

Watch the third video, featuring Erik Sebesta of CloudTP.

Watch the last video, featuring Clayton Pippenger of Quest.

Video Interview: How Willing are CIOs to Fund a “Cloud Adoption Team”? | Gaining Altitude in the Cloud

Last week, Everest Group was in Santa Clara at CloudConnect 2012, the defining event of the cloud computing industry. Produced by UBM TechWeb, Cloud Connect brought together IT professionals, developers, infrastructure and service providers, and cloud computing innovators at the Santa Clara Convention Center for a three-day conference.

Our Next Generation IT Practice Leader Scott Bils chaired the Organizational Readiness track, which focused on best practices for enterprises adopting cloud technologies.

One of the track’s sessions titled “Will Culture Eat Your Strategy? How to Turn the Tables” focused on how cloud migration fundamentally changes the way things have always operated. Going to the cloud requires more than merely adopting the technology; rather, it requires an underlining cultural shift and that demands more than a memo saying, “We’ve gone to the cloud. Call IT if you have questions.”

I caught up with Francesco Paola, Vice President of Client Services at Cloudscaling, who was one of the session’s panelists to ask him the million-dollar question: How willing are CIOs to fund a “Cloud Account Team” to drive the adoption of the cloud?

Watch Francesco’s response:

Watch the second video, featuring Simon Wardley of the Leading Edge Forum.

Watch the third video, featuring Erik Sebesta of CloudTP.

Watch the last video, featuring Clayton Pippenger of Quest.

Lessons for Procuring Cloud Services at the Enterprise Level: Part 2 | Gaining Altitude in the Cloud

In Part 1 of this blog series on lessons to help you avoid potential challenges and surprises while on the road to the cloud, we looked at procuring cloud services, application and workload analysis, evaluating cloud services, the end-state environment, and making TCO work. Following are our final five lessons

6. Active Management of the Environment – To make their solutions cost effective, cloud service providers (CSPs) have architected their cloud environments to a predetermined set of standard technologies and service levels. The buyer must thoroughly evaluate the technologies and service levels proposed by the CSP to determine whether it can live with these, or otherwise end up paying more. Organizationally, the buyer should also consider a new role – cloud manager –whose purpose is to actively manage the cloud resources made available by the self-provisioning portal, i.e., provision and de-provision virtual machines (VMs) per demand. For example, there is no need to dedicate a physical server (or VM) on a full time basis for the QA or testing of an application that is only rarely changed. In this case, the appropriate course would be to store an image of the specific application, and only spin-up a new VM and download the image when changes are required, this way avoiding a recurring monthly charge for a VM that is available 24×7.

7. Transition – Although a case may be made for the potential savings of utilizing a cloud solution on a recurring basis, the transition costs may make doing so unattractive. Indeed, transition (supplier fees and internal transition expenses) may come close to costing as much as the first year billing of a cloud solution. Given that many times a CSP is expected to transition for a fixed fee and to a specific deadline, risks tend to creep in and overhead may be added to its transition fees. Additionally, these transitions usually occur in waves. The first wave proves the approach and validates the details of the plan via with a workload or group of servers that are not critical to the business. After evaluating the results of the first wave, plan changes and enhancements are made for subsequent waves. To avoid interruption to the business users, the cutovers usually occur over weekends, which make the transition take longer. We recommend jointly developing a detailed plan with the CSP to mitigate risks, clearly assigning responsibilities, and working out the details in areas in which the CSP perceives greater risk.

8. Disaster Recovery (DR) – A CSP may offer a primary site for production and non-production (development, test, and QA) workloads, and a secondary site for DR. Recovery time objectives (RTO) and recovery point objectives (RPO) requirements will drive the cost for DR, especially for data replication when a short RPO is required. A potential cost effective alternative is to dedicate the primary site for production purposes only, and the secondary site for non-production. In case of a declared DR event, production would be switched to the secondary site until the primary site is operational. The drawback to this approach is that the non-production environment would be unavailable until the primary site is again up and running.

9. Cloud Manager – Expanding a bit on the cloud manager role we touched upon briefly above…this individual would be responsible for extracting the greatest use of the cloud environment in the most cost effective way by actively monitoring the utilization levels of the environment, and making decisions whether to scale up or down for any given application or workload. The buyer should note that the skills required for this role may not exist in the organization and may be necessary to obtain outside the organization.  The skills required are not necessarily technical in nature, but rather an IT business management profile would be best suited given that the cloud manager would work directly with the CSP to plan for changes and utilization peaks to ensure it is prepared in advance for increased/decreased demand.

10. Pricing – In most cases, Software as a Service (SaaS) is priced by user, (and possibly by user profile), and thus can be precisely allocated back at the departmental level. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) does not identify usage at the end user level, but rather is typically invoiced at the VM level. For applications/workloads that run on a specific VM and belong to a particular department, the allocation is clean. The cost allocation for end users from multiple departments that access the same applications that run on multiple VMs is difficult to achieve at the VM level. Achieving the desired goal of invoicing IaaS services by end user/department would require software that analyzes utilization at the database level (where transactions are stored by end user ID) attached to the application.

As we noted in Part 1 of this blog series, moving from a legacy IT environment to the cloud is not trivial…it’s fraught with expenses, challenges, and making decisions – even trade-offs – in still unchartered waters. We believe these 10 procuring cloud services lessons will help you take the right steps on the path to cloud success.

Grief Counseling for the CIO | Gaining Altitude in the Cloud

The accommodation and integration of disruptive technologies into the enterprise IT ecosystem is a significant issue for IT executives. And just as distributed computing did 20 years ago, successful adoption of cloud computing in its many forms requires substantial change across the IT enterprise. The rapid pace of innovation and ability of business users to deploy cloud services without IT involvement are raising these issues much faster than past transformation waves.

At Cloud Connect in Santa Clara, CA, on February 15, I’m going to have a “fireside chat” to discuss this “keeps me awake at night” issue. While I’m sure the conversation will take some unexpected turns, I plan to navigate our talk to some of the more challenging factors enterprise IT organizations face as they embrace cloud.

  • A different mindset – To be able to fully leverage the benefits of the cloud service model, IT organizations are finding they have to adjust a number of strongly held beliefs that have served them well in supporting their current environments but constrain them as they move into the next generation cloud world. These include changing their orientation and thinking about how and when to provide customization for both applications and infrastructure, embracing the power of speed to impact by utilizing commonly available components, adjusting expectations about how security and compliance issues can be resolved…and many more. Indeed, there are a significant number of mindset adjustments that, when taken together, present a steep learning curve and cultural change requirement.
  • A new framework for IT architecture – As enterprises embrace cloud service models, they find that the existing architectures, frameworks, methods, and processes need to be adjusted, and, in some cases rethought and reinvented.  .
  • A new orientation toward innovation – One of the more difficult aspects of the new cloud world is the dilemma posed by a constantly evolving marketplace with a wide array of attractive options at competitive prices. The quick access to robust functionality allows and often encourages business units and other empowered stakeholders to experiment with cloud tools and applications. If they find the functionality useful, they often scale its use, creating new layers of technology outside the constraints of IT policy, compliance, and security. The lack of widely accepted industry standards and APIs and the constant evolution of the underlying technologies further complicates the enterprise IT agenda. Traditional approaches IT organizations utilize to evaluate, integrate, and mange the introduction of applications and technologies are often unable to accommodate these conditions without restricting the very flexibility and choice that make cloud services so attractive. The result of these challenges drives many IT executives to reexamine their approach to innovation, and challenges them to adopt new thinking about the lifecycle of technology, how integration is accomplished, and compliance is assured.
  • Alterations to policies, processes, and the organization – As enterprises more deeply embrace these next generation technologies and associated changes, they find that to fully capture the benefits they must revisit some of their long held policies, adjust many of their existing processes, and facilitate and reinforce these with organizational alignment and change. New skills are required, other skills are in less demand, and the old ways interfere with or constrain progress in the new world. In most cases, these adjustments that will enable successful leverage of cloud computing must take place simultaneously with protection and maintenance of the work that will continue to be delivered from the legacy environment.

As we reflect on the size, scale, and depth of the changes cloud computing drives, I want to press my discussion partner(s) to think back to our experience with the adoption of distributed computing. We are now 20 years into that journey, and many enterprises are finding that they still maintain some applications in a mainframe environment. While it’s not possible to know how long the cloud expedition will take, it seems prudent to believe that most enterprises will be on it for at least a number of years. And, as with distributed computing, we may find that some workloads have a very long tail.

Given the realities of most large IT enterprises, it is clear that in most cases we can’t expect to achieve a clean break, making it likely that the legacy organization and the people in it will have to balance the realities of the new world while dealing with the old. As IT executives contemplate the journey ahead, they can be forgiven for nostalgia for the status quo. While our conversation next Wednesday will not solve all the problems, the grief counseling may at least help us sleep better.

Lessons for Procuring Cloud Services at the Enterprise Level: Part 1 | Gaining Altitude in the Cloud

So you’ve read tomes of information on the benefits cloud computing can deliver to your enterprise, are sold, and have already defined a cloud computing strategy and adoption approach. Great. But breaking away from your existing IT environment is far from a trivial exercise and will prove time consuming and costly. To help you avoid potential challenges and surprises, we’ve identified 10 lessons that will assist you in taking the right steps on the path to the cloud. Following are our first five lessons; next time, we’ll address five more.

1. Procuring Cloud Services – Over the years, most organizations have made significant investments in facilities, hardware, software, architecture, etc., that will either be replaced or changed when they adopt cloud computing. Some will consider the move upon reaching a refresh cycle, others at the end of an application’s life, and others still when they can no longer continue operating in older, unsecure facilities. Regardless of the timing driver, we recommend anticipating the end, and rather than making capital investments in replacing old technology, begin proactively evaluating the commercial offerings of multiple Cloud Service Providers (CSPs). In our experience, the CSPs will end up proposing very different solutions, in part based on the enterprise’s specific infrastructure environment, but primarily on their own organization’s evolution as a CSP. Note that an incumbent provider may not be the best option.

2. Application and Workload Analysis – To better assist CSPs in developing a solution that is well suited to the buyer’s specific requirements, we recommend an application to server analysis be conducted. This will highlight the several attributes of the applications/workloads that the CSP will need to best determine the right environment in which to place each application/workload. These attributes include, but are not limited to application criticality and dependencies, data sensitivity, security and compliance requirements, number of end users and their distribution, latency, data volumes, disaster recovery time and point objectives, operating system currency, etc.

3. Evaluating Cloud Services –From a marketing perspective, most CSPs’ claims of cloud computing capabilities appear credible and viable. But the truth is that there is great variance among CSPs.  The best fit choice will be the CSP with capabilities in the areas that are important to the buyer. Examples include experience running ERP on a public or private cloud (whichever the buyer prefers), ability to self-provision virtual machines (VMs) in less than an hour, a pay-by-time-used model, pricing differentiated by the infrastructure being utilized and the man-power required to run operations and support, and the ability to provide end-to-end services beyond the cloud computing component. We recommend developing a precise questionnaire and performing joint solutioning sessions to uncover the true capabilities of each prospective CSP, and checking client references with similar environments.

4. The End-State Environment (Private versus Public Cloud) – Some CSPs are still proposing physical servers under the guise of a dedicated private cloud with a minimum commitment. In this model, the buyer still pays for physical servers, although presumably less than the current environment through virtualization. Ideally, and depending on the bursting attributes of the underlying applications, the ideal scenario is a public or hybrid model wherein the buyer may purchase the base (or minimum compute required), and buy additional compute as needed.

5. Making the TCO work – Organizations may look into cloud computing with the expectation of significant cost reduction. But this may be hard to achieve if the enterprise is already spending less than it ideally should be. This underspend may be evident in lack of services (e.g., gaps in ITIL implementation), services levels (service delivery based on a best effort) and end user dissatisfaction (business units procuring IT services outside of central IT). The reality is that while cloud may help avoid capital investments, the organization must realize that a move to the cloud brings with it an underlying infrastructure and capabilities that if procured separately would be much more costly to the buyer. When doing an apples-to-apples comparison, the buyer must realize that a procured cloud solution provides a level of robustness to which its existing infrastructure may not compare. To make the total cost of ownership (TCO) work, organizations must determine a baseline spend that is not necessarily what they pay today.

That’s the end of our cloud procurement lessons for today. Next time, five more.

Cloud Beyond the Borders – Part 2: Europe | Gaining Altitude in the Cloud

In Part 1 of this blog series, we talked about cloud computing drivers and challenges in Asia. This time Europe is our beyond the borders cloud viewing destination.

Europe does not face many of the hindrances to cloud adoption that developing countries do. European power supplies are reliable, it has excellent data connectivity to the world, and the rule of law prevails. But regulatory issues remain.

Even though Europe is a common market, its 27 member states do not have a regulatory regime that provides a coherent EU-wide backdrop for cloud computing. The example I used in my blog on cloud computing in Asia that cited Indonesian’s data in Singapore or China applies just as well to German’s data in French and British data centers. Service providers, including Microsoft, HP, IBM, and Google, are joined by customers in leading an increasingly loud call for enactment of a coherent regulatory regime. Neelie Kroes, Vice President of the European Commission responsible for the Digital Agenda for Europe, has made this a priority for her office. Still, according to Per Dahlberg, CEO of the Asia Cloud Computing Association, Europe, in general, is about 18 months behind the United States in enterprise cloud adoption, putting it squarely between the United States and Asia.

In an interesting twist, European cloud providers are realizing that strong data protection laws may provide a competitive advantage over established U.S. players. In June 2011, Microsoft announced that, as a U.S.-based company, the Patriot Act requires it to release data to the U.S. government, upon request, without regard to where in the world Microsoft has stored that data. Soon after, several companies in North America and Europe, including defense contractor BAE Systems, Royal Dutch Shell, and the provincial health insurance system of British Columbia, announced they would cancel contracts with U.S.-based cloud services providers. Royal Dutch Shell moved its cloud data storage from Microsoft to a German firm, T-Systems. As T-Systems’ CEO  Reinhard Clemens told reporters, “The Americans say that no matter what happens, I’ll release the data to the government if I’m forced to do so, from anywhere in the world. That’s why we’re well-positioned if we can say we’re a European provider in a European legal sphere and no American can get to them.”

Despite Europe’s competitive advantages in data protection, a final hindrance seems to be European companies themselves. Informa’s Telecom Cloud Monitor reported that, in 2011, Europe accounted for only seven percent of global investment in the cloud. European firms tend to be much more risk-averse than American or Asian ones, and so far seem to prefer using the IT infrastructure they already have. But as existing systems are retired, and as the EU develops a regulatory framework, there is every reason to expect European firms will join those in the United States and Asia in the cloud.

With its first-rate infrastructure and world-class data protection laws, Europe is poised to be a major participant in the global IT cloud. As European firms realize the competitive advantage of stronger privacy standards in their home countries, American and Asian firms would be wise to learn what standards the market comes to expect.

Conclusion

While North America is projected to maintain a 50 percent share of cloud investment in the next several years, rapidly rising interest and capability will fuel investment in Europe – and Asia. These are driven by a variety of factors including broadband penetration, increased mobility, and the need to be globally competitive. But as physical infrastructure develops to meet cloud requirements, cloud uptake everywhere will begin to increasingly hinge on regulatory environments. Specifically, it will require a well-understood framework that defines jurisdiction and data protection. As these questions are settled, companies will soar in the cloud.

Is your Company on the “Observer,” “Opportunist,” “Solutioner” – or another – Cloud Adoption Path? | Gaining Altitude in the Cloud

Wondering where, how, and why CIOs and enterprises are adopting cloud, and what they’re doing to make cloud services a practical reality in their organizations? If so, you’re not alone. The reality is that significant confusion exists among both CIOs and cloud service providers (CSPs) around what’s really happening in the enterprise market. And this is understandable, as the variables in and dynamics of the cloud market are truly unprecedented.

But our recent discussions with over 50 CIOs and IT executives at Global 2000 organizations have demonstrated that a set of enterprise cloud adoption paths are beginning to emerge, each of which is driven by variations on a number of dimensions.

Here’s how we characterize the companies following each of these new paths to the cloud:

Observers

These enterprises are taking a “we’ll get there when we’re ready” stance on cloud adoption. While IT executives in these organizations recognize the agility, flexibility, and cost benefits of cloud models, they do not feel a compelling business or IT need exists to begin migration today. Indeed, instead of proactive exploration, they are more comfortable waiting for an adoption trigger.

Opportunists

In these organizations, cloud is primarily opportunistic business unit (BU) or functional adoption of SaaS applications and collaboration tools. The IT groups in these organizations largely believe that although valuable, cloud services are evolutionary, and just another tool in the toolkit, and there is little, if any, centralized management or governance.

Solutioners

These enterprises are more systematically approaching cloud adoption by identifying, prioritizing, and deploying cloud for use cases particularly well-suited for public or private cloud delivery models. In these organizations, both IT and BUs (sometimes collaboratively) are pursuing a programmatic approach to migration. The focus is not on developing a comprehensive strategy across the entire application or workload portfolio, but rather on identifying “low hanging fruit” for use cases that can deliver immediate, demonstrable impact.

Transformers

Enterprises following this path are leveraging cloud technologies to drive wide-scale IT transformation or modernization programs across their complete application and workload portfolio. CIOs in these enterprises are seen as change agents seeking to transform the responsiveness and delivery capabilities of their IT organizations, are working to understand and assess the governance, management, and integration implications of cloud migration, and actively designing solutions to support their next generation IT organization.

Providers

These enterprising enterprises are seeking to leverage private cloud platforms and technologies to create internal cloud service marketplaces, essentially building their own internal-use equivalents of Amazon Web Services. They are looking to transform not only their IT infrastructure but also their IT business models. In conjunction with private cloud deployments, they are also implementing (or expanding) their use of cloud service catalogs and chargeback models. While on the surface it may appear that this is just implementation of traditional IT service management (ITSM) models, the difference is that IT is now facing real competition from external CSPs for the budget dollars of their BU customers.

On which path is your enterprise? Was it your intention to be on that path, or were you driven there by unintentional factors?  To learn more about the characteristics of these cloud adoption paths, and the implications CIOs must consider to drive desired levels of adoption and ensure success, please read our recently-released Executive Point of View Paper, “Emerging Enterprise Cloud Adoption Paths: The Journey is the Destination.”

Cloud Beyond the Borders – Part 1: Asia | Gaining Altitude in the Cloud

We know that cloud computing has taken off in U.S.-based enterprises since the term was coined in mid-2007, but how is it faring in other parts of the world? Where will the growth come from in this US$40.7 billion industry that Forrester Research forecasts will grow to a projected US$241 billion by 2020? While the North American market accounts for the bulk of cloud investment and infrastructure today, Ovum Associates forecast that this will drop to approximately 50 percent by 2016 in the face of strong growth in Asia and Europe.

The Asia Cloud Computing Association has identified ten factors that affect cloud adoption rates, which can be broadly grouped into three classes: regulatory, physical infrastructure, and market conditions. Regulatory concerns include data protection laws, the extent of Internet filtering, and other government policies. Physical infrastructure refers to power grid reliability, broadband penetration rates, and international connectivity. And market conditions relate to the overall sophistication of a country’s IT industry and the perceived political risk of doing business in a country.

With that, let’s first take a look at cloud computing, beyond the borders, in Asia. And as all the above factors are applicable to other geographies, next time we’ll talk about the cloud in Europe.

The IT world is looking to Asia with high expectations…and uncertainty. Everyone agrees that Asian cloud computing growth will be impressive: analysts quote industry CAGR figures of 20-35 percent from 2010 to 2014 and beyond. Nobody knows quite how much it will grow, however, because of persistent and thorny issues.

Asia consists of many countries in various stages of development. Those with well-developed infrastructure and institutions – Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand – have experienced the greatest growth in cloud adoption to date. While Asian interest in the cloud is, in general, sky-high, many other countries lack the infrastructure to deliver. According to Per Dahlberg, CEO of the Asia Cloud Computing Association, this puts Asian cloud uptake approximately three years behind that of the United States.

What drives Asian cloud uptake? What hinders it? Answers to both questions are as diverse as Asia itself.

Many Asian countries are developing economies with poor or outdated IT infrastructure. They see cloud computing as a way to modernize government and private IT systems, while spurring the development of home-grown industry. In its current five-year plan, released in 2010, the Chinese government designated next-generation information technology as one of seven “Strategic Emerging Industries,” designed to drive innovation for indigenous Chinese industry. The plan highlights cloud computing as a key investment area that should receive special focus. Business Cloud News reported that this will help propel cloud investment in China to a forecasted US$154 billion by 2015. China Mobile alone plans to invest US$52 billion in that time-frame to build its cloud offerings.

Another pan-Asian driver of cloud growth is increased broadband penetration. The proliferation of mobile phones with always-on 3G and 4G data connections will continue to drive migration to the cloud. As people gain faster data pipes they can take anywhere, they increasingly want to store their content in the cloud. Likewise, companies want employees to be mobile, thus necessitating the secure availability of company data anywhere it’s needed.

Finally, Asia has untold millions of small businesses with the desire, but not the IT know-how, to be global competitors. IT as a service will come to play an important role in helping these firms reach new markets and compete globally.

Of course, different parts of Asia are poised to take advantage of the impending storm at different levels. Many factors hinder cloud adoption, including shoddy power grids and connectivity issues. But cutting across all countries is the problem of fragmented regulatory regimes with wildly varying requirements for everything from data protection to vendor lock-in. For example, a nation might prohibit its citizens’ data from physically leaving the country. This prevents building regional data centers and realizing the key cloud benefits around economies of scale. Another open question revolves around jurisdiction. If a data center in Singapore holds information on Indonesian nationals, which country’s laws should govern that data and that data center? What if the information is replicated to a data center in China? A coherent pan-Asian regulatory framework will help to alleviate this, but questions around privacy, security, and freedom of speech will likely persist.

Cloud uptake in Asia will see tremendous growth over the next few years. The ultimate heights of that growth and how quickly it is achieved will depend in large part on the degree to which the region as a whole enables it via development of physical and regulatory infrastructure.

Next time up, Europe’s cloud.

Next Generation IT Governance: Hold On Loosely, But Don’t Let Go | Gaining Altitude in the Cloud

In mid-February, I have the opportunity to join a great group of executives to debate how cloud computing will – nay IS – changing the way we need to think about IT governance. As you may know, Everest Group is chairing a track at CloudConnect in Santa Clara, CA, on Organizational Readiness. One of the sessions is slated to include Neal Sample of eBay, Bates Turpen of IHG, Thomas Barton of Novartis, and me discussing governance issues of today and tomorrow. We conducted a prep session last week, and I thought I’d share some of the topics we anticipate debating at CloudConnect.

  • Standards. One of the key pillars of capturing the value of cloud computing is the use of standard services to meet your needs. This raises the stakes for making the “right” choices early in your solution design and requires strong governance to ensure erosion of adherence to the standards is stopped in its tracks. Whether our discussion will start or end with a battle over the right approach to standards is unclear! What is the “half life” of standards decisions and how should you manage the balance of business and technical considerations that you will need to live with for some time?
  • Hybrid IT environments. Most agree that large enterprises will evolve to IT environments that include non-cloud and cloud components. The cloud landscape will also likely include internal (private) cloud environments and external cloud environments (virtual private clouds, public clouds, and Software-as-a-Service solutions). Controversy will be apparent on how big an enterprise should bet on cloud as THE focus of its go-forward plan. How should you balance the governance needs of these diverse environments?
  • Governance intensity. Cloud environments create the opportunity (nightmare?) for independent initiatives to be executed quickly and out-of-sight of centralized governance processes.  Some think these pockets of innovation and initiative are central to leveraging the full power of the cloud; others suggest this is a step onto the slippery slope toward anarchy in terms of IT governance.  What is the right approach?
  • Leadership. Who should take the lead in IT governance. There is a camp that suggests detailed technical decisions are shaped by governance decisions, so architects need to be in the middle of governance. Others argue that the business must set the vision and follow through to allocate resources consistent with those broad objectives or you’ll end up with disconnects that erode value from the outset. Sorting out these issues will be more than a sidebar skirmish! While most enterprises are likely to end up somewhere in the middle, how should you decide what decisions lean which way?
  • Management paradigm shift. Many governance processes have been established for IT approaches that are driven by capital budget management; i.e., large, lengthy projects are the centerpiece of how resources are allocated and policy is set and administered. Cloud computing services turn that paradigm on its end as easy-on/easy-off solutions that require little/modest capital come to the forefront. This fight will extend far beyond IT, encompassing the CFO and BU leaders. How does this fundamental shift in the underlying economics and what needs to be managed change the governance requirements?
  • Pace of change. The IT landscape has always been characterized by rapid change and short innovation cycles. However, cloud computing is accelerating this pace even more. With lower switching costs and innovation that presents opportunities to unlock ever-increasing value, the likelihood of opportunities to change directions increases with each service innovation. Risk takes on a whole new meaning in ways that will reveal fundamental differences of opinion that will light up the stage. How should an enterprise assess these opportunities? What must change in IT governance to accommodate the breathless pace of change inherent in the cloud?

With these topics in mind, the governance panel discussion at CloudConnect is certain to be lively and cover an array of challenging, if not controversial, issues.

If you have a particular area on which you’d like the panelists to share views, post a note to this blog and we’ll consider adding it to the list.

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