Tag: Cloud Connect

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.

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.

Cloud Connect 2012 Organizational Readiness Track | Gaining Altitude in the Cloud

This blog originally appeared on Cloud Connect Blog. Read the original post.


“The technology is the easy part.  It’s the cultural issues that are hard.”

This quote from a recent conversation with a Fortune 500 CIO perfectly summarizes why we’re holding the first-of-its-kind Organizational Readiness track at Cloud Connect.  As enterprise adoption of public and private clouds continues to accelerate, the majority of focus continues to be on technical issues. Organizational and cultural issues though are starting to pose significant barriers and challenges as CIOs work to implement their cloud strategies. Just a few of these emerging issues facing enterprise IT include:

  • What does our future IT organization need to look like? How do our key roles, processes and skills need to change?
  • How do we overcome internal resistance to cloud adoption? How do we help employees make the paradigm shift, and rethink IT, services, and even their own roles?
  • How does our governance need to change in a world where business users have much more choice and control?
  • How we ensure we have the internal skills we need to support cloud? How can we compete in the market for increasingly scarce talent?

Just as the shift from mainframe to client / server architectures drove a wave of transformation for IT organization and governance, so is the migration to cloud services.  The focus of our track will be on exploring the “soft issues” around enterprise cloud adoption, and discussing emerging models for success for building next generation IT organizations.

The track will include sessions that will surface the around real organizational, cultural, skills that are emerging with enterprises migrating their environments to the cloud. These sessions include “Will Culture Eat Your Strategy? How to Turn the Tables,” where Simon Wardley will lead a discussion around how IT leaders can overcome the cultural barriers to change. We’ll have a series of panels and discussions on how enterprises are navigating the organizational changes being driven by cloud, which will include IT leaders from Best Buy, eBay, Novartis, InterContinental Hotel Group and others. David Linthicum’s session on “In Search of Mad Cloud Skills” will help us understand the new cloud skills that will be required in the enterprise, and where to find them.

Failing to address the organizational issues associated with transformational change can doom even the best cloud strategies and technologies. Join our Organizational Readiness track to learn how to effectively prepare your organization to embrace the change that’s coming with your migration to cloud.

Not registered for Cloud Connect yet? Visit the conference registration page to learn how to join what I’m sure will be an exciting and insightful event. Enter the promo code EVEREST for 25% off!

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