Tag: organizational readiness

Don’t Buy an Analytics Ticket Unless You’re Prepared to Go on the Ride | Sherpas in Blue Shirts

There are bountiful opportunities today to use Big Data analytics and business intelligence technologies to change the game. But before you quicken your pace to the nearest tech store, you need to stop and recognize what “change the game” really means.

Certainly it means that the analytics software can yield insights that could help you improve interactions with your customers. The insights you gain could lead your organization to do something in a more compelling way.

But it’s important to recognize that the technology just gives you the chance to solve a business problem; it doesn’t actually solve it. You can spend money on technologies to create insights about how you can do things differently to great effect. But you can’t create just insights. You have to create organizational change and marshal the people in your organization so they WILL change and do things differently.

Creating organizational change is complicated. You will have to work your way through the dreaded snarls of change management. The rewards can be great; there’s no doubt about that. But the change can have far-ranging organizational implications and can be quite painful and disruptive to implement. Altering internal incentive structures. Entering new markets. Restructuring resource allocations. Reshaping your business model.

And if your organization fails to adapt to the new realities, it will thwart the impact and opportunity of the insight.

Our advice is to recognize up front that you will waste your investment in analytics technology if you are unprepared or unwilling to do down the path of a great transformational journey. Leaders must be prepared to deal with the consequences of the insights the analytics technology brings to light.

Don’t buy a ticket if you won’t go on the ride.


Photo credit: vincewilcox

7 Things We Learned at Cloud Connect | Gaining Altitude in the Cloud

Originally posted on Leverhawk


It was an interesting week last week at Cloud Connect Silicon Valley. In addition to the keynotes and track sessions, we also saw the release of the summary results of the latest joint Cloud Connect / Everest Group survey on enterprise cloud adoption.  Here are the seven things we took away from the conference, the survey results, and the discussions we had:

  1. The power shift from IT to business is real – one of the key findings from the adoption survey was that outside of dev test environments, disaster recovery (DR) and email / collaboration, business stakeholders are the primary drivers of enterprise cloud adoption. Anecdotal conversations with practitioners and vendors alike reinforced this idea that the cloud is permanently changing buying behaviors in the enterprise.  This is bad news for many of the legacy enterprise IT players, who struggle with transitioning from a CIO-centric sales model to one focused on emerging business buyers.
  2. OpenStack is on a roll – one of the common themes in both the sessions and side conversations is that OpenStack appears to be gaining steam not just with the Foundation members but with enterprises as well.  In fact one leading financial services player we met there has the target of moving half of their production workloads to OpenStack by the end of the year.  We heard countless more examples of deployments that were in fact more than just pilots, and indications that OpenStack is starting to gain serious momentum.
  3. Cloudwashing is contagious – many legacy enterprise IT vendors have a lot to lose as their customer base migrates to the cloud.  It’s probably not surprising that many of them are happy to have their customers mistakenly believe that virtualized environments = private clouds.  As a result we have the unfortunate phenomena of organizations claiming and believing that they’re migrating to private cloud models, when in fact they’re really not.
  4. Cloud infrastructure can create competitive advantage – while applications, analytics and data are commonly seen as the source of IT-enabled competitive differentiation, we heard about how some enterprises are actually seeking cloud infrastructure as potential sources of business advantage.  We heard from one other major financial services firm that the speed and agility benefits being provided by the combination of cloud and open source was in fact creating competitive business advantage in the marketplace.
  5. Shadow IT doesn’t always mean happy customers – a growing trend that we heard a bit about was the “lose / lose” dynamic that was being created in some organizations by shadow IT.  The scenario goes like this: business buyer asks corporate IT for on-demand infrastructure services, with requirements that are perhaps a bit unrealistic.  Unhappy with the response they hear, business buyer instead goes to a public cloud IaaS provider, but quickly realize requirements aren’t met there either, but for different reasons.  The result is one unhappy customer and two unhappy service providers.   While this is the exception not the norm today with shadow IT, it is a trend worth watching.  Note to business buyers:  with freedom comes responsibility, certainly at least to understand your real requirements.
  6. Compliance isn’t stopping adoption – conventional wisdom suggests that highly regulated verticals will be adoption laggards due to security and compliance concerns.  A series of sessions with IT executives at NovartisAmerican Express and Fidelity proves that’s not the case.  While in the most case they’re focus is on private cloud models, the motivation is still around business drivers – providing faster, cheaper and more effective applications and capabilities.  The initiatives they’re driving are global in nature, and far from the ubiquitous proof-of-concepts that everyone seemed to be discussing last year.
  7. The tipping point is near – if it’s not here already, we’re close to the point where cloud becomes accepted as the primary IT delivery model going forward.   The conference survey showed that the majority of enterprises now expect migration to some type of cloud model (public, private hybrid or other) across all major workload types.  This isn’t to say that everything will migrate tomorrow, or that it will make sense to migrate everything to cloud models (it won’t), but it does say that market conversation around whether cloud makes sense for the enterprise may be close to over.

Interested in reading more about how cloud is driving enterprise transformation?  Check out our recent post on how JP Morgan Chase is using PaaS to transform internal application development.  Also read our guide on understanding the Great Tech War being fought across cloud, mobile, digital content and big data.

Photo Credit: Cloud Connect

Learn How Enterprises Are Embracing Disruption at Cloud Connect Silicon Valley 2013 | Gaining Altitude in the Cloud

2013 Enterprise Cloud Adoption Survey Thumbnail
Download the 2013 Enterprise Cloud Adoption Survey Summary Report

Saving money is nothing compared to beating your competitors to market with a better product.

This is the revelation that’s rapidly taking hold in the enterprise CIO’s office. Until very recently, most enterprise IT leaders would tell you that their primary goal in moving to cloud computing was related to cost reduction, primarily through server consolidation. Occasionally, you might find a an adventurous CIO talking about infrastructure automation and end-user provisioning.

Now, these CIOs are beginning to realize what SaaS providers figured out several years ago: the real benefit of cloud computing lies in organizational transformation, not cost compression.

This dawning realization is what’s led us to build two sessions about the practical implications of cloud disruption at Cloud Connect Silicon Valley. The event is April 2-5 at the Santa Clara Convention Center. Register with the priority code DISPEAKER for 25 percent off.

In the first of the two sessions, we will look at the tools and techniques driving the cloud disruption in the enterprise. A panel of enterprise IT leaders and cloud thought leaders will survey the tools and techniques enterprises are embracing to accelerate their time to value in cloud deployments while improving the ability of user communities to drive new streams of competitive differentiation by developing, testing, deploying and iterating applications faster than ever before.

Rather than looking at edge cases and exciting but unproven technologies, the panel will focus on cloud technologies and tools that are available, proven in production environments and ready to deploy. Randy Bias of Cloudscaling will talk about the disruption of open source projects, while Keith Shinn from Fidelity will give an example of his organization’s transformation through implementation of OpenStack. Niall Dalton from Calxeda, will talk about disruptive hardware innovations such as ARM processors.

Our goal in this first part is to give participants a high-level understanding of which tools are solid choices for their enterprise cloud deployments.

In the second of our two disruption-focused session, we’ll present new business models and case studies from enterprises who have used cloud to accomplish goals that were impossible with traditional IT organizations. We’ll take a closer look at specific examples of organizations that have embraced cloud technology AND new IT organizational protocols to unleash the creative potential of their internal users to build, launch and iterate new apps faster than ever before.

Enterprise executives who have done this will share their stories, and participants will hear how these leaders helped their organizations first understand and then embrace the agility, flexibility and dramatic time-to-market compression that cloud enables. We’ve asked Anand Palanisamy of PayPal to talk about the increased agility and development cycle compression that have helped make his company more responsive to customer needs and competitive threats.

Building sustainable competitive advantage through a transformation in business model assumptions is the real benefit goal of cloud migration. That’s why we built two sessions dedicated to the topic. Come, and hear about it for yourself, or watch for a mid-April summary of what the speakers shared about using cloud technology to align the IT service delivery process and help their organizations launch flexible new business models that drive new revenues and profitability.

Picture This: a 360° Visual Depiction of Current Cloud Adoption Trends | Gaining Altitude in the Cloud

Download the Enterprise Cloud Adoption Survey Results


We wrote in a blog last week about the top messages that emerged from the extensive enterprise cloud adoption survey we conducted earlier this year in partnership with Cloud Connect. To ensure we’ve “got the backs” of our readers who tend to be right-brained and thus more attuned to images and visual thinking, the following shows the key findings we reaped from the responses of the 346 buyers, providers and advisors who participated in the survey.

Enterprise Cloud Adoption Infographic
Click to expand

As you see:

  •  Cloud adoption is expanding beyond “low hanging fruit” like email and custom applications to include disaster recovery, storage and archiving, and business intelligence and analytics to support Big Data initiatives
  • Buyers’ opinion of the Cloud is extremely positive, with highest satisfaction in ability to create flexible infrastructure, and they have exceptionally high expectations of future benefits
  • Enterprises are increasingly viewing Cloud as an enabler of top line growth, i.e., to reduce time to market for applications, solutions and products, yet providers continue to sell with a cost reduction value proposition

To gain more insights on these and other key findings, you can download the survey summary report, and/or join me at the Cloud Connect Chicago conference on September 12, when I’ll be discussing the survey results in detail. Use code EVERESTGRP to receive 25% off conference passes or claim a free expo pass. For now, up and away on the Cloud!

Gain the Insights You Need for Next Generation IT Success: the Organizational Readiness Track at the Cloud Connect Conference | Gaining Altitude in the Cloud

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


GE’s Jack Welch once stated, “Change before you have to.” While it’s certainly sage advice, with virtually everything in the cloud computing world evolving so rapidly – the offerings, the providers, the implementation strategies, and the buyers, who these days are most typically business users rather than IT – it’s dauntingly difficult to decide what, how, when and with whom to change.

Yet, following in the footsteps of the highly successful, inaugural Organizational Readiness track at the Cloud Connect conference in February 2012, the sessions at the September 11-12 event in Chicago are all designed to cut through the clutter, and provide deep insights on the organizational issues that are threatening to thwart cloud-oriented next generation IT success.

In “New World Order: Your Dev Team Just Became the CIO” session, industry analyst Vanessa Alvarez and Cisco’s Laura Cooney will discuss the emergence of developers as decision makers, what organizations are doing to adjust to this revolution, the technologies to look at, and pitfalls to avoid.

With budgets increasingly migrating to “shadow” IT driven by business users, it is more critical than ever for CIOs to understand how to serve and enable this new buyer group in a next generation IT environment. During the “Tough Questions You Need to Ask” session, business users who have driven major cloud initiatives will provide answers to questions CIOs may be afraid to ask.

The panel session “Hard Choices in Enterprise Cloud Adoption” will feature three 15-minute drill-down presentations that provide insight into the major choices and decisions organizations face around:

  • Open versus Closed Cloud Infrastructures, and the pros and cons of each
  • Forklift versus Greenfield, and how to determine if you should first focus on moving existing applications to a virtualized environment, or deploy a new infrastructure for greenfield applications
  • Now versus Later, to help CIOs evaluate whether they should accelerate or put a hold on their enterprises’ move to the cloud

“Current Thinking in Addressing Persistent Cloud Challenges” will examine Security and Compliance, Performance, Vendor Management and Lock-In issues, and provide practical, real-world examples of how panelists’ and other organizations are creatively addressing them.

If you haven’t yet registered for Cloud Connect, I hope you’ll visit the conference registration page and sign up today. Use code EVERESTGRP to receive 25% off conference passes or claim a free expo pass. You’ll unquestionably gain strategic, tactical and actionable insights on how to shine much needed light into all things cloud. As Chair of the Organizational Readiness track, I look forward to seeing you in Chicago in September!

Download the Enterprise Cloud Adoption Survey Results.

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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