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Blog June 28, 2018

Bringing the enterprise to the public cloud, or the public cloud to an enterprise?

I will end my blog series on public clouds with a summary of the transformation in business models and processes. As I have said before, the technology part is easy, but change and leadership of all kinds are difficult. To move from beating about the bush to gaining a significant business edge, public cloud processes should be brought into companies, not the other way around.

Processes can be broadly divided between five different target groups: management, the organization, architecture, partners and IT management.

Change management is the key to managing a public cloud. The first step is to prioritize actions. This can be done in a very traditional manner by creating a vision, strategy and roadmap. Next come developing and managing competencies, alongside budgeting and new responsibilities (particularly cloud architects). If IT management is not yet BiModal, it must be established immediately. Use of the public cloud must be based on an agile (Mode 2) organizational model and very few organizations can cope without any kind of traditional (Mode 1) organizational model whatever.  Finally, documentation, contract templates and IT management principles must be developed in a public cloud-required manner. IT management consists of service catalogs, response times, data security, contract management, service risk management, and various auditing and maintenance tasks.

All organizational process updates are based on roles and sponsors. No new strategy can function unless it is clear and has the strong support of executive management. Such change also requires the training and orientation of the entire staff in the operating models of the business environment. Although the public cloud sets new demands on staff, it also creates freedoms and the possibility to introduce new types of standards for the efficiency of the work environment. Built-in services become similar to self-service, frequently recurring tasks are automated, and IT management serves as a broker of services rather than a provider.  As always, communication is the key issue during organizational change. The importance and clarity of internal communication can never be overemphasized.

Recommendations on the architecture are similar to general advice on best practices. In every case, the cornerstone is the enterprise architecture, and a cloud map serves as part of this. An architecture model can be used to evaluate the information service portfolio, integration requirements and technology choices. Technology choices involve deciding whether you prefer cloud independency or want to focus on vendor-locked, optimized services.  The implementation of the enterprise architecture is supported by a cloud architect responsible for driving cultural change in collaboration with communications, alongside his or her architectural work.

Partner management has a certain, specific feature. When benefiting from the public cloud, the number of partners will rise, regardless of the organization’s intentions. Special attention must be paid to the choice of partners, since changing partner will be very difficult. Many organizations have introduced a Partner Management Service (SIAM), where one of the primary partners is responsible for ensuring that the policies and processes of the other partners are a good fit with the end-customer. The choice of partner must be based on the classification and prioritization of workloads. Once the workloads have been categorized (security, latency, scalability, location, cost structures, lifecycle and own competences etc), the partner providing the most suitable services can be selected on their basis.

In most cases, IT management is already prepared for change, but it is worth mentioning a few key issues here. A frequent complaint concerns the inflexibility of legacy systems in the public cloud. If this is the case, such systems should be left unchanged until the end of their life cycle, while a replacement system is specifically designed for the public cloud. IT management can use the public cloud at infrastructure (IaaS) level, but only applications and platforms (SaaS, PAAs) should be offered to enterprises and end users. Public cloud services are often better than than in-house ones, but it is worth paying attention to the verification and recovery of information in particular. Here too, speed and easiness are the key benefits. You should therefore invest properly in various test environments and agile development. Tests, pilots and trials of the minimum viable product (MVP) are inexpensive and easy to implement. However, to understand all this, you will need a team whose expertise is focused on public cloud solutions and partners. You will not succeed without an open mind and sufficient competencies.

In my blog posts, I have tried to explain what the public cloud is, why its use has run into some difficulties, especially in Finland, and how the issue should be managed as a whole. I hope that I have provided food for thought, and challenged and guided you towards development in new directions. However, if you are still uncertain about the issue, you can always contact me or Enfo for advice. We will be delighted to point you in the right direction! 

Pete Nieminen

Pete Nieminen 

pete@enfogroup.com