how should you catch the cloud computing wave?

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Here’s a short post for a late summer day, but I won’t be discussing the beach, the sun, or how much sunscreen you should put on. Instead, I’d like to touch on the different activities that information systems departments will have to anticipate to lay and maintain a foundation for the growing use of cloud computing models.

Whether talking about technology choices, risk management, skills and responsibilities reorganization, or supplier relations, one thing is certain: these numerous activities are currently handled by different teams within a company.

when I say cloud computing, you think…

  • security and performance, of course

It’s a good bet that security and risk management are among the top three things that come to mind. That’s precisely why we have a Cloud Security Advisor – and Master Blogger – to light our way and see us along the right path!

Defining a cloud policy, ensuring its proper execution, outlining the responsibilities of your service providers, ensuring compliance with your country’s or industry’s standard practices and laws (through audits) – the importance of these topics amplifies with cloud technology, or outsourcing of all or part of your IS to one or more cloud service providers.

  • constant performance monitoring, undoubtedly

One of your first goals – if not the first goal – will be to set up a permanent system to monitor performance over the entire service chain (applications, user terminals, platforms, networks), in increasingly complex circumstances, with a lot of suppliers and service environments (BYOD, new terminals, multi-tenant environments, etc.). Network capabilities will become more and more important, since they will be necessary to ensure permanent access to a company’s critical resources (data, applications), even if they are off-site.

It’s important to define the right metrics for measuring performance and user experience, improve visibility for all new services, and optimize close collaboration with suppliers to monitor, diagnose, and resolve incidents.

after that, it’s all a matter of good relationships

  • first, between various internal technical skill centers

To manage this complex delivery chain, you will need collaboration from research to operations. Everyone will have to build up the skills necessary to best tackle these new areas. Before, IT departments handled the system architecture and operations on their own (installing, configuring, and managing machines). Now, application management is the central focus. IT will mainly decide which resources and applications will be hosted on the cloud and how to manage them (resource management, integration, capacity planning, etc.).

  • next, between IT and business divisions

IT and businesses will have to coordinate to ensure good return on investment and benefit from all of the cloud’s advantages. It’s nothing new, but this holds even truer for software as a service (SaaS) applications, which is more and more in demand among end users.

  • last, between a company and its service providers

They have to agree on responsibility parameters, service-level agreements, and daily service upkeep.

to conclude: how should you catch the wave?

Some say you have to create a new position within a company (a Chief Cloud Officer). Others are skeptical. They think these activities are already managed by IT departments, so there’s no need to come up with new organizational models.

In any case, it’s pretty clear that there’s such a deep cultural rift between traditional IT and new cloud models that a transformation phase will take place, requiring strong change management.

In the end, maybe we’ll need a Mister or Miss Cloud. But only during the transition phase, so he or she can make sure everyone has caught the wave.

What about you? What do you think? How did you prepare to surf the new wave of cloud computing?

Marie-Christine

This post was originally published in French here.

photo: © Sergej Khackimullin - Fotolia.com
 

Marie-Christine Finas

I’m currently working on the cloud computing program at Orange Business Services, where we develop cloud support services for the business market.