The existing technology market is being destroyed to make way for the new cloud services world. Cloud providers, leveraging virtualization, automation and their investments in infrastructure can provide a dizzying array of IT services from 30-75 percent cheaper than traditional IT providers. And they can do this using a variety of delivery models.
That makes this brave new world of cloud computing attractive especially as companies emerge from the global recession.
But an immature market provides both opportunities and pitfalls for today’s CIO. Early mistakes can send cloud buyers a long way down the wrong path. I wrote “Cloud Sourcing the Corporation” to provide impartial information so buyers can make fact-based sourcing decisions. It is an impartial guidebook for IT executives on their journey toward the cloud.
What exactly is cloud computing?
Here is my definition:
Cloud computing provides on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimum client or provider interaction. The cloud model promotes availability. Cloud computing providers offer Internet-based subscription services for applications, platforms or infrastructure.
Cloud services are categorized according to the purpose and intent of the services provided. Typically these categories are classified as:
- IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) – Virtualized servers, storage and network capability
- PaaS (Platform as a Service) – Operating systems, development platforms and middleware
- SaaS (Software as a Service) – Applications delivered over the Internet (previously referred to as ASPs – Applications Services Providers)
- BPaaS (Business Process as a Service) – Evolving category of outsourced business process outsourcing (BPO) where suppliers deliver discrete services via the cloud.
There are three types of clouds:
- Public cloud. Services are available to everyone over the Internet
- Private cloud. These are privately owned . The services are available behind a firewall to a restricted set of users
- Hybrid cloud. This is an interoperable combination of public and private clouds.
Four major mistakes to avoid, according to Cloud Sourcing the Corporation
Mistake No. 1: Succumbing to the hype.
Cloud computing reminds me of Colorado in the 1800s. It’s the new gold rush! Today, the service providers proclaim the sky is the limit.
Solution according to “Cloud Sourcing the Corporation”: Be sure your head doesn’t get stuck in the clouds. Instead, use a common sense, business-oriented approach to your cloud computing journey. You do this by:
- Analyzing your current environment
- Assessing provider and technology options
- Defining all alternatives
- Building a business case based on a full understanding of the cost involved
Mistake No. 2: Moving everything to the cloud at once
Given the economics, this is a sweet temptation. Don’t do it.
Solution according to “Cloud Sourcing the Corporation”: Set up a pilot. Pilots are relatively low cost and low risk. By definition, pilots are easy to set up because you can provision them rapidly. Running a pilot with an initial provider of interest is a great way to get a deeper understanding of both the provider and the process.
The results typically provide valuable insight into both technical and non-technical aspects. They offer a better view of both the pros and the cons. You might even discover you want to sign a longer-term contract with another provider based on your experience.
Mistake No. 3: Not making sure your current provider offers true cloud services
Many traditional ITO service providers are just getting started preparing their cloud capabilities. For some, their cloud offerings are nothing more than a thin veil over their legacy capabilities. These providers have only one service dimension (dog) to sell and are forced to convince you it’s the best dog in the world.
A corollary: Their version of the cloud is the only reality.
Solution according to “Cloud Sourcing the Corporation”: Make sure that dog can hunt in the cloud! Use my definition to clearly understand what you are signing up for.
Mistake No. 4: Selecting a trail guide, not an experienced trail boss
Yes, the cloud pioneers are still blazing the trails. But there are some who have done this before. Or, as they say here in Texas, “This ain’t their first rodeo.”
Solution according to “Cloud Sourcing the Corporation”: Appoint an advisor to help you who has done this many times before. Select someone who offers suitable advice based on your requirement and capabilities while offering a repeatable methodology and process.
Someone with experience can help you assess your capabilities and tell you what is possible before you start shopping for suppliers. Sometimes the hardest part of the job for a trail boss is telling someone they are not strong enough to make the journey. This could be due to infrastructure dependencies not available in the cloud, the complexity of your applications, or your organization’s readiness, for example.
A trail boss can lead your company in a cloud alignment workshop (CAW) to plot your journey. In the CAW you will:
- Review case studies of successful cloud implementations
- Examine how the providers helped them
- Perform infrastructure and application maturity assessments
- Assemble a list of possible suppliers with the capabilities you need
Actually, there is a fifth mistake: Ignoring the cloud completely. The marketplace won’t let you do that.
To purchase the book, go to www.cloudsourcing100.com, where it is available in both e-book and paperback through leading online retailers like Amazon and Barnes & Noble.