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To Cloud or Not to Cloud?

That actually, is not the question. The real question is what and how much do you “cloud” in your enterprise.  Many already use cloud with SaaS offerings such as Concur, Office 365, and other back office applications that traditionally used to run in the data center years ago.  Moving traditional infrastructure and applications to the cloud has been slower because of numerous complexities.  Though technology is one of these complexities, it is the most easily dealt with. It’s the non-technical complexities that are the biggest hurdles to clear on everyone’s race to be “in the cloud.”

Governance

Governance is an issue that does not translate well from infrastructure to cloud. Traditional IT governance structures helped find a balance between technology goals and business goals. The efficiencies realized from cloud computing have substantially narrowed the gap between business and technology goals as technology has continued to become commoditized. As such, there are two different groups trying to gain control of infrastructure because the underlying details are often considered less important than they used to be.

Also, cloud’s cost structure has changed how quickly returns are realized on technology investment. The metrics used in the past to measure technology performance and help justify future purchases have changed. The metrics for both models don’t always align and complicate the IT team’s ability to justify the cost of requested and/or needed investment.

Business Model

The transition from on-premises infrastructure to cloud has not only affected governance, but also how IT shows the value of its investment.  From showing the potential maximum burstable power available in older models, cloud has transitioned to paying for just enough resources or only those used.  This helps put a more definitive cost per transaction, but removes abundant capacity that was used for development and testing in the past (often for skunkworks or other below the covers projects).

Also undefined is how traditional infrastructure funding is impacted by the gradual transition to an OpEx model. Less cash available for traditional IT projects will constrain resources for maintaining legacy on-premises infrastructure.  The shift from capital to operating expenditures has changed how IT departments fund themselves.

Cultural Issues

The shift from on-premises computing to off-premises computing changes the scope of how information security groups secure the enterprise. This shift could yield vulnerabilities whilst the transition occurs and groups get acclimated to the new environment.  Beyond security, support for off-premises computing across all technical and management groups is tough to attain. This disagreement drives major disconnects between the “deciders” and the “doers,” often resulting in missed project milestones and corporate objectives. Multiple generations of IT workers are clashing amid the transition to cloud and only make success harder to attain.

What does all of this mean?

This means that the decision to begin moving workloads to cloud requires planning for these non-technical issues before it even worries about the technical ones. Business must come to agreement on how this transition will affect performance measurements and overall business governance. The additional benefits provided by this new medium need to be clearly communicated to internal stakeholders. Furthermore, stakeholders should be encouraged to embrace change. Without this, any project—cloud or not—will have difficulty succeeding.  If and/or when these non-technical issues can be worked on, the discussion can move forward regarding technology. We’ll hit that next time.

How to Use this Information

Most IT organizations are moving toward cloud solutions, but not all have taken the needed planning and implementation steps to ensure security, application monitoring and organizational alignment. If you’re concerned about your company’s cloud readiness, contact Edge Solutions today at 888-861-8884 or contact us online.