Absence of Cloud Command & Control Center is a Barrier to Cloud Adoption in Bigger Enterprises!

Many enterprises are jumping into cloud adoption in their R&D, Marketing, CRM, Collaboration and Lower Tier Business Applications, but there are still several enterprises which are staying on the sidelines. The reasons for such a stance can be several (including lack of knowledge, skepticism about ROI, complexity of legacy applications, and lack of resources for migrations and transformations etc.) but one thing which stands out unfavorable in almost all cases is absence of central command and control center for cloud adoption. Do you think it’s a valid concern?

The sheer absence of having Service Catalogs for enterprise customers shows how big the gap is

In my view, technology to give cloud command & control to central IT is in primitive stages. The sheer absence of having Service Catalogs for enterprise customers shows how big the gap is. There are few solutions out there, to manage the spend with different cloud service providers but there are no comprehensive tools which can keep taps on technology approvals, spending approvals, pre negotiated SLAs (for reliability and security) and pre negotiated contract pricing (demand aggregation) etc. I think traditional datacenter management related vendors can fill this gap, as a neutral party.

In absence of these types of tools, cloud consumption experience can be a bitter one for many enterprises. Of course there are early adopters and technology visionaries working in these enterprises which are taking calculated risks and jumping into cloud consumption.

What are your challenges, when it comes to cloud adoption for your organization or your customers? Is central policy/command & control, one of these challenges?

What’s the best way to launch and consume cloud products & services without any major human resources impediments?

When it comes to launching cloud related new products & services; for technology & service providers, strategy is more important than technology and same is true for enterprises that are looking for such products and services.

For technology & service providers it’s important to understand the challenges of enterprises on resources and organizational structures side. Technology & service providers should play a consultative role, which should enable DIY (do it yourself) approach for enterprises. This approach will ensure organizational endurance and effectiveness for their enterprises customers.

“Cloud Products & Service providers need to promote DIY (do it yourselves) approach for their customers while providing a consultative approach as a trusted advisor!”
 

For enterprises, it’s imperative to consider workforce analysis and importance of resource retention to keep the essential tribal knowledge about the business and legacy technology in house. To mitigate disruptive risks, it’s advised that enterprises hire front end consultative services for cloud adoption and application transformation rather than bringing big teams or bleeding edge technology from big vendors in house. I suggest enterprises to introduce a ‘cloud veneer’, a small team of experts in front of existing workforce which will ensure existing workforce engagement into the cloud adoption process. This small team should consist of few cloud experts from known vendors and few hand-picked/elite internal resources. Even in case of green-field (lacking constraints imposed by any prior work) applications this approach will be highly effective.

Fact of the matter is that moving existing legacy applications to cloud is no easy tasks and it cannot be done by net new cloud experts.  Knowledge of business side, organizational risk appetite as well as legacy technologies is a must to be successful at moving an organization to produce and consume cloud products and services.

What are your challenges when it comes to cloud adoption?

Enterprise Cloud Strategy: Don’t get overwhelmed BUT don’t take it lightly either!

Peeling off years of layers from enterprise legacy is no easy task. That’s where expert help is needed. Our advice to enterprise is to get right experts involved:

  • The ones who know what cloud is now (capabilities)
  • The ones who can educate you by removing the hype from reality (education)
  • The ones who know what cloud is now and how it can help them (match capabilities to problems at hand)
  • The ones who understand that it’s not all about technology, processes and people are a big part of monumental shift what we call cloud.
  • More importantly the ones who know where cloud technologies are headed (what’s missing and what’s being built)


In a nutshell, when it comes to your enterprise cloud adoption strategy, don’t get scared and at the same time don’t take it lightly either. Talk to experts who are helping enterprise like yours on frequent basis.

What IT skills will be in high demand in Cloud Era?

Forthcoming era of Cloud Computing will cause shakeup in IT roles like no other IT technology shift has done in last 20 years. These changes range from introduction of new roles/titles to changing how existing roles play a role in delivery of IT. Following are some of the skill-sets that will be in high demand in coming few years (in IaaS, PaaS and SaaS context):

  • SOA Educators/Architects/Services Delivery Personnel.
  • Horizontal Scaling of applications (Software Architects)
  • Big Data Analytics (Data Architects)
  • Legacy Systems Integrations, marriage of legacy IT infrastructure management  alongside new cloud infrastructure (Software/Systems/Solutions Architects)
  • Dev-Ops (Software Architects)
  • Vendor Management (Business Management)
  • Security and Compliance (Systems/Solutions Architects)

If you examine from other side of the coin; it’s more interesting to observe the roles cloud will first diminish and then eliminate in long run. Top two in this category include, ‘Systems Administrators’ and ‘Data Center Specialists’.

This shift is going to be gradual in nature. People will get time to react to this change. Resisting this change can be disastrous for IT professionals.

What do you think?

Looking Forward: How will Cloud simplify lives of people involved in Enterprise IT?

As Cloud progresses towards more maturity, we will head towards ‘Policy Based Computing’ models, this will happen at ‘Infrastructure Level’ and ‘Application Level’.

I envision having a schema/structure (probably XML structures) through which we will be able to describe units of compute needed (in a standard way), network isolation level, storage grade where scalability policy and security policy will be sub components of main schema/structure. We will be able to get this infrastructure up where all provisioning will happen based on policy (comprising of sub policies). I also envision changes to infrastructure will be applied through “Change Policies”.

What are your thoughts?

Will volume of data cause Cloud stickiness?

I originally wrote this in response to a blog post by Rob Hirschfeld on his blog post titled “Why cloud compute will be free”. My take on this is that in general higher volume of data at a cloud provider less likely that client will move to another provider, but in some cases cloud usage can be compute intense (compute can cost more than data storage). For example for testing a microprocessor simulation you can spin up 200 nodes for 4 hours and bring these down, input data more or less will remain constant and outputs are not heavy either. In these types of scenarios cloud is a great fit, as it cuts down time of testing a microprocessor simulation from 4 days to 4 hours (for example sake).

I don’t think stickiness of clients will be due to their data volume, I think stickiness will be due a mix of several factors (of which data can be one) and these will differ based on verticals and use cases. Few things which are important to enterprises are: quality of service, consultative approach to service delivery, integration with existing enterprise infrastructure, vendor’s ability to innovate and vendor’s understanding of client’s requirements/challenges. Having said that, I strongly agree that cloud providers which throw out some free services (testing the waters) will do much better in attracting and retaining clients. After all, humans will pick which cloud to go to and if they are well versed in one vendor’s technology/process/offerings they will prefer that vendor over others. Technique of throwing a free evaluation licensing out there (for six months or so) was mastered by Microsoft and that was secret behind dominance of languages like VB in 1990s. Later this technique was copied by other vendors like Oracle and they are benefiting from it (SAP ignore it and see where they are now).

Another twist I would like to add here is; a vendor’s treatment of developer community which is closely related to my point on free service for limited time, vendors who will make it easy for developers to write code to their cloud services (from integration to new applications through programmable infrastructure and platform as a service) will win in the long term. Keep in mind; what makes data valuable is the processing of data which is done through applications which are written by developers at large. More love a cloud provider shows to developers more love they will get back…