Most important aspect of Cloud Computing, people…

When we talk about people side of things in cloud context, we can divide it into three categories:

First, people who consume these applications as end users. In my view, impact on end users will be minimal as long as application performance does not deteriorate and end users are assured of their data security and privacy. To address needs of this set of people (where enterprise application is consumer driven), during assessment phase, deeper emphasis on data classification and performance analysis should be placed.

 Secondly, it’s set of people who build, host, operate, manage and service enterprise applications. Cloud is most disruptive for this set of people. In this area, age and architecture of application will play a major role. Newer/younger applications will be easier to handle than old/legacy (it’s a relative term) applications. One way to approach this area is to generate heat maps for enterprise applications (application tier by financial impact on business). Other factors which should be taken into account are relationship with vendors for licensing, servicing & maintenance contracts, you want to make sure that these applications will still be supported be vendors who wrote them and can be serviced and maintained by either the exiting vendors or an alternate vendor (may be cloud service provider). Day to day upkeep of these applications is done by people (through technologies) that includes, monitoring & backup (amongst other things). Another are under this set of people is application dependencies, in bigger enterprises different set of people procure and manage different applications but these applications have to work with each other. People alignment is a big task in big enterprises, difference of opinion or people ego in one group can impact cloud adaption for other applications.  When it comes to this set of people (in second category), a careful consideration should be given to retraining existing workforce to work in new paradigm. From my observations in the industry, I can say this with certain level of confidence that (besides best efforts of all businesses on policies and procedures) there is a lot of tribal knowledge buried in these enterprises which makes them move. Abruptly changing roles or letting people go can be very disruptive. Retention while retaining of existing people for businesses will be a key to smooth transition to cloud.

 Thirdly, moving enterprise applications to cloud will impact business folks especially on two fronts; one is cost structures which will change. In short run there will be costs associated with either moving the applications to cloud as is or for retrofitting/refactoring, two is that move to cloud will have impact on company’s balance sheet. In an ‘old data center’ model servers/switches/routers were considered assets and in cloud world (especially if cloud is provided by a service provider or a separate entity) business will not be able to show these assets on their books. In this area some of industry thought leaders are pushing for legislatures where company’s IP (intellectual property which pertains to expensive software applications) will carry certain money value on balance sheets, which is not the case currently.

 When it comes to moving to cloud, technology is about 30% of the work, rest is people and processes. If people and processes side is not handled properly, move to cloud can be a bitter and expensive experience. I will highly recommend enterprises to engage external (third party) assessors for moving applications to cloud. Drawbacks of putting internal people on this task can cause problems like; biased opinions, entity misrepresentation and too much emphasis in certain areas and too little emphasis in others (missing forest for trees).

I am eager to hear everyone’s input on this one!

6 Replies to “Most important aspect of Cloud Computing, people…”

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  1. Cloud as a Service is feasible to aynone as long as you know what you want.I’d like to live my life with a smile and usually use the above type of examples. In this video John Cleese is really spot on when he compares a laptop with a dead fish. In over 30 years in IT business I have learned that religious’ choices and hidden agenda’s oftentimes have companies make really bad decisions. When focusing on the Cloud, there are many ways to do it wrong, but as many ways to do it right. Come back to this website as often as you can. I might be able to help you. Cloud as a Service could be a dead fish or a brilliant solution to many of your problems.

  2. I too agree that “Cloud” computing as a name will be aruond for a while, but the problem is from a technical standpoint we all know (as IBMers or) techies what it is and that it encompasses many things from the architecture to the off-site storage, on-demand web apps, Web2.0 et-all, but the main issue is that the “public” don’t understand the concepts, the processes or the uses, they only understand the offf-site storage & more recently (due possibly to Apple) the sync possibilies. Looking at it from that point of view, the “naming” should maybe refer to what people already understand -> Hardware is the touchy-feely stuff physical and tactile.Software is the thing that makes the touchy-feely stuff come to life & do things.Middleware although more advanced, is the stuff that makes the software do even more with the hardware, So why not keep to the same lines? Air-WareIf it’s marketed and described properly & well implemented & integrated then there is no reason why a naming convention along the lines of “air-ware” could not be adopted. It has the implication of being something thats there and we can’t see it but we CAN use it. Just my two-penny worth

  3. I believe that you should write extra on this topic Most important aspect of Cloud Computing, people… | Sarbjeet Johal on Cloud & IT Trends. It may not be a taboo topic but typically persons are not sufficient to talk on such topics.

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