Implications for IT/IS Management when exploiting Cloud computing

The IT industry is going through great transformation and cloud computing is helping to deliver business-driven speed and agility and IT readers must ask themselves  “Are we, as an organization, well-suited or ill-suited for the future of IT, and can we afford not to be ready?”
Many legacy data centres are built on old technology that was not designed for the demands and pace of today’s business.  Many IT organizations are therefore ill-equipped to meet business requirements for faster service delivery. Cloud computing can help to turn complex and drawn out delivery processes on its head and make it fast, agile, self-service, and on-demand. Cloud computing provides new ways to create and deliver values in the workplace. It allows businesses to access enterprise-class services at a fraction of the cost.  Business needs are constantly changing and Cloud computing offers them the possibility to scale up and down in real-time based on the current business requirements.  You should also rate any services you are thinking of deploying  to the cloud with respect to their criticality to your business. If you want to deploy a service that’s critical to the business or would cause a major disruption if it became unavailable, then you’ll need to factor this into your supplier evaluation.

Before beginning and cloud, project  management needs to take some time to compare and contrast different cloud platform vendor offerings and make sure your selection meet the organization’s strategy, roadmap, and service requirements. The chosen vendor also  be able to meet your operational requirement SLAs. Asses their T&Cs for risk. It is worth evaluating the service providers from a technical, commercial and service level point of view, and keep options open for the possibility of using multiple cloud providers to avoid vendor lock-in and to optimise specific clouds for certain types of computing tasks, such as mission-critical financial applications. Selecting the wrong platform may prove to be a costly mistake and it could be difficult to recover.

In order to implement cloud successfully the business, IT leaders must start by first forming a cloud computing strategy that is right for the business and that has executive level support and consensus. A cloud computing roadmap and execution plan can be formed. The initiative requires supportive leadership and executive support this is because cloud computing affects the leadership between IT and the business, hot IT is consumed and the jobs within IT. It requires a change in culture and processes and leaders must all buy-in to the strategy and collectively help drive these changes.

The next step is to align the roadmap with the cloud strategy.  A set of individual projects tailored to the business must be designed, initiated and executed. These will address the areas of finance, infrastructure, organisation policy, security and software applications.  Next, they must  assess, understand, plan, standardize, and re-evaluate the services IT needs to offer on demand to the organization including what services will be used who will use them, and how will they be used? If management faile to drive adoption or offer the right services, the cloud initiative is almost guaranteed to fail. This warrants spending time with end users to clearly understand what services to offer them and how to make the consumption of those services as easy as possible. The next stage is to adopt a phased approach instead of biting off more than you can chew. Move from a limited test to a small pilot to larger production implementations over a period of time, learning along the way. This phased approach enables gaining experience in running and supporting a cloud while training up staff and to showcase cloud computing to the wider IT and  business areas.

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