By Joe Chenevey
Last year, a colleague and I worked with an enterprise IT organization to develop a private cloud strategy. As with many other enterprise IT organizations we’ve worked with, this organization was faced with customers demanding IT infrastructure faster than traditional methods were allowing and increasingly looking outside internal IT. The organization wanted to provide its internal customer base with a viable alternative to creating workloads in the public cloud (where IT has both less visibility and control).
After spending months planning, developing, and testing a private cloud-based infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) offering, the IT team met their objective of reducing time to provision and overall request fulfillment times by well over 50 percent. A great achievement for their first release. During a follow-up meeting with our client earlier this year, we learned that after putting the service into production, the IT team fully expected requests for IaaS to coming flooding in from their user base. After all how many times have we all heard, “If you build it, they shall come…” presumed when it comes to private cloud? Unfortunately for our client, it didn’t happen that way.
Here’s why: our client overlooked a seemingly low-impact but in fact very important step of our guidance —Internal Sales & Marketing — #6 in a recent interactive infographic — describing seven key pieces of cloud transformation.
This particular enterprise IT organization neglected to engage its internal customers regularly to create awareness of what problems their IT organization had solved, details of the overall IaaS solution that would interest customers, and the benefits to the internal customer base. Often my clients don’t fully realize that without repeated communications to their prospective user base, it will be difficult to generate the demand necessary to achieve the inherent benefits that come with the utility or scale of a cloud model.
If you want your internal customer base to use your new private cloud and also demonstrate the value your IT organization can provide with that model, remember the 3 Cs:
- Communicate (Before): Before you start addressing the architecture and design of a private cloud solution, your strategy should include developing a communication plan. Your communication plan addresses when, where, how, and how often you will communicate to your potential user base, but it also provides an early description of the new private cloud services, new capabilities, customer benefits, and release timelines. This communication plan serves as the basis for your internal sales and marketing efforts.
- Communicate (During): As you go through the service development process, you must continue to promote—market—the services to your potential user base in order to keep up interest and potential demand. I also advise you to identify potential early adopters to help develop and refine the service during development. Early adopter buy-in also generates good word of mouth and demonstrates your new service-oriented approach to delivering IT.
- Communicate (After): After you’ve tested and piloted your new private cloud service and are ready to release it into production, support the launch with an internal publicity campaign to create broad awareness of its availability to your prospective user base. I recommend using every means possible including: town halls, webcasts, email, enterprise social networks, and even information booths/kiosks in key locations. And, provide information on how to request the service, and develop training for your users on how to engage. If you followed the first two Cs, this last C will be icing on the cake.
Joe Chenevey is a business solutions architect with VMware Accelerate Advisory Services and is based in Oklahoma. You can follow him on Twitter @VIJoe_Chenevey.