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Cloud Capable, Now What?

Part 1 – Defining Your Vision is the First Step to Creating a Cloud Operating Model

Dion ShingBy Dion Shing

In a recent consulting project, I worked with a customer to help design their cloud operating model. The key focus was on designing an operating model that would support a specific purpose. It was not so clear, however, what that purpose was.

Defining a Purpose Before Developing a Cloud Operating Model

As we went through the workshops, it was clear the customer understood that:

  • Operational processes adapted for cloud computing should underpin the cloud operating model
  • Integration with enterprise service management processes would be necessary
  • Standardization and automation form key principles of cloud computing which can be achieved by integrating process, coordinating people and enabled through technology

What was still ambiguous to them was how they could define an appropriate cloud operating model and structure that would solve their specific business issues.

Our initial recommendation was to develop the cloud operating model in iterative stages, addressing the majority of the business cases, but not all of them.

The Incremental Approach

The first scenario they focused on aimed at building competencies toward Cloud Service Provider Level 3 maturity (VMware’s Cloud Maturity Model) in increments over a medium time horizon.

As we progressed with that scenario, another business case emerged in which the customer would provide cloud computing services to external customers in the same time horizon. This necessitated a change to the design of the cloud operating model and required Level 5 maturity, focusing on the processes in service and business control.

Due to the time frames, an organic growth strategy would take too long and not be sufficient.  This necessitated a different approach with respect to structure. Considerations for partnership and outsourcing were put forward, altering the design of the operating model with a heavier focus on developing processes for vendor management and service brokerage.

What this highlighted to me was how critical it is to understand the overarching enterprise goals and objectives as you set out to design and build a cloud operating model that will meet your organization’s needs.

The example I just laid out represents a process that was effective, but is it possible perhaps to make it efficient as well?

What’s Next in This Blog Series?

As I continue with this blog series I will:

  • Lay out an approach for establishing a cloud operations transformation strategy that is matched to the goals and objectives of the business
  • Examine why the IT department should play an equal role in establishing and shaping business strategies and business models to support the development of innovation and sustained competitive advantages
  • Explore how a cloud organization structure and operating model can be designed based on different enterprise strategies and how to manage the implementation of the change.

Dion Shing is an Operations Architect based in Dubai.