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Tag Archives: cloud business management

Cloud Services Definition

Part 3 of the Cloud Business Management Series

By Khalid Hakim, Kai Holthaus and Bill Irvine

Services DefinitionIn our last cloud operations business transformation blog, we talked about the cloud business strategy and its importance in formulating the vision and the plan as to how you want to run your cloud as a business. In today’s blog, the focus begins to shift to executing the strategy and laying out the foundations of a service-oriented and business-driven “operating model”.

There is a saying: you can’t manage what you can’t control, and you can’t control what you can’t define.  Imagine that you are planning to open a new business. The first step is to define what services/products you want to offer your consumers and what distinguishes your market value among the others. Similarly, cloud business management starts at this point. IT should identify and define what cloud services would be offered to its consumers in order to truly drive a services-oriented and value-driven organization.

Key Areas of Services Definition

VMware recommends a unique approach for defining cloud services, through which a service owner defines a 360-degree view of how the cloud services would be established, managed and delivered effectively and efficiently to meet or exceed the expected value. To paint this panoramic view, cloud service owners should consider the following areas:

  • Service Overview – describe the service in terms of its purpose, goals, consumers, criticality, availability criteria and rhythm of business.
  • Virtual Service Team – organize your team members around the services you deliver. Team up as a virtual service team.
  • Services Definition ChartService Chart – map out the end-to-end cloud service in a graphical representation that is easy to consume. The service chart helps to visually understand the core components of a service and contributes when costing services.
  • Service Portfolio and Consumer Management – the service portfolio answers the questions, who are our customers and why should they buy the service from us. It contains all of the service categories and the business units that consume them and aids with making informed “service” and “business” based investment decisions.
  • Service Design and Development – provide high level information about how the services will be designed and developed, especially if the service isn’t yet in production. This helps with understanding the customer business need and developing the most valuable solution possible.
  • Service Catalog Management – identify service catalog structure parameters and possible blueprints. Also, define what columns or key fields should be included in service catalog entries.
  • Service Level Management – define key SLA/OLA targets to ensure provisioning time and quality meets specific business needs.
  • Service Desk Management – describe how the service will be supported. Draft a plan for service-desk requirements, skills needed and required knowledge transfer.
  • Proactive Operations Management – define the service operation requirements for support and reliability from the event and performance monitoring to availability, demand, capacity, continuity and security management.
  • Provisioning and Change Management – define the service provisioning lifecycle and associated change management policies including how the service will be pre-approved and auto-provisioned (for maximum efficiency). New leaner change management workflow needs to defined / refined (i.e. standard changes).
  • Service Financial Management – define the service cost and charge back/ show back model along with pricing and connections to the service catalog.
  • Service Performance and KPIs – define any applicable service related strategic, tactical and operational performance indicators (KPIs), and the metrics that will be collected to demonstrate that required performance was achieved. Also define how and when the KPIs and metrics will be reported, and to whom.
  • Service Reviews – define service-based review meetings to discuss and remediate any operational or consumer related topics. Follow a standard cadence for all services. Discuss potential changes in demand for services. Capture new or enhanced service requirements.
  • Service Marketing – define the key applicable service marketing elements for a successful service promotion and value realization within different company cultures.

Now, how long do you think this exercise will take? In most of our engagements, defining a service takes between 1 to 2 weeks. It is never intended to fully document all the areas above immediately, or establish all of the processes, as many organizations don’t have this all of this information available. Think of the Service Definition as a living and breathing document. The service owner should establish a working draft, develop it to the point of release and then maintain in for its life as an active service offering. All undefined services are treated as areas for improvement.

In our next blog, we will take this to the next level as we learn to establish a cloud service-based cost model and cost out cloud services end-to-end.  This will enable you to understand the cost of a unit of a cloud and provide the required level of cost transparency internally and to consumers.

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Khalid Hakim is an IT Business/Financial Management Lead with the VMware Operations Transformation global practice. You can follow him on Twitter @KhalidHakim47.

Kai Holthaus is a Sr. Transformation Consultant with VMware Operations Transformation Services and is based in Oregon.

Bill Irvine is a Principal Strategist with VMware Accelerate Advisory Services and is based in Colorado.

Cloud Business Strategy

Part Two of the Cloud Business Management Series

Cloud Business Strategy

By Khalid Hakim, Charlie McVeigh and Reg Lo

At VMware we have the good fortune of working with many different customers on driving and implementing a Cloud Business Strategy.  As we have discussed in some of our prior Cloud Business Management blogs, there is a full spectrum of issues to be considered when considering Cloud Business Management.  This spectrum of issues include:

  • Cloud Strategy
  • Cloud Costing
  • Cloud Marketing
  • Service Level Management & Contracts Management
  • Budgeting & Forecasting
  • Services Definition
  • Cloud Pricing
  • Consumption & Charge-back
  • Cost Optimization

Today we are going to look specifically at the role of Cloud Business Strategy and our time tested workshop approach that we use with our customers to derive a road map to success.

CBM_workshop

Our Cloud Business Management (CBM) Workshops always start by asking our customers what their definition of “success” is when looking forward 18-24 months into the future.  While every customer is unique, the common success criteria that we hear from our customers include the following items:

  • Full transparency for IT consumers as to what they consume and what are the costs for what they are consuming, i.e. who consumes what and at what cost
  • Reclamation and recovery of unused or underutilized infrastructure.
  • Establishment of services definitions for “patterns” (repeatable services in the service catalog) and “snowflakes”  (services that are unique and require engineering to stand the service up.)
  • Reduced time of deployment of services especially “patterns”
  • Understanding from an economic and technical perspective of where is the best place to run cloud workloads. Is it private cloud, public cloud or a hybrid cloud environment? Maybe it is more cost efficient to run temporary workloads in the public cloud than the private one.
  • Incentivizing users to “do the right thing” due to understanding of economics and transparency of costs.
  • Incentivizing users to “do the right thing” due to vastly improved day 0, day 1 and day 2 operations automation.

Once we have an understanding of what “success” will look like in the future, we then drive into a deeper discussion of the following items:

  1. We start by asking for current pain points across the CBM spectrum listed after the first paragraph above. For example: Do you have service definitions? Do you know your costs for services?  Do you engage in pricing strategies?  Are you marketing cloud services to incent user behavior?  Do your users know what they are consuming?  What are you doing for cost optimization?, etc.
  2. We then engage our customers in a discussion of what they would like to see in the future across the CBM spectrum and what tangible improvements that they can anticipate as they mature across each of these disciplines.
  3. Discussions then dive into the current level of maturity across the CBM Spectrum. The key here being that more mature organizations provides higher levels of value to the IT organization and the business consumers of IT resources.
  4. Lastly, a deep dive into data sources that can be used for setting up automated cost modeling are investigated. We are looking to understand what are some of the foundational data sources for Cloud Management (such as vRA, vROPs), Foundation sources for costs (G/L, A/P, Organization, Budgets), Operational Data (Labor rates, Headcount, Compute capacity and metering, Storage capacity and metering, Network capacity and metering, Reporting requirements, Financial practices, etc.)

The workshop and the discussions that occur require a significant discovery effort and detailed listening to our customers.   From this effort we are able to derive a detailed deliverable that results in a tangible Cloud Business Strategy deliverable.   The strategy includes a road map with definitive success points at 6 months, 12 months and 18 – 24 months.

Cloud Business StrategyEmbedded within the Cloud Business Strategy document, is an illustration of what will happen to the organizations maturity across the CBM spectrum if the road map is followed.  Maturity gains will be followed and realized by direct and quantifiable improvements in value provided by the Cloud management team to the business that they are supporting.

For more information and to schedule a Cloud Business Management Workshop for your organization, please contact your local VMware representative.

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Khalid Hakim is an operations architect with the VMware Operations Transformation global practice. You can follow him on Twitter @KhalidHakim47.

Charlie McVeigh is an IT business management strategic advisor for VMware. You can follow him on Twitter @cbmcveigh.

Reg Lo is the Director of VMware Accelerate Advisory Services and is based in San Diego, CA.  You can connect with him on LinkedIn.

The Cloud Business Manager Role

Part One of the Cloud Business Management Series

Khalid HakimCharlie McVeighBy Khalid Hakim and Charlie McVeigh

Business leaders look at the cloud model and see new ways to accelerate innovation, create competitive advantage, and drive new business models. IT executives look at private, public and hybrid cloud models and see a host of new possibilities for positive IT outcomes, including among others:

  • Optimizing CapEx
  • Lowering OpEx
  • Shifting focus to optimize the “run IT” budget thus freeing funding for the “grow IT” budget
  • Improved service delivery times through app and infrastructure delivery automation
  • Improved asset utilization by understanding consumption and usage patterns in the cloud

Never forget your history lessons.   Have you ever participated in a successful transformation project that didn’t factor in People, Process and Technology? We still find that all too often, a critical aspect of harnessing the cloud is overlooked: the organizational impact of moving to the cloud model. The fact is, the transition to the cloud model requires an evolution in roles, skills, processes, and organizational structure.

Organizing for the cloud cannot be an afterthought in the formulation of an effective IT transformation strategy. When IT is in transition, roles and responsibilities are more important than ever. The right people, with the right skills, have to be in the right places and serve the right roles.

Chief among these critical organizational shifts is establishing a Cloud Business Management discipline. This blog is the first in a four part series recommending specific Cloud Business Management roles and processes to consider.

Cloud Business Manager Role:  Run Cloud Like a Business

The Cloud Business Manager role  drives a new business management discipline within IT to lead a comprehensive cloud business management practice, leveraging investments in vRealize Business. The Cloud Business Manager supports Cloud Infrastructure and Tenant Operations to help the business better manage:

  • Cloud spend
  • Rate cards
  • Showback and chargeback
  • Reporting of consumption and wastage
  • Service tier options
  • Fair recovery of IT costs
  • Incentives driving the right economic usage patterns by cloud consumers.

Cloud Business Management

Responsibilities of the Cloud Business Manager are in the following 4 categories:

  • Financial
    • The focus here is primarily to develop the cloud service-based cost model along with a repeatable service costing process for Cloud consumption. Among other responsibilities, this includes service-based cost allocation and classification strategy, tracking and management of cloud costs, cloud services rates settings, and defining consumption and showback/chargeback reports from both the provider and consumer perspective.
  • Business
    • Included here are responsibilities for developing a cloud strategy roadmap, a cloud services marketing program, and liaison work among IT, Corporate Marketing, and Business Unit consumers of the cloud.
  • IT/Cloud
    • Here the responsibilities include defining SLA’s, ensuring delivery, and making cloud workload placement decisions based on the right economic factors to avoid shadow-IT situations.
  •  Value
    • Responsibilities here include defining value metrics, continuous improvement reporting, and regular business performance reporting for key stakeholders. This enables the business consumers of the cloud to make the right economic decisions about where and how to run their workloads.
  • Corporate/IT Marketing
    • Develop a Cloud Services marketing strategy; offers and promotions to ensures cloud services consumption and value. Once you understand the economics of cloud workload placement, cloud marketing will drive users to that desired behavior.

What does the Cloud Business Manager contribute to the business?

The Cloud Business Manager helps IT deliver on cloud promises for the desired quality at the right cost, by ensuring tighter alignment and accountability between IT, Business and Finance.  This roles makes a significant contribution in the workload placement decision-making process, as well as hybrid cloud, cost takeout, application rationalization and bill-of-cloud.

Let us know if we can help you further define this role in your company.  And keep a look out for Part Two in this Cloud Business Management Series next month, where I cover the Cloud Business Strategy topic.

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Khalid Hakim is an operations architect with the VMware Operations Transformation global practice. You can follow him on Twitter @KhalidHakim47.

Charlie McVeigh is an IT business management strategic advisor for VMware. You can follow him on Twitter @cbmcveigh

Strategizing and Modernizing your Cloud Delivery Practice

Part 1 – Establishing your Cloud Business Management Practice 

By Khalid Hakim, Charlie McVeigh

History, particularly IT history, sure does have a way of repeating itself.

Think back to the 80’s and the advent of mini computers.   Mini computers were widely adopted by business units because of the perceived difficulty and cost of having the IT organization implement business solutions on the corporate mainframe.   In the 1990’s it was the PC.  Again, Corporate IT was seen as too slow and too expensive for the business solutions that were needed.  In the  2000’s  it is the advent of 2nd and 3rd generation Internet applications followed quickly by  the mobile computing revolution.  Like a broken record, corporate IT organizations were perceived as being slow and expensive to react to these new business demands.   Now that we are  in 2015, IT organizations are fighting the proliferation of public cloud offerings that business units cannot seem to drink up quickly enough.

What is common to each of the historical phases that are described above?  Business units that consume IT services perceived that they could procure IT services and applications more quickly and at a lower cost than corporate IT organizations could provide them.

What does this mean for the CIO in the modern era of IT?  It means that CIO’s must adapt or run the risk of being rendered irrelevant in relation to the way IT is consumed today and into the future.  It means that  CIO’s must now get on board with the concept of “running IT like a business.”  It means that CIOS’s must evolve such they are arbiters of technology and understand economically where is the best place for IT workloads to run.  Is it private cloud?  Public cloud?  Hybrid?  Outsourced?  Insourced? SaaS?  Iaas?  PaaS?  The choices are nearly endless – and you get it – todays CIO must be versed in all of these capabilities.

Todays effective CIO is asking and seeking answers most of the following questions:  Can you tell me on the spot what your total cloud spend is, and, what that spend is comprised of?  What’s the cost for you to deliver a unit of cloud service (IaaS for instance)? And what about your consumers: Who consumes what service and at what cost?

Can you identify the services used and the cost allocation for each service? How is your cost efficiency compared to that of other public cloud infrastructures? How can you use that type of information to optimize the cost of your existing and future operations? How can you create a showback report to each of your stakeholders?

Let’s say that you’re the VP of Cloud — think through how you would justify your data center investments. Have you proactively analyzed demand vs. capacity and how this is impacting your forecasting/budgeting exercises?  How can you scale dynamically to fulfill your consumer needs? Have you thought about your goal to optimize the cost of delivering cloud services? “What if” scenarios, benchmarking, and the reduction and optimization cost and price of your cloud services should be considered as well. Don’t you need closer monitoring to the quality of your delivery, such as continuous analysis and improvement? Have you thought of aligning your efforts with the corporate marketing and promoting your cloud services value?

(I can hear you thinking, enough with the questions already…)

What I would like to share with you today is a 6-month program (shown in the diagram below) to transform your cloud initiative into a successful robust cloud business management practice. The goal of the Cloud Business Management (CBM) service is to set up a cloud business management practice to enable effective, efficient, and agile business management of your cloud services.

Cloud Business Management

The following components are addressed in the full cloud business lifecycle service.

  • Cloud Business Manager Workshop – Educate the cloud service delivery teams on the foundations of cloud business and financial management aspects including costing, pricing, showback/chargeback, budgeting, forecasting, and cost optimization.
  • Cloud Business Strategy Assessment – Evaluate the IT business operational maturity of an organization and compare with VMware recommended practices. VMware will recommend possible strategies and propose a plan that best fits the organization IT and business models.
  • Cloud Services Definition – A comprehensive methodology to define cloud services and their constituent components end-to-end.
  • Cloud Services Costing – Understand Customer’s cloud services cost end-to-end and create a service-based cost allocation and classification strategy for Customer’s cloud services.
  • Cloud Services Pricing – Help Customer set a cloud pricing strategy and propose rates for the various components and offerings. This includes showback, cost recovery, investment funds, and driving particular behavior.
  • Cloud Services Marketing – Set up the cloud services marketing strategy including branding, marketing objectives, cloud service positioning, communications plan, value measurement, cultural considerations, and catalyst of change. Also, identify types of promotions and drivers of cloud services consumption and behavior impact.
  • Consumption and Showback / Chargeback – Help Customer develop a process for reporting on cloud service consumption and billing for cost recovery using VMware vRealize™ Business Advanced. In addition, determine the required people roles and dashboards.
  • Cloud SLM and Contracts Management – A comprehensive Cloud Service Level Management process including SLA and OLA templates between Cloud Infrastructure and Tenant Operations teams and the consumer. Additionally, basic vendor contract management process is provided.
  • Cost Optimization – Develop and execute a cloud cost optimization repeatable process that includes competitive analysis, benchmarking, public cloud comparison, and cost savings realization.
  • Cloud Services Budgeting and Forecasting – Develop a cloud-service-based budgeting and forecasting process to enable a more efficient demand and supply chain supported by the vRealize Business Advance cost model.

So, how is this valuable to your organization?

  1. Help your business consumers be accountable for better management of their cloud spend  rate cards, showback, chargeback, service tier options, and fair recovery of IT costs
  2. Help you make informed decisions for hybrid cloud, cost takeout, application rationalization, intelligent workload placement and bill of cloud
  3. Empower your IT to deliver on cloud promises for the desired quality, at the right cost by creating tighter alignment and accountability between IT, Business, and Finance
  4. Present you a comprehensive cloud business management practice within your IT organization leveraging your investment on vRealize Business and enabling you to run your cloud like a business
  5. Accelerate your transformation journey to an IT organization that is more consumption and cloud-service based

In our next blogs, we’ll cover the cloud business management components in greater details to help you plan for your Cloud Business Management (CBM) practice within your organization.

And if you’re heading to VMworld, don’t miss this session!

VMworld 2015

Using vRealize Business for Cloud Business Management

IT services and applications gradually rely on cloud services that provide more flexibility and agility for IT providers to supply the value to the business on demand. However this change also introduce new challenges to manage a dynamic environment that needs to scale economically per consumer’s demand. The cloud model can facilitate the shift to a business focus for the entire IT hierarchy—from the top to the technical teams managing and delivering the cloud. But to achieve the full business value of the cloud, companies need to put in place a more specialized and robust Cloud Business Management (CBM) practice. The CBM practice addresses the key business aspects of cloud operations.  Khalid Hakim, global operations financial and business management architect, and Kobi Katzir – Senior Product Line Manager at VMware will shed light on this new business practice using VMware vRealize Business to move your cloud management to the next level in maturity and position it as a strategic partner to your business consumers and line of businesses.

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Khalid Hakim is an operations architect with the VMware Operations Transformation global practice. You can follow him on Twitter @KhalidHakim47.

Charlie McVeigh is an IT business management strategic advisor, and you can follow him on Twitter @cbmcveigh