The cloud isn’t just about technology — it’s much more

By John Richardson
5/22/2013

The cloud isn’t just about technology. And you may be surprised to learn that the private cloud project moving slowly through your architecture group should really be your number one priority. But your team may not know it and may not be treating it that way.

So what else is the cloud about? It’s also about giving your users what they want, the way they want it. For instance:

  • Speed – they want resources deployed in hours, not weeks
  • User experience – they want to select what they want from a menu of choices, use a stored credit card to pay for it, and get to work.

What don’t they want? A lengthy justification and approval process, then waiting an unspecified time to get the resources.

Is that what your private cloud team is focused on? Or are they focused on comparing the countless options out there, respecting the vendor relationships you’ve built over the years, and trying to optimize the use of existing resources, processes and standards?

If it’s something like the latter, your cloud project may not be moving nearly fast enough.

Here’s why the private cloud is really your most important project. For the first time, you have competition – the public cloud, or more accurately, the rogue cloud, where your users take their credit cards to get the speed and user experience they want.

Every day your team spends optimizing the perfect cloud solution is a day in which more IT spend goes to Amazon, and your team looks less relevant to both users and the rest of the executive management.

The cloud is about the future role that IT plays in the business. IT leaders who quickly use private clouds to sell and deliver services to the business in a totally new way can define their future roles. Those that don’t react quickly could end up losing relevance and perceived as a last-choice provider inside their own organizations.

So focus less on the perfect technology solution and quickly pick a workable platform that will allow you to preserve IT’s role:

  • Build a service catalog that’s relevant to the business (in their opinion)
  • Build the capability to deliver the services in that catalog, including:
    • Speed to deliver on new requests
    • Ability to meet promised performance and availability requirements
    • Tools to measure performance and availability
    • Performance reporting and billing capability
    • Breaking down silos to drive customer service focus vs. technology focus
    • Service management processes, including new levels of ticket management, capacity management, chargeback and customer relationship management
    • Selling your services to your internal customers

There’s no doubt it’s a lot of work, in areas that your team may not have current skills. To make the most of this unique moment in history:

  • Make the private cloud project your top priority
  • Change the focus from exploring technology options to quickly deploying a working prototype that is focused on specific customer needs
  • Get the experienced outside help you need to cover the tools, processes and marketing gaps that your team can’t cover