A Key Decision Is Often Clouded By Emotion

What is one of the most important decisions infrastructure & operations (I&O) professionals face today? It's not whether to leverage the cloud or build a private cloud or even which cloud to use. The more important decision is which applications to place in the cloud, and sadly this decision isn't often made objectively. Application development & delivery professionals often decide on their own by bypassing IT. When the decision is made in the open with all parts of IT and the business invited to collaborate, emotion and bravado often rule the day. "SAP's a total pain and a bloated beast, let's move that to the cloud," one CIO said to his staff recently. His belief was if we can do that in the cloud it will prove to the organization that we can move anything to the cloud. Sadly, while a big bang certainly would garner a lot of attention, the likelihood that this transition would be successful is extremely low, and a big bang effort that becomes a big disaster could sour your organization on the cloud and destroy IT's credibility. Instead, organizations should start with low risk applications that let you learn safely how to best leverage the cloud — whether public or private.

But how do you get the emotion, conjecture and bravado out of the process?

This requires a methodology and tool for framing the discussion and grounding it in best practices. And by the way, this decision process isn't unique to the cloud decision.

The overall decision is one of getting outsourcing right because some applications should move to true cloud solutions while others are a better fit for traditional hosting, colocation and other deployment methods. Getting this right is what Forrester calls "strategic rightsourcing." This methodology we debuted in 2009 is based on best practice efforts from over 200 customers. Now we have boiled this methodology down into a single tool that can be used to drive your internal discussions. Through a structured set of questions your organization can break down your application and IT service catalogs into not only candidates for the cloud but also phases of consideration that let you achieve measurable and meaningful wins while gaining the experience necessary to move up from non-critical applications toward mission critical ones with the knowledge and confidence they will succeed. Download it today. But this is just a decision making tool. You also have to get management of the new outsourcing model right. Marrying strategic rightsourcing with a multisourcing management model by your sourcing & vendor management colleagues.

This collaboration will be the topic of my session Friday here at Forrester IT Forum. Getting this right is critical to achieving outsourcing and cloud-sourcing success. Come join us.


Great piece on the Cloud Dilemma

Great piece on the Cloud Dilemma. That challenge is that not many folks look at that technology from a strategic planning perspective as yet. Sure, they understand that this turns computing into a variable cost rather than fixed cost by providing compute capacity on-demand.

But the business questions will decide which apps and which clouds:

• How will companies react to the rise of a new competitor built on cloud “pay as you go” model? E.g. Can a new company start up with near-zero investments with a pay-per-use billing system?
• Is it possible for my company to enter new markets using cloud solutions? Which opportunities make sense? Front office apps??
• Can I offer any cloud-based solution to my suppliers, to expand my knowledge and control through the value chain? Back office Apps??


Factors to support the Cloud decision making process.

Customers today are exploring public cloud as a part of their Data center extension strategy. The current public cloud offerings in the market today provide them the flexibility to extend and complement their existing virtualized or non-virtualized DC environments. I am sure the mission critical applications like ERP may continue to run on servers that they own and host in their own data centers for some more time, but non fringe applications that are being developed new which requires massive scale can go through a decision criteria comprising of business criticality, Security, Technology feasibility and complexity for conformance for public cloud. The notion of unpredictable bursting, on and off processing, seasonal demand, short term campaigns etc are common no brainers.
Workload which exists in premises today may need few more evaluation parameters to facilitate or support the decision to move to public cloud. Here the workloads can be assessed based on business criticality, security, technology, complexity, usage and most importantly the overall TCO. One of the best practices for easy decision making here is to map these applications on to value vs effort Model quadrants. Having said this, these can only help in getting a high level view and it is advised to consult experts for the right prescriptions.