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Approaching Cloudsizing

Cloud Computing and how to drive your enterprises in that direction - Part 1 of 4

You've heard of downsizing and rightsizing, so how about Cloudsizing? As properly defined, Cloudsizing is:

The improvement of efficiency and effectiveness of an organization through the selective use of computing resources that are delivered over the Internet

Simple but powerful, and fairly obvious, considering all that's been written about Cloud Computing recently.

However, what is not obvious is how you approach Cloudsizing, or how you get started. Thus, the purpose of this column/article, and the next three, is to introduce you to both the notion of Cloud Computing and how to drive your enterprises in that direction, and to do so through understanding and not just following the hype.

How the heck do you figure out what needs to be in the Cloud and what needs to be local to the enterprise? As with all things related to enterprise computing, it depends on your enterprise. However, there are steps you can take to figure out your requirements.

Here's how you approach Cloudsizing, in a 17-step process:

  1. Assess the business.
  2. Assess the culture.
  3. Assess the value.
  4. Understand your data.
  5. Understand your services.
  6. Understand your processes.
  7. Understand the cloud resources.
  8. Identify candidate data.
  9. Identify candidate services.
  10. Identify candidate processes.
  11. Create a governance strategy.
  12. Create a security strategy.
  13. Bind candidate services to data and processes.
  14. Relocate services, processes, and information.
  15. Implement security.
  16. Implement governance.
  17. Implement operations.

Assessing the Business
There is a saying in the world of enterprise IT: "The business drives IT." However, while that sounds good, that's typically not the case. Indeed, most of IT considers the business, but typically drives a strategy that's decoupled from the core business, when you get right down to it. When we say access the business is the first step to Cloudsizing, we don't mean consider the business, we mean understand the essence of the business and make sure to align the technology with it.

This means, understand the core strategy of the business, the direction of the products and/or services, the approach to obtaining business, the approach to partner integration, the approach to product development, etc., - all aspects, all understanding, again looking for ways to improve the business by leveraging Cloud Computing.

What you'll find is that the core business processes need special attention, and that there are areas where innovation can play a key role. For instance, the ability to validate the value of a sales lead, in process, by leveraging a D&B search from the Cloud, or the ability to locate a product for a customer by leveraging a remote logistics service and thus provide better customer service, which translates into higher sales.

Skip this step, and you might as well not bother. The business is at the essence of the opportunities found in the Cloud, thus you need to have complete knowledge of the business before proceeding.

Assessing the Culture
Once the business is understood, it's time to understand the people. In a recent Burton Group study, it was found that people and processes were typically the critical success factor for SOA, and considering that Cloud Computing is an extension of SOA, you'll find that that there are repeating patterns here.

Truth-be-told the "Cloud" is threatening to the rank-and-file who have gotten used to having all IT assets under their direct control. We saw the same thing back in the emerging days of SaaS, where IT blocked all attempts to deliver applications as a service, but the overwhelming need to have those applications up-and-running overcame the cultural pushback.

Cloud Computing is more invasive than SaaS. Considering that we now outsource infrastructure such as storage and application development as well as information and services, the cultural blocking will certainly be a factor here. Thus, you must take the time to access the culture of the organization, both understanding what will hinder success as well as create ways around the cultural impedance.

Next month we'll continue down our list.

More Stories By David Linthicum

David Linthicum is the Chief Cloud Strategy Officer at Deloitte Consulting, and was just named the #1 cloud influencer via a recent major report by Apollo Research. He is a cloud computing thought leader, executive, consultant, author, and speaker. He has been a CTO five times for both public and private companies, and a CEO two times in the last 25 years.

Few individuals are true giants of cloud computing, but David's achievements, reputation, and stellar leadership has earned him a lofty position within the industry. It's not just that he is a top thought leader in the cloud computing universe, but he is often the visionary that the wider media invites to offer its readers, listeners and viewers a peek inside the technology that is reshaping businesses every day.

With more than 13 books on computing, more than 5,000 published articles, more than 500 conference presentations and numerous appearances on radio and TV programs, he has spent the last 20 years leading, showing, and teaching businesses how to use resources more productively and innovate constantly. He has expanded the vision of both startups and established corporations as to what is possible and achievable.

David is a Gigaom research analyst and writes prolifically for InfoWorld as a cloud computing blogger. He also is a contributor to “IEEE Cloud Computing,” Tech Target’s SearchCloud and SearchAWS, as well as is quoted in major business publications including Forbes, Business Week, The Wall Street Journal, and the LA Times. David has appeared on NPR several times as a computing industry commentator, and does a weekly podcast on cloud computing.

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