ICT leaders must manage demand for cloud services

The cloud has stimulated intense demand from business users to build or access cloud-based services they pay for as they use them. ICT leaders must step up to manage this demand-- to ensure that their company is coordinating and scaling its cloud services effectively.

Start by clarifying ICT’s governance role: to design, maintain and optimize a cloud services platform. For many companies, the right approach will be a hybrid mix of public and private clouds. Your objective is to integrate and orchestrate services that provide maximum business value, while enforcing security, cost and performance standards.

Articulate a vision of consolidating and standardizing your cloud around a few major SaaS and cloud providers’ apps and add-ons. Next, evolve into a “land-and-expand” approach of adding specialized services from other vendors. Tools such as Microsoft Azure plus Office365, Oracle SaaS plus Oracle cloud or Salesforce CRM plus Appexchange are aligned with this approach. Explain to your users that committing to a large number of subscale SaaS vendors will involve excessive due diligence and contract work.

Build your company’s cloud strategy around your business strategy, not around a few outspoken users’ immediate desires. Your users probably don’t fully understand the technology capabilities they need or the issues involved in creating a technology road map. They may see new technology simply as the means to replicate existing processes. The ICT group needs to upskill to include architects, service designers, business relationship managers and mobile specialists with cloud-savvy skills.

Leverage tools to automate discovery of cloud services that are already in use. Then validate the purpose behind these services. Build a cloud-based app store and service catalog, subject to usage policy guidelines. Keep an eye on the evolving tools market to orchestrate services. Some integration tools ship with thousands of prebuilt integrations designed to connect common Xaas tools.

Finally, you need to have a dialogue with stakeholders that exposes them to the potential and challenges of different cloud platforms. Establish usage policies that ensure optimal services integration. Give your business stakeholders incentives to engage with the ICT organization to build a cloud ecosystem that bridges customers, suppliers and other business partners.

Governance is the best way to manage the business’s demand for cloud services, not heavy-handed mandates. Governance should mean taking stakeholder needs and perspectives into account and developing rational, flexible guidelines for them to follow.

ICT leaders who step up to the challenge of cloud services governance will drive both the success of their company and their own success.

Author: George Nistor Senior ICT Sales and Business Development Deutsche Telekom AG
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