Sunday, February 2, 2014

Five Reasons Clouds Have Vacancies

There is a dirty secret kept inside the walls of public and private cloud providers. The dirty secret is that many of the providers have huge vacancies, yet their message to the public is that they are open for business, and business is great!

Those who have been successful with their cloud initiatives know what it takes to not only start a cloud initiative but create a thriving business that grows beyond the technical pilot phase and into a vibrant cloud program.

Here are five reasons clouds go uninhabited

1) Technology focused, technology for the sake of technology has limited business benefits. Many who focus purely on the technical aspects find themselves distracted by the capabilities of cloud and end up in a technology arms race, with few business benefits.

2) Alignment with the business most will say they are aligned to the business needs, after all they work with them on a daily basis and "understand" what they need. The reality is that behind closed doors IT functions are a means to an end, a necessary cost. True alignment means you must work as partners solving business problems.

3) Process is an afterthought in many cloud initiatives, the real benefit from cloud comes from not only technology, but being able to streamline the process, automate manual steps and in many cases reduce the amount of human capital required to provide services.

4) Cost benefit analysis businesses are smart, they know not to invest without a business case, however many businesses invest in cloud technologies built on business cases developed by vendors. The truth is that the business case is of NO value if you can not execute, it comes down to execution.

5) Onboarding capability, waiting to organically grow a cloud is like watching paint dry. It's a slow, deliberate process that could take years to complete. Yet many find this out later and do not have a plan to onboard workloads into cloud, or they have a grand vision that cloud is a utopia, a pristine example of what we should aspire too. There needs to be a compromise, a transition needs to happen but at the same time business also continues to happen. It's important to provide a path to cloud if you want the program to flourish.

Cloud does and will continue to have a bright future, the reality is that the future may not be as bright for the cloud providers who aren't able to get workloads into their clouds - for the foreseeable future cloud will be a land grab, those with offerings positioned to meet the needs of the business with clear cost benefits, streamlined process, not solely focused on technology with a clear path to cloud will win the grab.

John M. Hawkins is a Senior Director with RiverMeadow Software, a leader in Cloud Portability. He is the author of Affinity: Managing Java Application Servers, and Building a Strategic Plan for Your Life and Business. Hawkins lives in Oregon Twitter: @hawkinsjohn

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