What does it mean for a company to journey to the Cloud, culture and processes

October 6, 2012

Business environments are faced with rapid change to better adapt to evolving market conditions and operational costs. These challenges most often requires the company to change the way business is done. BPM has become a critical function in many companies and is expected to grow even further with the journey to the Cloud.

Enabling IT operations and workflow over the cloud is a concept that many organizations are embracing and this service is growing in popularity among other companies that have yet to transition IT operations over to the Cloud. Shifting IT operations to the Cloud will fundamentally change the way that technology is exploited and the value that it can bring. Using cloud solutions to manage a business’s operations is a shift in technology that offers great value, with an increase in complexity and challenge to traditional IT operations. According to Gartner, by 2016 20% of all the “shadow business processes” will be supported by BPM cloud platforms, such as spreadsheets, routing of emails, collaboration apps, etc. As applications mature, performance requirements, regulatory requirements, or specific business drivers change the organization will explore other Cloud solutions that will continue to present process and cultural challenges.

The journey to the Cloud will need a re-inventing of the traditional IT model of plan, build and manage. Traditionally 100% demand for IT services has gone to the IT department. Cloud solutions are changing that model. With traditional  IT services transitioning to the Cloud Service Provider (CSP) the waterfall of activities  associated with the traditional IT model for delivery and management of services such as security, governance, capacity planning and budgets will pose a challenge for the CIO and CTO. Cloud providers are usurping the CIO and going directly to the business to sell their line of business solutions, such a shift in strategy causes a disruption in IT service delivery. Along with providing the business units with a consumption model, something the traditional IT department does not do, the business unit is able to keep an eye on their budget and the direct relationship offers project visibility. For the business unit these are added value for doing business with the CSP. Such shifts will force the hand of the enterprise to look at change of culture, operational processes, infrastructure and architecture as part of a new model for IT operations.

In a July SAP Cloud Computing post Sina Moatamed, Ding, Dong, The Suite is Dead! (as we know it)  proposed the following architectural components for a new IT model. Such changes will transform organizational culture and the way we traditionally think of the IT department. Creating a Process-as-a-Service model will revolutionize the IT department from traditional plan, build, manage to Service Provider. In this role the IT department is the “gatekeeper” of company assets, representing the business before CSP. Business units no longer have the need to go directly to the CSP.

Integration-as-a-Service would give process integration between SaaS solutions and with existing internal application services.  It would also provide for Master Data Management.  If the enterprise is journeying to a Public cloud offering which is without borders, the security issues so many companies wrestle with, Sina suggest the only way to properly secure organizational assets is to tightly manage the identities that have access.  So IT will need to use an Identity-as-a-Service provider to manage identities across all SaaS services. A centralized  Platform-as-a-Service environment. The normalization of data will allow for developing point solutions and workflows.  He states this is significant change to the traditional model.  Because now the PaaS is the center of the universe with many SaaS services surrounding the PaaS. The PaaS concept as being “the center of the universe” causes me to think of BPM PaaS.

This model not only transitions IT from overseer to an actual service provider, it offers solutions to some of the challenges and concerns expressed by companies with regard to moving to the Cloud. This is a frontward architecture for other shifts in technology consumption such as mobility and social networking.

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