Unisys has advice for CIOs seeking to get the most out of their investment in cloud computing: Before plunging in, consider how the proposed cloud solution can best be integrated with the organization's existing mission-critical systems and IT processes. Taking an analytical approach, Unisys says, is the best defense against "cloud in a corner" syndrome, where new cloud solutions become isolated from the rest of the IT environment and don't contribute the business value they should.
"By some estimates, well planned cloud computing solutions can reduce the cost of IT operations by as much as 20 percent while improving responsiveness and quality in delivery of IT services," says John Treadway, director, global cloud computing solutions, Unisys. "However, it's easy to become entranced by new cloud technologies and lose sight of how those can best be integrated with existing resources. By courting ‘cloud in a corner' syndrome this way, CIOs risk zeroing out savings and even potentially increasing operational costs."
Treadway says that the way to avoid "cloud in a corner" syndrome in the first place - or to approach follow-on cloud initiatives - is to raise the focus above the technology and instead create a comprehensive blueprint for cloud success. The first step in this process is to look at cloud delivery models in the context of the total IT infrastructure.
According to Treadway, no enterprise will move 100% to a cloud model in the near future. "Traditional IT delivery - both internal and outsourced - is not going away. The trick is to recognize that IT is moving to what Unisys calls a ‘hybrid enterprise' model, where an organization makes cloud, traditional, internal and external IT delivery models all work together to lower costs, reduce risk and improve quality of IT services."
Here are the telltale signs IT organizations should look for to see if they have fallen prey to "cloud in a corner" syndrome, says Treadway:
- Your team is evaluating a "cloud stack" solution without first putting in place a comprehensive strategy and framework for integrating it with your existing IT environment;
- You lack clearly articulated criteria and metrics for cloud success from both IT and end-user perspectives;
- You're well into implementation before all stakeholders agree on use cases, roadmaps and expected changes to IT and business processes;
- The technology underlying your cloud is so new, none of your IT people know how to operate it and you have no readiness plan in place so they can learn to do so;
- You need to create duplicate service, security and risk management processes because your new cloud environment won't accommodate those you already have;
- You have not defined and communicated how your team's roles and responsibilities will change with a cloud service delivery model; and
- You're already developing a second cloud solution because the first one didn't meet the organization's needs.
Unisys says its Hybrid Enterprise approach guides organizations in making the best decisions when integrating cloud delivery models into three key areas of IT: applications, data center services and management.