We frequently must do some difficult things to make our life simple.

When I’m enjoying a hobby or craft, a cool new tool or product is appreciated to build things faster, cheaper, or better.  When I bought my table saw, I envisioned the ease by which I could do my home remodeling chores. The box said “some assembly required,” and it took an afternoon, a couple of modifications, and some investment in planning and learning in order to master this useful and flexible tool for my projects. But since then it has paid for itself many times over in time saved and accuracy.

It’s useful to think of the cloud as a tool, too, and a powerful one. But as every CIO knows, the IT industry is putting out a lot of hype about cloud computing right now. We have a lot of what I’ll call cloud burnout, too.  Many organizations have either purchased their cloud solution without proper investment or planning, or they spin wildly around trying to assimilate the various messages of a cloud component supplier.  Recently I have spoken to three organizations that have goals of reducing their costs, and/or reducing their time to market/provision/build.  They essentially are frustrated at not having an understanding of the value proposition of the cloud, or have been sold on deploying someone’s components or cloud service without transforming IT to adapt to the solution(s) required.   What these companies said they really wanted was to reduce cost and/or to reduce the time to deploy their IT solutions and services.

To these enterprises, it’s not about the cloud, it’s about the goals. They realized that their goals could be achieved by changing their organization to adapt to a new model of delivering IT to the business.  That model revolved around service-based management.  It involved a transformation from what they are doing today into a lean model of delivering the IT products to their consumers.  “We want to talk about that transformation, not about buying cloud”, they said. 

Organizations like these need to lay out a transformation from where they are to where they aspire to go. That transformation will likely be pointed toward deploying and supporting discrete standard services for their consumers of IT. In that process, CIOs should realize that they are not only deploying new tools, but a new approach toward delivering the services.  Roles change, the financial model changes, the focus of IT changes from providing components to providing a low-cost commodity service.  IT becomes a factory to produce and deliver services.   As we evaluate this transformation, we find that the cloud is an end-state for this effort, not the start. 

For this reason, these companies are absolutely correct. Let’s not talk about the cloud, let’s talk about the transformation.  It’s not about the cloud, it’s about the goals that people will achieve by using cloud products and services. To that point, I agree.

But don’t shoot the messenger!

HP Strategic IT Advisory Services (SITAS) is prepared to assist you with your roadmap to service transformation and to the benefits of cloud computing, if that is your final destination.