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Cloud Computing: How to Get Better, Faster and Cheaper?


in Business, Cloud

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As trained technology professionals, we’ve become used to the idea that technology changes faster every year and the need to ‘minimize negative business disruptions’ is even more critical today, when more and more business transactions are relying on effective and efficient IT Services. Many years ago, I learned how difficult it was to be ready- and able- to support hardware, software and, most importantly, customers in the face of this rapid change.

In just a few decades, we’ve gone from mainframe to distributed systems to cloud computing. But, when we look at current times and see the compute power, storage quantity and networking capacity required to handle today’s daily business transactions, the numbers can be amazing. As today’s businesses grow exponentially larger they are demanding faster response times, more compute power, more storage, increased bandwidth and throughput and much faster provisioning just to meet their more basic needs.

Better, Faster, Cheaper

Better, faster, cheaper is and has always been the name of the game; no surprises there. Some organizations, though, can’t quite seem to focus on all three of these attributes at once. They tend to focus on just two, faster and cheaper, and disregard the better. But, can they really afford just two out of three in this case?

I’m often amazed that many organizations pay little to no attention to their IT operations’ maturity level. Organizations large and small, new and not so new, are sometimes so entrenched in delivering the faster and cheaper that they forget that the better can significantly contribute to achieving the performance and cost efficiencies that we all seem to be chasing after and dreaming about.

Cloud computing is certainly not a new concept-  the availability of today’s amazing compute power, paired with fantastic virtualization solutions, represent key contributing factors to achieving faster and cheaper IT service. This is very evident with an efficient orchestration layer that automates provisioning by providing the end customer with a powerful and complete IT catalogue, at their fingertips, to meet their needs faster and cheaper than ever before.

But is it really fast and cheap?

But what happens when companies decide to invest in new cloud computing technologies to make their IT run faster and cheaper, but lack the backbone and processes to deliver better IT services? Better yet, what happens when they invest in cloud computing to migrate business critical applications, such as SAP, to a cloud environment without having the ‘better’ factor in place and actually end up doing damage to their business?

 In these cases, the new solution fails to deliver any of the three desired attributes: It is not faster due to recurring service disruptions, is not cheaper due to the lack of service availability and is certainly not better because it ends up hurting the business.

 The better factor is, in my opinion, critical for success in deploying new technologies such as cloud computing. This better factor I’m referring to is also known as maturity. The maturity level of your IT operations is a key factor in provisioning a fast and reliable IT service at the right cost, enabling your organization to meet, and sometimes exceed, business demands.

 Finding the better.

Whether you run your business on a private, public or hybrid cloud, increasing the maturity level of your IT organization and engaging IT service providers with a proven record of effective operational maturity is critical to achieving faster, cheaper and better IT services.

Reaching appropriate Operational Maturity Levels – by yourself and in conjunction with your IT partners – will save you money in the short and long term. You will enjoy the benefits of a proactive support organization that will:

  • Enable your IT services to minimize and even eliminate negative impacts to the business, sometimes even before disruptions actually occur.
  • Empower the business to self-serve their own needs consistently with technology and enjoy higher levels of availability with predictable service levels.

You will also increase retention of key resources. A higher level of operational maturity immediately translates into less “firefighting”, reduced stress and minimized unpredictable working hours.

What can you afford?

So, can you really afford not to focus on the better factor and do you still believe you’ll be able to deliver IT services faster and cheaper without it? Can you afford to not reach an appropriate maturity level in your IT Operations? Can you afford to hire vendors who are lacking operational maturity?

If you think you can, my advice to you would be to take a closer look at your bottom line, particularly around hidden costs such as project delays, loss of business, and loss of potential business. It should become apparent quickly that fast and cheap will not deliver over the long term without the presence of better.

It makes the most sense to partner with vendors who can prove to you how mature their operations are and who will willingly discuss their operational best practices. Include certain maturity level requirements (for whatever level is appropriate for your organization) in your future RFPs before hiring new vendors and make operational maturity a prerequisite that they must meet. This will not only improve your overall services, but will also contribute to increasing the maturity level of your own operations at a much faster pace.

Gabriel
Twitter: @glopezIMS

Gabriel Lopez is a certified ITIL Expert, Lean IT and EMC Proven Professional with more than 20 years of experience in Service Delivery and IT Operations.