Last week, I attended HP’s Converged Cloud Tech Day in Puerto Rico. Fellow colleagues attended from North, Latin and South America. The purpose of the event was to 1) take a deep dive into HP’s cloud offerings and 2) visit HP’s Aguadilla location, which houses manufacturing and an HP Labs presence. What makes the story interesting is that HP is a hardware manufacturer, a software provider and a provider of cloud services. Overall, I was very impressed by what HP is doing…but read on for the reasons why…and the surprises.
HP Puerto Rico
HP, like many other technology companies, has a significant presence in Puerto Rico. Martin Castillo, HP’s Caribbean Region Country Manager provided an overview for the group that left many in awe. HP exports a whopping $11.5b from Puerto Rico or roughly 10% of HP’s global revenue. In the Caribbean, HP holds more than 70% of the server market. Surprisingly, much of the influence to use HP cloud services in Puerto Rico comes from APAC and EMEA, not North America. To that end, 90% of HP’s Caribbean customers are already starting the first stage of moving to private clouds. Like others, HP is seeing customers move from traditional data centers to private clouds to managed clouds to public clouds.
Moving to the Cloud
Not surprisingly, HP is going through a transition by presenting the company from a solutions perspective rather than a product perspective. Shane Pearson, HP’s VP of Portfolio & Product Management explained that “At the end of the day, it’s all about applications and workloads. Everyone sees the importance of cloud, but everyone is trying to figure out how to leverage it.” By 2015 the projected markets are: Traditional $1.4b, Private Cloud $47b, Managed Cloud $55b, Public Cloud $30b for a cloud total of $132b. In addition, HP confirmed Hybrid Cloud approach as the approach of choice.
While customers are still focused on cost savings as the primary motivation to move to cloud, the tide is shifting to business process improvement. Put another way, cloud is allowing users to do things they could not do before. I was pleased to hear HP offer that it’s hard to take advantage of cloud if you don’t leverage automation. Automation and Orchestration are essential to cloud deployments.
HP CloudSystem Matrix
HP’s Nigel Cook was up next to talk about HP’s CloudSystem Matrix. Essentially, HP is (and has been) providing cloud services across the gamut of potential needs. Internally, HP is using OpenStack as the foundation for their cloud service offering. But CloudSystem Matrix provides a cohesive solution to manage across both internal and external cloud services. To the earlier point about automation, HP is focusing on automation and self-service as part of their cloud offering. Having a solution that helps customers manage the complexity that Hybrid Clouds presents could prove interesting. Admittedly, I have not kicked the tires of CloudSystem Matrix yet, but on the surface, it is very impressive.
During the visit to Aguadilla, we joined a Halo session with HP’s Christian Verstraete to discuss architecture. Christian and team have built an impressive cloud functional reference architecture. As impressive as it is, one challenge is how to best leverage such a comprehensive model for the everyday IT organization. It’s quite a bit to chew off. Very large enterprises can consume the level of detail contained within the model. Others will need a way to consume it in chunks. Christian goes into much greater depth in a series of blog entries on HP’s Cloud Source Blog.
HP Labs: Data Center in a Box
One treat on the trip was the visit to HP Labs. If you ever get the opportunity to visit HP Labs, it’s well worth the time to see what innovative solutions the folks are cooking up. HP demonstrated the results from their Thermal Zone Mapping (TZM) tool (US Patent 8,249,841) along with CFD modeling tools and monitoring to determine details around airflow/ cooling efficiency. While I’ve seen many different modeling tools, HP’s TZM was pretty impressive.
In addition to the TZM, HP shared a new prototype that I called Data Center in a Box. The solution is an encapsulated rack system that supports 1-8 racks that are fully enclosed. The only requirement is power and chilled water. The PUE numbers were impressive, but didn’t take into account every metric (ie: the cost of chilled water). Regardless, I thought the solution was pretty interesting. The HP folks kept mentioning that they planned to target the solution to Small-Medium Business (SMB) clients. While that may have been interesting to the SMB market a few years ago, today the SMB market is moving more to services (ie: Cloud Services). That doesn’t mean the solution is DOA. I do think it could be marketed as a modular approach to data center build-outs that provides a smaller increment to container solutions. Today, the solution is still just a prototype and not commercially available. It will be interesting to see where HP ultimately takes this.
I was quite impressed by HP’s perspective on how customers can…and should leverage cloud. I felt they have a healthy perspective on the market, customer engagement and opportunity. However, I was left with one question: Why are HP’s cloud solutions not more visible? Arguably, I am smack in the middle of the ‘cloud stream’ of information. Sure, I am aware that HP has a cloud offering. However, when folks talk about different cloud solutions, HP is noticeably absent. From what I learned last week, this needs to change.
HP’s CloudSystem Matrix is definitely worth a look regardless of the state of your cloud strategy. And for data center providers and service providers, keep an eye out for their Data Center in a Box…or whatever they ultimately call it.
In 2013, the cloud industry endures a maturing of sorts. Cloud, as a concept, moves from the lab to the default for many. In order to transit the maturing process, a number of changes will start to take place in 2013. The changes take place in both the industry and within the IT organization itself.
- Rise of the Cloud Verticals: Today, the cloud marketplace offers a smorgasbord of general-purpose solutions. In a fledgling industry, providers needed to focus on solutions that served a wide range of client requirements. Now with critical mass for some specific verticals, expect to see industry-specific cloud-based solutions. These solutions may include a suite of services or ecosystem geared to specific industries.
- Widespread Planning of IaaS Migrations: Now that cloud has moved beyond the lab, organizations will include IaaS solutions in their roadmap planning. SaaS will continue to take a role, however, the rise of hybrid cloud solutions will drive IaaS in IT roadmaps in earnest.
- CIO’s Look to Cloud to Catapult IT Transformation: The role of the CIO and IT organization is evolving as quickly as the underlying technology methodologies. The evolutionary shift in IT’s role in the business will (in turn) cause a re-evaluation of solutions used. Expect to see IT organizations leverage cloud as one of the most significant opportunities to fuel this early transformation.
- Mobile Increases Intensity of Cloud Adoption: As the prominence of mobile use increases, look for the adoption rates of cloud to increase respectively. Traditional IT methodologies provide a cumbersome solution for many mobile requirements. The move to cloud provides an elegant solution to a rather complex problem.
- Cloud Innovation Shifts from New Solutions to Integration & Consolidation: Cloud’s shine starts to fad as focus moves to reality. Organizations are less interested in the solving a singular point problem. Look for a move to solutions that solve multiple issues and integrate with other solutions. Expect consolidation of singular cloud solutions for opportunities to provide more robust solutions.
Between natural disasters like Hurricanes Sandy and Irene or man-made disasters like the recent data center outages, disasters happen. The question isn’t whether they will happen. The question is: What can be done to avoid the next one? Cloud computing provides a significant advantage to avoid disaster. However, simply leveraging cloud-based services is not enough. First, a tiered approach in leveraging cloud-based services is needed. Second, a new architectural paradigm is needed. Third, organizations need to consider the holistic range of issues they will contend with.
Technology Clouds Help Natural Clouds
If used correctly, cloud computing can significantly limit or completely avoid outages. Cloud offers a physical abstraction layer and allows applications to be located outside of disaster zones where services, staff and recovery efforts do not conflict.
- Leverage commercial data centers and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). Commercial data centers are designed to be more robust and resilient. Prior to a disaster, IaaS provides the ability to move applications to alternative facilities out of harms way.
- Leverage core application and platform services. This may come in the form of PaaS or SaaS. These service providers often architect solutions that are able to withstand single data center outages. That is not true in every case, but by leveraging this in addition to other changes, the risks are mitigated.
In all cases, it is important to ‘trust but verify’ when evaluating providers. Neither tier provides a silver bullet. The key is: Take a multi-faceted approach that architects services with the assumption for failure.
Changes in Application Resiliency
Historically, application resiliency relied heavily on redundant infrastructure. Judging from the responses to Amazon’s recent outages, users still make this assumption. The paradigm needs to change. Applications need to take more responsibility for resiliency. By doing so, applications ensure service availability in times of infrastructure failure.
In a recent blog post, I discussed the relationship cloud computing provides to greenfield and legacy applications. Legacy applications present a challenge to move into cloud-based services. They can (and eventually should) be moved into cloud. However, it will require a bit of work to take advantage of what cloud offers.
Greenfield applications, on the other hand, present a unique opportunity to fully take advantage of cloud-based services…if used correctly. With Hurricane Sandy, we saw greenfield applications still using the old paradigm of relying heavily on redundant infrastructure. And the consequence was significant application outages due to infrastructure failures. Consequently, greenfield applications that rely on the new paradigm (ie: Netflix) experienced no downtime due to Sandy. Netflix not only avoided disaster, but saw a 20% increase in streaming viewers.
Moving Beyond Technology
Leveraging cloud-based services requires more than a technology change. Organizational impact, process changes and governance are just a few of the things to consider. Organizations need to consider the changes to access, skill sets and roles. Is staff in other regions able to assist if local staff is impacted by the disaster? Fundamental changes from change management to application design processes will change too. And at what point are services preemptively moved to avoid disaster? Lastly, how do governance models change if the core players are out of pocket due to disaster? Without considering these changes, the risks increase exponentially.
So, where you do you get started? First, determine where you are today. All good maps start with a “You Are Here” label. Consider how to best leverage cloud services and build a plan. Take into account your disaster recovery and business continuity planning. Then put the plan in motion. Test your disaster scenarios to improve your ability to withstand outages. Hopefully by the time the next disaster hits (and it will), you will be in a better place to weather the storm.
The IT industry is in a state of significant flux. Paradigms are changing and so are the underlying technologies. Along with these changes come the way we think about solutions. Over time, IT organizations have amassed a phenomenal number of solutions, vendors, complex configurations and experience. Continuing to support that ever-expanding model is starting to show cracks. Trying to sustain this approach is just not possible…nor should it be. It is time for a change. Consolidation, integration, efficiency and value creation are the current focal points. Those shifts create a significant shift in how we function as IT organizations and providers.
Changes in Buying Habits
In order to truly understand the value of an ecosystem, one first needs to understand the change in buying habits. IT organizations are making a significant shift from buying point solutions to buying ecosystems. In some ways, this is nothing new. IT organizations have bought into the solutions from major providers for decades. The change is in the composition of the ecosystem. Instead of buying into an ecosystem from a single provider, buyers are looking for comprehensive ecosystems that span multiple providers. This lowers the risk for the buyer and creates a broader offering while providing an integrated solution.
Creating the Cloud Supply Chain
Cloud Computing is a great use-case of the importance of building a supply chain within the ecosystem. Think about it. Applications, services and solutions that IT organization provides to users are not single-purpose, non-integrated solutions. At least they shouldn’t be. Good applications and services are integrated with other offerings. When buyers choose a component, that component needs to connect to another component. In addition, alternatives are needed, as one solution does not fit all. In many ways, this is no different from a traditional manufacturing supply chain. The change is to apply those fundamentals to the cloud ecosystem.
In concert with the supply chain, each component needs solid integration with the next. Today, many point solutions require the buyer to figure out how to integrate solutions. This often becomes a barrier to adoption and introduces risk into the process. One could go crazy coming up with the permutations of different solutions that connect. However, if each solution considered the top 3-4 commonly connected components, the integration requirements become more manageable. And they are left to the folks that understand the solutions best…the providers.
As cloud-based ecosystems start to mature, the natural progression is to develop cloud verticals. Essentially, creating ecosystems with components for a specific vertical or industry. In the healthcare vertical, an ecosystem might include a choice of EHR solutions, billing systems, claims systems and patient portal. For SMB or Mid-Tier businesses, it might be an accounting system, email, file storage and website. Remember that the ecosystem is not just a brokerage of selling the solutions as a package. It is a comprehensive solution that is already integrated.
Bottom Line: Buyers are moving to buying ecosystems, especially with cloud services. The value of your solution comes from the value of your ecosystem.
Several years in and there is still quite a bit of confusion around the value of cloud computing. What is it? How can I use it? What value will it provide? There are several perspectives on how to approach cloud computing value. Interesting, that very question elicits several possible responses. This missive specifically targets how applications map against a cloud value matrix. From the application perspective, scale along with the historical component governs the direction of value.
As scale increases, so does the potential value from cloud computing. That is not to say that traditional methods are not valuable. It has more to do with the direction and velocity that the scale of an application is taking. Greenfield applications provide a different perspective from legacy applications. Rewriting legacy applications simply to use cloud brings questionable value. There may be extenuating circumstances to consider. However, those are not common.
Legacy vs. Greenfield (x-axis)
The x-axis represents the spectrum of applications from legacy to greenfield. Greenfield applications may include either brand new applications or rewritten legacy applications. Core, off the shelf applications may fall into either category. The current state of the cloud marketplace maturity suggests that any new or greenfield applications should consider cloud computing. That includes both PaaS and SaaS approaches.
The first step is to map the portfolio of applications against the grid. Each application type and scale is represented in relation to the others. This is a good exercise to 1) identify the complete portfolio of applications, 2) understand the current state and lifecycle and 3) develop a roadmap for application lifecycles. The roadmap can then become the playbook to support a cloud strategy.
The value cloud computing brings increases as application requirements move toward the upper-left quadrant. In most cases, applications will move horizontally to the right rather than vertically upward. The clear exception is web-scale applications. Most of those start in the lower-right quadrant and move vertically upward.
The matrix is intended to be a general guideline to characterize the majority, but not all applications and situations. In one example, legacy applications may be encapsulated to support cloud-based services as an alternative to rewriting.
Last week’s Salesforce Dreamforce event had to be the largest conference I have seen at San Francisco’s Moscone Center. It covered Moscone North, South and West plus several hotels. And if that was not enough, Howard Street was turned into a lawn area complete with concert stage, outdoor lounge area and exhibits. Dreamforce presented a great opportunity to learn more about the Salesforce community…and a number of missed opportunities.
Walking the expo floor, one thing becomes clear very quickly: Salesforce is the largest exhibitor. Taking up 25-30% of the expo floor the Salesforce area maintained focal points around sales, marketing and service. Surrounding the Salesforce area were partners in their ecosystem. Some based on their Force.com platform, while others with their own platforms. There were solutions for all types of needs. Unfortunately, the different subject matter was intertwined throughout the floor (Sales next to Service next to Marketing). Salesforce is a broad platform. If you were interested in a specific aspect of Salesforce-based solutions, it was hard to find the related solutions. Interestingly, consulting firms held some of the largest booths outside of Salesforce.
Moscone West held the Developer Zone with less structured community areas for folks with similar interests to gather. Multiple presentations were taking place in the Developer Zone non-stop. In addition to the Unconference area, there was plenty of space for folks with common interests to gather around tables complete with power and Wi-Fi.
The 750+ sessions provided a wide range of presentations from how-to to case studies. In addition, there was a good mix of detailed to high-level session depending on your particular interest level.
Dreamforce is a good example of the maturity of Salesforce’s ecosystem. However, the large prominence of consulting firms provides a bit more contrast to that statement. Just walking around the expo floor one could get the impression that there is a solution to every problem imaginable. Not true and several of the basics are still woefully absent. Many of the solutions are excellent point solutions to address specific pain points.
Unfortunately, there are two aspects missing: Integration and Accessibility. Earlier this year, I wrote about the importance of onramps. At the expo, I randomly sampled several folks walking the show floor to get their thoughts. The theme was consistent: Great solutions, but each of them looking for an integrated solution. And it was not clear how they get from their current state to a future state leveraging the innovative solution. The prominence of consulting firms could serve as both a solution and further validation. Consulting firms provide a good short-term solution to the integration and onramp problem. However, the both issues need to be baked into the ecosystem’s solutions to sustain the ecosystem long-term.
Are conferences like Saleforce’s Dreamforce valuable to attend? In a nutshell…yes! If you knew very little about Salesforce before last week, Dreamforce presented a great opportunity to get an overview of opportunities, dig further into specific details and network with peers. If you were already an established customer, there is plenty of innovation still coming from the ecosystem.
Cloud computing has turned the technology world on it’s head. Some argue this is a bad thing. However, I believe it is a great thing and something we need. For some time, businesses have requested more and more from IT organizations. Several years back, cloud computing came about and provided a significant opportunity for IT organizations and the businesses they serve. However, cloud is not just a change in technology.
With significant changes in innovation come changes in the way we think. Cloud is no exception. It presents a new way for delivery of services. For IT organizations, this means changing who delivers the services. It means thinking differently about how services are delivered and how relationships are maintained. Further, the fundamental nature of the relationship has changed too from transactional to value. Even within the technology realm, the focus moves from operational to integration. There are many more changes that must be considered when introducing cloud-based solutions.
Traditionally, solutions often focused on their technical merits. However, cloud-based solutions require a bit more thought and planning. Change impacts not one, but three aspects: Technology, Process and Organization. When considering a cloud-based solution, it is important to take a holistic viewpoint and consider all three aspects. Not considering a holistic view for the solution spans the range from an un-sustainable or failed solution (worst case) to bringing limited value (best scenario).
Focus on Value
In order to see value, one must first set assumptions aside. A common assumption is that technology solutions must reside within my own data center. With IaaS, PaaS or SaaS, that is often not the case. Sure, there are private cloud offerings that allow creation of a cloud within your own data center. However, the cloud marketplace has started to mature and external solutions provide an interesting array of opportunity…and value.
When looking at value, consider the holistic approach. Consider the impact to the technology, processes and the organization. The value from a solution may come from surprising areas. When picking the right solution, consider the expertise and value of both the internal IT organization and the provider.
From Operations to Integration
Cloud presents the start of a shift in responsibly. The responsibility moves internal IT organizations from an operational role to an integration one. Does this mean IT does not have operational responsibility? No. It means that the day-to-day management of operations moves to the provider. IT still needs to trust-but-verify the provider’s actions. In doing so, it shifts IT’s focus to integration of infrastructure, platforms, applications and services. These are opportunities for IT and move the pendulum toward better management of data…and more importantly information.
Some argue that cloud is simply outsourcing v2.0. It is not. Unlike past iterations of outsourcing, cloud presents a completely different model. That can be gauged through relationship, technology, integration, value or process…just to name a few. Applying past outsourcing models to cloud provide a number of challenges. Cloud requires a new way of thinking and operating. Changes in processes and responsibility are just two (of many) examples.
Bottom Line: When considering cloud-based solutions, don’t get caught up in technical assumptions. Take a holistic approach to focus on value opportunities.
Over the past several years, I have evaluated a number of solutions and services in the cloud computing market. As time goes in, one would hope to see a change to the maturity of a marketplace. While market maturity has happened in some aspects, there is one key aspect that is still missing for many providers of cloud services. Innovative solutions need onramps. Without them, it hinders adoption and progress.
Not a New Problem
This problem is not new. In fact, it is quite common. Coming from an IT perspective, there are two very good reasons why they do not exist. First, IT is complex. Each company and their environment pose a unique situation that is hard to string a common thread between. In essence, every company would require their own, unique onramp. The second reason is that providers are focused on the value of their solutions and less about how to get to their solutions. The same is true for moving from their solution, but I’ll get to that in a minute.
But is IT really that complex? Yes and No. Sure, different organizations choose to configure their solutions very differently. Everyone has his or her reasons for doing so. I’ve seen this happen time and time again. But is it necessary? More importantly, does it create business value? Unfortunately for many cases, the answer is no. Solutions are overly configured because 1) we can and 2) because we “think” it is useful or valuable. But it creates larger challenges down the road with upgrades and solution changes. That is not new. It has been happening for as long as I can recall.
That being said, should providers create onramps? Yes. And IT organizations should help enable those changes.
Similar to a major road system, without onramps, it makes access difficult or impossible. Consequently, the value of the solution is lessened. To be clear, onramps are not simply an engagement for professional services. Onramps need to be repeatable, reusable solutions that customers can use on their own. An onramp could take the form of a tool or methodology.
Building an onramp creates a number of advantages. 1) Onramps make it easier to use the new solution. IT organizations are already overwhelmed with the number of demands coming their way. Onramps create a relatively easy way to start using the new technology or solution more quickly. It also differentiates between solutions based on their speed of adoption.
Offramps: Onramps Quiet Cousin
Just as important as an onramp, offramps are also needed. Few providers really want to talk about them. But customers do. Why? They create an easy way for customers to move from one solution to another. They prevent ‘stickiness’ of customers. Arguably, it moves the focus from preventing customer churn to providing value where they (customers) want to stay with the solution. How many times have customers said “it’s easier to deal with the pain and issues than move to another solution”. It happens quite a bit.
Of course there are legitimate reasons for change. Businesses change. So must the solutions the leverage. And the solutions change too. The relationship between a provider and customer is constantly in flux. Unfortunately, the relationships are not changing as much as they should for the business. That dynamic can change with onramps and offramps.
Bottom Line: Technology innovation is hindered by the lack of access. Creating easier access will catapult the speed of adoption. Similarly, creating bidirectional access moves the focus to value creation.
Over the past couple of years, a battle has been brewing. The battle is not about technology or devices. It is about data and usability. The contenders are Software as a Service (SaaS) and Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI). There are proponents for both camps. And while they are not a direct replacement for each other, they do overlap in many ways. For many, the core value proposition for VDI comes from a specific application or data set. While VDI could be used for other activities, their value simply doesn’t reach the tipping point.
Challenges for VDI
While VDI has been around for many years, it has struggled to make significant inroads into today’s IT environment. In the interim, other solutions have filled the gap. The leading challenges to VDI are the value vs. the cost to implement and operate (as compared to the alternatives). In addition, as we move to a more mobile workforce, the underlying technology that connects clients and servers becomes more challenging for mobile devices.
The Impact of BYOD
Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) presents somewhat of a curveball for VDI. On one hand, BYOD increases the demand for VDI by moving applications and data off personally owned devices. Seems simple enough to implement VDI as a response to address the app/ data challenges with BYOD. However VDI brings a new set of challenges in a BYOD scenario that only adds to the already existing BYOD complexities. In the end, the offset is not as rosy as the surface would indicate. BYOD also creates demand that can be serviced by other means. Meaning, VDI is not the only option here.
Leapfrog to SaaS
Over the past few years, SaaS applications have matured significantly. That is in part due to the marketplace. It is also due to the maturity changes within the IT organization. There are three types of demand that could warrant bypassing VDI and going straight to SaaS. The first is off-the-shelf applications. Movement from an internally hosted software package to a SaaS offered version is one way to make the move. The second is greenfield applications. At this stage, IT organizations building new applications should be evaluating cloud-based architectures. The third are the legacy applications. Some of these will continue to require client-server based architectures. However, at the appropriate time, a change will be needed for legacy apps. It is important to understand where that tipping point is. If SaaS is an option, it presents an opportunity to leapfrog over the incremental improvements and should be considered.
Healthcare: A Case for SaaS vs. VDI
Specialized use cases demand further scrutiny over the requirements and potential solutions. Healthcare is a great example where HIPAA’s requirements around Protected Health Information (PHI) are a key consideration. Many healthcare providers are finding new ways to engage patients while working within compliance requirements. VDI seems like a good fit, right? Wrong. Yes, it could work. But the reality is that usability becomes a strong factor in consideration. Add in the movement to mobile users and SaaS (or mobile apps) start to look more appealing.
Bottom Line: As SaaS becomes commonplace for applications, the existing demand for VDI will further diminish. Unless there is a compelling use-case today, investing in VDI is probably a poor choice.
Looking For Direction
The technology (specifically IT) world is becoming more complex and challenging every day. I speak with a number of Business Leaders, CIOs, IT leaders and IT staff about this very issue. The subject of IT Transformation is one that keeps coming up. Yet, it seems as illusive as it is alluring. The prospect that it could bring is enough motivation for many to try. For most IT organizations, the capacity to take on the challenge seems out of reach. Many still struggle to keep up with day-to-day operational challenges. Let those fall and nothing else matters. On the flip side, doing nothing is not an option either. Warning: This is hard work and is much easier to talk about than execute.
Choosing the Right Approach
There are several schools of thought here. Two leading directions are to either take a Leapfrog or Incremental approach. There are pros and cons to each of these. Ideally, one would intertwine the two. However, that presents a whole new set of challenges. The big upside to Leapfrog is time. Bypassing the myriad of issues may seem attractive. Heck, the business may provide enough pressure to actually make this seem feasible. The downside is in what gets missed through the process. Miss a step and it is all over. That leads to the Incremental approach. Seems like a safe bet, right? Well, the time required will far exceed the patience of those within and outside of IT. Remember that the demand and complexity is increasing. The Incremental approach does provide a more measured process. So, which one should be used? Both. Measure the risk and reward for each increment. Speed up the intervals and Leapfrog where possible.
IT Transformation is not a technology problem. Well, not exactly. It’s a problem that requires several components working in concert. Without the combination of the components, the effort is not effective. A Holistic approach takes into account Technology, Process and Organization. Some refer to this as People, Process and Technology. However, it’s important to understand the relationships of the people as a function of the organization. Arbitrarily taking a Holistic approach to include all three can be cumbersome and daunting. Hence, a more Surgical approach to the three is warranted. If there is a knob (ie: technology) to improve, what are the process and organizational changes needed to support and maintain that change? The Holistic approach is needed. But it needs to be performed surgically to avoid gridlock.
Using Cloud as an Example
The advent of Cloud Computing is a great example. I have seen organizations simply try to replace their traditional operations with cloud-based operations. This takes me back to the early days of outsourcing (offshoring) where people were replaced 1:1 or 1:3 without regard for process and organizational changes. In the case of cloud, the change didn’t work. In most cases, one cannot just go down the hall to reboot a server or install any new application. Without consideration that the processes to manage the infrastructure, operations and framework will change, a number of core assumptions are made. Some naively.
Risk of Doing Nothing
It should go without saying, but doing nothing is not an option either. The business is demanding change. IT needs to change and evolve. IT competition exists and the business knows it. However, there is a strong value proposition that the internal IT organization can deliver. The question is can they do it and will they?
Bottom Line: Get a plan in place and start executing. Partner with the business to help define and guide the process.