So “The Business” wants Cloud. They hear it’s fast and inexpensive. Of course, most IT executives are already well on their way to at least evaluating, or deploying some flavor of Cloud – IaaS, PaaS, SaaS, Public, Private, Hybrid, or quite possibly actually delivering some value already. So how should an IT leader respond to such a request?
I recommend that IT professionals partner with business executives to assess what benefits they expect from the cloud services. A good way to achieve this is to break down the overused word of “Cloud” into its base components.
Start with the notion of “fast”
Business executives believe that Cloud is fast and it’s your job to highlight how IT can use this speed to the advantage of the business. Within the data center, IT can achieve this speed by automating routine and repetitive tasks delivering consistency and reliability and higher quality.
Help your business understand that delivering Cloud services is only as fast as the level of automation implemented in the underlying systems and processes. In the game of IT, the winners are those who can automate and eliminate human intervention from most tasks and processes associated with the lifecycle of infrastructure, database and applications. The lifecycle also includes alert monitoring, ticket creation and closure. (Special Note: Only HP provides this complete end-to-end automation from infrastructure through platform and the delivery of applications.)
Demystify the portal
To a lot of business executives, the primary benefit of Cloud is a user-friendly interface where they make requests and understand costs and, hopefully, service levels. This part can be a sticky point for IT to educate their business-side clients on because many popular public cloud providers don’t offer enterprise-level SLAs at an acceptable or even decipherable price point. IT needs to separate the front-end portal from all the business discussions that are camouflaged or under-appreciated by the business.
IT also needs to ensure that the Cloud portal can actually leverage all the automation highlighted above! A front-end user interface that doesn’t integrate to leverage the full lifecycle automation is, frankly, almost useless.
What it takes to run business applications
Finally, IT needs to educate their business executives on all the tools and technologies that go into deploying and running the applications they use. You can highlight how heterogeneous hypervisors, application performance monitoring, system monitoring solutions as well as the service and change management tools all work together with automation and orchestration. Very few business users have the understanding to appreciate all the different components that IT uses, and even less understand how those components work together to ensure proper performance of applications. Without that context, it is difficult to grasp the real advantages that building and managing a cloud service provides to the business.
In most cases, organizations should support Cloud projects by first standardizing and automating the full IT stack—which includes physical and virtual entities of servers, OS, storage, network, databases, and middleware. In this way, Cloud can be the compelling event that bolsters your automation and orchestration efforts, if you can position these solutions to help the business succeed. The business will thank you, even if they don’t fully understand how you provided the efficiencies for them.
Find out how HP offers the most complete automation stack and the industry’s leading orchestration platform, both designed to integrate with your existing and future IT investments: