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Can You Implement A Private Cloud Without Optimizing Business Processes?

It's been said that cloud is 80 percent business process and 20 percent technology. My customers continue to ask me, "How can we begin to entertain a private cloud before we begin by optimizing or in some cases defining and implementing our business processes and our ITIL framework?"

I agree that commencing a business process optimization or even implementation is critical and I also believe that good ITIL framework is a very important step in maximizing your private cloud deployment. So, what should you do? Hire consultants to begin an expensive and endless business process optimization or decomposition and wait until that project trickles down to the technology in order to begin that private cloud journey?

The answer: Everyone's journey to cloud in general and private cloud in particular is different. You'll find that in actual practical implementation and adoption of private cloud the two projects are sometimes started independently. The reason is because we will all adopt cloud for different reasons.

Some of us are pressed to optimized highly virtualized environments by implementing lifecycle management; others need to address a problem in rapid provisioning or VMs on a daily or weekly basis. Some others might be looking at some way of implementing standardization; others will be driven to provide self-service capabilities. So it is not foreign to find bits and pieces of private cloud taking place and that does not hurt.

Of course, there is nothing that can beat a properly organized and chronologically implemented project, but private cloud pieces can be modified to fit an overall plan once it is adopted. For example, if you want to implement chargeback but your accounting system does not allow or accept entries that are less than $10,000, that is a business decision that needs to change to allow it and it usually is the fruit of the business process project of private cloud. If you want to enforce standardization, then your procurement practices have to change and that is also driven by changes in the business that need to be implemented and enforced.

In both examples, if you already build the catalogs, the services, the offerings, assign values to Showback, then changing to chargebacks and specifying a different value is easy. Changing your standards or modifying them as a result of a business decisions is also relatively easy but you have already done the heavy lifting, you have already deployed the right pieces to enable these changes.

Do you have to have an Accenture or similar consulting firm begin the private cloud project before you can even touch the technology? My answer is definitively No, although in very large enterprise these projects may be driven by the business. In most cases you will find that VMware, Microsoft, Citrix and others are pushing their virtualization technology forward and as a result of that many organizations will begin adopting private cloud principles independent of the business.

Are you deploying or planning on deploying private cloud this year? How are you approaching it from the business side or IT side? If from the IT side, do you have any plans or do you know of any plans for the business to optimize process around private cloud? Is your senior IT management aware and involved? Please share in the comments section.

Posted by Elias Khnaser on 03/27/2013 at 12:49 PM


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