A successful cloud strategy is one that allows judicious and industrialized management of cloud services across the enterprise. As enterprises transition from tactical adoption of cloud to a cloud-first approach, managing cloud services that scale to business’ evolving needs while ensuring the same levels of agility and flexibility isn’t always simple. This can be best achieved through an effective Cloud Management Platform (CMP) that meets the precise needs of each business.
One of the great benefits of migrating services to cloud is its versatility. Businesses can select services that match their needs precisely, creating a suite that can be implemented rapidly and redesigned more easily. Managing these disparate elements, however, can be difficult without a strategic approach.
Capgemini’s recent thought paper, ‘Taming cloud complexity with a Cloud Management Platform’ explains the three foundations of every successful CMP. These are:
- Teams built with new relationships and skills
- Automation to accelerate service management
- Services that everyone wants and understands
By approaching CMPs with these foundations in mind, businesses will allow their cloud to really take off. They’ll also achieve greater agility, quality of service, and value for money: the three prime benefits of adopting cloud thinking.
A more agile way of working
Creating services that people will want to use means providing the widest range of services that can be consumed easily and quickly. The fastest route to that is to offer a self-service catalog that is easy to understand. This will foster internal promotion of services and encourage feedback from users. The key to agility in this area is to get to full automation of run services, such as supervision, backup, domain name service, assets and configuration management database — as well as ‘dev’ components.
The greatest danger is in creating a service that’s too simple to be useful. Sometimes, people may think that reducing the complexity of their CMP will drive use, but in practice the opposite is true. Avoiding full technical integration means they end up with a service that’s too constrained. The key is to always design top down, putting the users’ needs first, so you end up with a CMP that meets their precise requirements: no more and no less.
A better quality of service
A great CMP gives a business the chance to deliver the service that users need with as few distractions or delays as possible. Enhancing quality of service goes beyond the integration of solutions in computing, storage, networks, and software: the right team has to be in place as well.
The people behind your CMP must have broad skill sets and the right mindsets. Repurposing legacy staff structures can set a project back by relying on siloed, specialized teams that will be challenged by the overlapping and collaborative approach that cloud requires. This is why it is crucial to build in collaboration from the start, particularly between developers and business teams, to keep communication channels between stakeholders open.
Establishing a ‘build and run’ team is the best way to achieve this. It should include talent to fill the roles of service portfolio manager, transversal cloud and automation architect, orchestration expert, and cloud architect. Among this team, certain skill sets will be required and should hopefully overlap among the groups. These skills include the ability to bridge between different roles or functions, so they can act as effective links between groups. They should also be capable of trans-discipline scripting to create workflows between new services. Finally, a DevOps approach will help the cloud team work with developers successfully.
Achieving greater value for money
Agility and flexibility give a business the space to innovate. To enable rapid innovation, a CMP has to evolve at speed, especially in the technical and service catalog areas. This capitalizes on the greatest strengths of cloud systems. It gives businesses superb speed of automation and the rapid development of specialized operating models.
In order to deliver value for money — and harness the power of cloud thinking — businesses should aim to set up a fully automated assembly line. Done correctly, this can speed the process up exponentially, giving users the services they need in minutes rather than weeks. By automating the steps of service assembly, from Virtual Machine provisioning to software deployment, the rapidity will increase.
This means a cloud set up with highly integrated and automated workflows across all infrastructure layers, and a complex ecosystem of tools to construct the CMP. It also requires effective and configurable portals for management and service users and a service catalog that meets their exact needs.
A more agile way of working, with greater value and better service: these are the three components that make successful cloud implementation so progressive. No other technology can match it for delivery. But its ubiquity masks its complexity. The constraints that limit cloud adoption can be overcome through strategic approaches, and expert insight will help any business see their transformation through successfully.
To find out more, please access the full thought paper, Taming cloud complexity with a Cloud Management Platform.