The Stack Archive

Don’t go from hero to zero after cloud deployment

Mon 29 Sep 2014


Peter Albers, Executive Vice President for Cloud IaaS, Virtustream, warns about the risks of mismanagement after a successful cloud deployment.

You have stood up your cloud – private, public or hybrid – and it’s a relief to see two years’ planning go live. You are the hero of the hour, having delivered what the business needs in minutes rather than weeks or months, and what your business needs in terms of flexibility, agility, and an opex infrastructure model.

The worst thing to do now is become complacent – don’t think your work is done. That would be akin to thinking that since you safely survived the open heart surgery, you are now ready to hit the gym. Now, suddenly, you can clone entire SAP landscapes quickly and add virtual servers on the fly, allowing the business to play with modules or apps that it was never allowed to before. This behaviour is risky and phase two after deployment is all about rolling out the change across the organisation.

As I focused upon in a previous blog post, those companies that see cloud deployment as a key business initiative rather than an IT coup will witness the most success from cloud adoption. It’s not just about the pure technology; rather it is about a change in mindset and the evolution of skills in the company. A recent IDC EMEA report showed that fewer than half of European enterprises made the necessary changes to the business in-house to effectively deploy and run a cloud infrastructure.

Change management is even more important once you are running in the cloud than it was during the migration. You are now running an Opex Model that offers a lot of flexibility but still needs to be closely managed. My top tip from observing many companies transitioning to the cloud is to invest, but also utilise a Technical Account Manager (TAM) correctly. It is important to define their role carefully with the IT team and also the business.

Core responsibilities should include managing the SLAs with the cloud provider, liaison between you and the cloud operations team and support on monitoring consumption to keep it under control. Your TAM will also review the retention policies for Backups, Tiers of Storage or even the server count on a regular basis.

Due to their cloud expertise, the TAM can frequently be dragged into pure technology conversations. This is poor utilisation of the TAM. This person is your change management coach – the perfect liaison between IT and the business – who will help you manage change until your organisation has successfully made the big cultural and operational shift to this new way of working. True consumption-based billing affects the finance team working out cross-departmental charging and paying only for what is spent. Business heads equally have to learn to request what they need – the TAM will work with them closely to build knowledge and confidence.

Change management follows a process and requires a staged roll out to get the whole company on board. Eliminating the TAM, or deploying their efforts to less meaningful tasks once a migration is complete, is a common mistake. The sense of achievement from spinning up a new cloud infrastructure can quickly dissipate and you can end up at zero, knocked from your pedestal in a heartbeat.


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