The Cloud as Disruptive Agent

Although it is still a relatively new technology platform, the cloud has already become defined as an enabler of routine, tactical processes in the minds of many IT observers, executives and Cloud-skyparticipants. As the cloud is ubiquitously available to anyone who wants it with flexible pricing connected to virtually limitless volume, some doubt that the cloud can ever provide real strategic value or serve as an agent of disruptive change.

However, Softtek, a global provider of process-driven IT solutions, takes a very different approach to cloud computing. Softtek believes the cloud in fact is a new paradigm that can fundamentally alter how organizations drive value from business process innovations. In short, the cloud is an agent of disruptive change that can markedly improve the strategic performance of business users.

Leveraging the Cloud Requires I&O Maturity
Obtaining the value the cloud can provide as an agent of disruptive change is not as simple as entering a cloud services agreement. The user’s infrastructure and organization (I&O) must possess sufficient maturity to leverage the cloud as a strategic enabler. Softtek points out that I&O is an increasingly complex area of the business these days. I&O organizations must integrate new processes and technologies with existing legacy infrastructure, meet increasingly strict regulatory and compliance guidelines, and meet the needs of a client base that requires constant network connectivity and availability.

However, Softtek advises that I&O organizations can greatly increase the odds of successfully utilizing cloud computing as a means of achieving strategic disruption, rather than tactical performance, by following three critical steps:

•    Establishing clear, business-aligned metrics for I&O organizations that fulfill business needs.
•    Charting a road map to incrementally improve service delivery maturity.
•    Teaming up with vendors that bring proven processes, deep knowledge of business processes and the skills required to accelerate execution.

Sample Metrics for I&O Cloud Adoption
Earlier this year, Gartner analyst T. Bandopadhyay recommended the sample metrics of returns on agility, elasticity, continuity and consistency for I&O teams planning cloud adoption. Agility measures how quickly an IT service can adapt to changing demand situations, business environments and technology scenarios, while elasticity measures how far compute/storage/network capacity and their combinations can be stretched. Bandopadhyay advises these two metrics combined provide “one of the strongest value-based metric definitions for any cloud decision, be it private, public or hybrid.”

In addition, continuity measures how long an IT service can go without any interruptions (planned or unplanned), depending on its revenue criticality, and consistency determines the extent of reduction in service level variations and how long IT services can go without significant variations in the service levels, in conjunction with continuity.

It is worth noting that these metrics are more business-oriented than technology-oriented. Technical metrics (like server utilization, network availability, application uptime and data read/write operations) do not convey the overall IT service value, and do not fully measure the strategic impact IT services can deliver.