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After years of talking about it, many large enterprises are making cloud deployments the centerpiece of an overall organizational transformation. Often, they take a hybrid approach that begins with DevOps.

They are recognizing driving business innovation and better meeting shifting market demands requires significantly reduced development times and rethinking how developers innovate. They are also learning moving to the cloud can be more difficult than startups and Software as a Service (SaaS) application firms make it sound.

“Business units go out and consume SaaS like Salesforce, for example, and after they get it up and running then they go back to IT because they now need to integrate with the company ERP and HR,” says Julie Schuneman, Distinguished Engineer and senior cloud advisor, IBM. “That’s where they should have started; first with a conversation about stakeholders and governance.”

After those conversations, enterprises need to create an actual cloud strategy, a step many often skip, she says. For small organizations, the cloud strategy should minimally include identifying a cloud leader and champion, determining what the company wants to achieve and articulating its goals, setting targets to reach those goals and then measuring those goals to determine success.

Why Now?

Enterprises are strategically moving to the cloud because today’s cloud is more dependable, reliable and available, and firms have higher trust in their partners, Schuneman says. They are also embracing IBM’s five points of integration:

  1. Managing many integration points from a data center to the cloud
  2. Integrating applications between the cloud and the data center
  3. Creating end-to-end data security
  4. Creating a solid service management plan to support end customers
  5. Having an end-to-end governance conversation and subsequently creating a governance plan

While those concepts aren’t new, they become complicated by the complexity of multiple cloud infrastructures where different people own relationships with particular providers. There’s often no consistency in governance or an understanding of the varying security levels across providers and in different infrastructures, and often, no one is held accountable at the same level, Schuneman says.

Achieving Results

In “Tailoring the Hybrid Cloud,” an executive report from the IBM Institute for Business Value that Schuneman co-authored, “executives achieved the strongest results by integrating cloud initiatives company-wide and by tapping external resources for access to reliable skills and greater efficiency.”

Organizations that coordinate multiple cloud initiatives into a centralized, coordinated approach can reap benefits that include reusability of shared functions, elimination of deviations from design principles and cost savings by avoiding duplications and reducing future maintenance, according to the report.


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