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Discover Las Vegas case study preview: Cloud is never a standalone project




By Louise Ng


Louise Ng is the WW CTO role for Cloud & Automation services at HP


When organizations move to cloud, they often think of it as a standalone infrastructure project. It’s only when they try but fail to automate their key operational processes that they realize they may have missed some key steps.


Take the example of my client, Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). Before deploying their internal cloud, they went through the steps of defining the services they wanted to deliver, defining the consumer of these services—in this case IT—building out services based on typical consumer requirements, and then exposing those services to the consumers via the catalog. That proved to be the easier part of their private cloud development.


Many customers just like MassMutual have made the assumption that providing the catalog and speeding up infrastructure provisioning is enough. They think they are done. But, they come back to us after they discover that they are having problems with the operations part that integrates and automates necessary service delivery capabilities. These capabilities include typical service management practices that when linked together as value chains provide a blueprint for automation to a successful Cloud.


Value chains

Because the company neglected key steps in the IT value chain, it took them more time to fully automate their services and achieve the agility they desired. There are four value chains that drive concrete steps to provide a service-centric approach to making IT truly useful for internal and external users. Here are two value chains we address consistently when deploying Cloud, and why they are important:


  • Request to fulfill: This value chain helps you create a single catalog of all internal and external IT service offerings. MassMutual succeeded in giving users a simple, easily consumable way to connect to IT goods and services. But, the next step in maturity is to create time-to-value, repeatability, and consistency for any consumer who requests and obtains services from IT. And here is where MassMutual was hitting a snag: Developers were having to wait 14 days to get the use of a new server, due to a misalignment with security policies. The delivery time for services wasn’t consistent, which made users impatient. This impatience is what leads to shadow IT. To remedy this, MassMutual was able to renegotiate security policies to better align with their automation practices. As a result, it takes much less time to fulfill requests—what once took two weeks now takes a couple of days.
  • Detect to correct: Identifying an issue before it affects a user’s expected service delivery is the goal of this value chain. The detect to correct value chain frames what needs to happen to keep IT services working on a timeline and at a service level that meets the needs of users—and that’s realistic for IT given its capacity and availability of resources. As MassMutual matures in its approach to this value chain, it will improve its ability to foresee and remedy problems before users are even aware of them.

The bigger picture

The lesson here is that you can’t wall off cloud from service management. Sometimes with cloud adoption, there’s a tendency to plug in new tools without looking at the service management layer. People sometimes think that automation somehow solves the issues around service management, but the business implications— expectations for speed to market and regulatory requirements like Sarbanes-Oxley and HIPAA—make service management just as important as ever.


You have to remember IT Service Management practices in order to be able to meet both business requirements and regulatory compliance. As MassMutual matures in each of the four value chains, the quality of service will increase, and IT and the business will increasingly be able to collaborate. IT will be able to show the business that they have the agility to get their applications into the market as fast as possible.


For an in-depth look at MassMutual’s cloud experience, see my presentation at HP Discover Las Vegas, MassMutual's journey from virtualization to the Cloud - A tale of methodical steps as well as my presentation on How much Service Management is “enough” for success in the Cloud?


louisengblueprintforautomation2.jpgLouise Ng has 30 years in multiple IT positions across a variety of industries. Today she is the WW CTO role for Cloud & Automation services at HP, and she specializes in leading large-scale projects that deliver quality services through operational optimization. Follow her on Twitter @LouiseNgHP








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About the Author


I have been a writer/editor in the technology field for several years.

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