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Moving to the cloud? Make sure you have these 3 key roles in your organization



Louise Ng has more than 25 years in multiple IT positions across a variety of industries. As CTO, Cloud & Automation at HP Software Professional Services, she specializes in leading large-scale projects that deliver quality services through process optimization.


You may have picked up in my previous post that I feel very strongly that the lack of governance around the adoption of cloud services could ultimately cost enterprises more money in the name of attaining the short-term goal of faster time to market.


Implementing a successful cloud service delivery capability is as much an educational and management of change (MoC) task as it is a technology task.


To ensure project success, IT must obtain executive and broad organizational support, engage IT staff responsible for managing and executing processes, and communicate effectively to overcome resistance to change.


Clear lines around roles and responsibilities between the business and IT are critical to establishing governance and this new IT service delivery capability. People must have clarity about where they fit in to the service lifecycle. What is IT responsible for, how does it handshake to the business? What does the business expect, and how will IT meet those expectations?


A common use of cloud is dev/test private cloud. This has been a first step in cloud implementation for many organizations looking to accelerate time to market by providing agility and speed in application development and testing. Who is the service owner in this case? Is it the EVP of applications, the EVP of operations or the application owner? Does IT build a private cloud for a group of applications that make up a service or does it build a private cloud for all application development?


In some organizations, the consensus is that operations should be the service owner, because ops should be providing the service to the applications team. In others, it is thought that applications should own the service, because they should define what they need to support application development.


In truth, neither ops nor apps should own the service. The business should own it, because the business drives the timelines and the requirements for applications that support the business of the enterprise.


3 key roles in a cloud service delivery model

To best capture the benefits and value of cloud, IT organizations need to fill three key roles:

  • Service owner: Many organizations will draw a blank when you ask them to identify the owner of a service. They’re more likely to be able to point to an application owner. But services can be built by associating multiple applications. I usually ask clients, “Who would you call or notify when the service goes down?” That person is usually the service owner. The cloud service owner describes the expectations for the capability to exist and sets the strategy and goals for business to meet the demands of their market. The service owner ultimately represents the cloud consumer. They’re thinking of the experience they want their consumers to have, and they rely on their knowledge of pricing, brands and visualization of the service. The service owner will establish an SLA with the service provider (IT) with the expectation of being able to measure the success or failure of that service. The service owner will ultimately have control of who their service provider is.
  • Cloud service designer: This person defines the cloud service as a set of building blocks for technical implementation. The role is responsible for designing and documenting how to piece together capabilities, as well as what pieces of IT infrastructure and rules go together to make that cloud service work. They hand the design to the cloud architect, who will build it into the tool.
  • Cloud service delivery architect: This role is similar to a service catalog manager, but it has taken a step in its maturation. The cloud architect must know about onboarding services into a consumer service catalog as well as have an extensive knowledge of resource supply information—infrastructure, operating systems, platform and software that is standard and available across the enterprise. As a cloud architect, the role requires an understanding of how all the IT domains come together to make up the cloud service offering. Day-to-day, their primary goal is to administer to the service catalog and onboard cloud services into a consumer portal and handle setting up and maintaining things such as entitlements, subscriptions, security and common resources that cloud services will be using. Success in this role requires you to blend knowledge of technology, processes and service lifecycles. It is imperative that the cloud architect can relate to expected business outcomes using a cloud service delivery model and support the service owners in making the consumer experience appropriate per the service definition.

Of course, in clarifying these roles and responsibilities—and in moving to the cloud in general—managing the transformation is critical for success. Someone must educate cloud service consumers to help them understand the benefit of moving to that service delivery model. Just because you automate a service and put it in the service catalog doesn’t mean people will necessarily use it. You can improve the rate of adoption by using effective communication methods and enablement strategies.


In my next post, I’ll go into greater detail about the value that a framework around management of change can bring, and how it can help ensure successful cloud service delivery.


To learn about how HP can help you develop and distribute content to ensure optimum adoption and acceptance of a cloud service portfolio, check out the HP Adoption Readiness Tool (ART).


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