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The best way to learn the cloud is to live the cloud


Brad Keates is the Vice President for Hewlett-Packard’s Technology Services Consulting organization in the Americas.  He is a member of both the Americas Enterprise Group Leadership Team and the Worldwide Technology Services Leadership team. Brad came to HP from a twenty-year career at Sun Microsystems where he held progressively responsible leadership positions in the Sales and Services organizations. He holds a Bachelor of Mathematics degree from the University of Waterloo. Brad is a member of Junior Achievement of Ontario, a Coach in the Aurora Basketball Association, and a member of the IDC Canada Customer Council. He lives in Toronto, Canada.

Making the move to the Cloud can provide your organization with a lot of great answers about how to reduce complexity and cost, plus make your operations more efficient and flexible.  But the move itself can also raise a lot of questions and concerns. Which Cloud approach is best – public, private or hybrid? How long will the transition take and how much disruption will it create?  How soon will I get to see the benefits?  What can I do within my organization to help everything go faster and smoother?

There are lots of books on the topics. But if you believe that you can learn better by doing, HP has a great alternative for you called the Race to Results Converged Cloud simulation. This 4-hour experience helps you live many aspects of the Cloud, so you can learn first-hand the risks, challenges, and rewards of Cloud implementations.

Go four rounds with the Cloud and come out a winner
The simulation is divided into four rounds.  

Round 1 is called “the current business experience.” Here, you are introduced to your new, imaginary organization called the HP Events Group. This is a global company which manages branding, advertising, TV coverage, pay-per-view subscriptions, and retail merchandise for professional motor car racing teams. You form the IT department of the company and discover that you are dealing with a lack of integrated processes and tools across all its regions. There is also disparity in various technology configurations that results in increased procurement and support costs. With each of the regions acting independently from one another with respect to their investments, strategic approach, and support structure, overall business results are not being met. Also, the company is incurring high operational costs and experiencing on-going reductions in customer satisfaction. The good news is that there is a real opportunity for the IT department to improve efficiencies and increase the overall business performance.

In round two, you work on developing and implementing an integrated approach across all teams. The approach involves:


  • Standardizing and optimizing common processes and tools
  • Selecting the right service level packages to automate and drive efficiencies within the overall IT support model
  • Creating a standard Service Catalog to provide an end-to-end view of what services the IT Department currently offers and what resources are available
  • Creating a private Cloud environment to save on support costs, leverage internal capabilities, and improve time-to-market for new service offerings
  • Implementing Demand and Capacity Management to help identify patterns of business activity and thus ensure that the technology across all regions can meet them.  

Taken together, all of these steps improve business results and will help you in assessing what you’ll need to move to the Public Cloud in the subsequent rounds

After achieving internal efficiencies and experiencing the benefits of the Private Cloud, you are introduced to the Public Cloud in rounds three and four. You’ll assess various external Public Cloud service provider capabilities to determine which ones will achieve the most desirable business outcomes. This includes a formal review of the associated cost models and potential returns that Public Cloud service providers offer.

You are then challenged to understand and optimize any risks associated with moving services to the pubic cloud including security, availability, and other quality factors. Overall, your team continues to drive efficiencies internally with respect to their processes and tools.  But now, they can formally leverage the full spectrum of what cloud computing can offer to improve the overall business results and increase customer satisfaction.

You end up with:

  • Buy-in and commitment to Cloud computing from the top to the bottom of the organization
  • A clear understanding that Cloud computing can drive competitive advantage
  • Proven ways to improve image and credibility by transforming IT into an agile and efficient service function
  • Increased alignment between the business and IT
  • Approaches that will allow you to rapidly realize the time and cost efficiencies offered by cloud computing

The simulation comes to you
In January, HP will be taking this Race to Results Converged Cloud simulation to two major cities: Chicago on January 8 and Toronto on January 13.  If either city is convenient to you, check it out. It’s a fun experience that will help you take a giant step on your journey to the Cloud. To sign up, just go to:   HP can also bring the simulation right to you.  To find out how, go to and select your preferred contact method. You can also get complete information on the course webpage:       


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