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When Amazon said “cloud is easy” they hurt IT teams

KellyBaig

10 years following the introduction by Amazon in 2006 of the Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), IT teams are still trying to get over the concept that “cloud is easy.” This notion was more marketing and less reality. Unfortunately, it set an expectation among business leaders and C-level executives and often among the IT professionals themselves that cloud adoption is a snap. In effect, they expect that their IT should be able to create a plan to migrate to cloud today, do the programming (oh sorry – they think it’s administrative) effort tomorrow, and be on the cloud by next week.

In reality, of course, the effort is much more complex than that – and far from “easy”.

This afternoon, our team here in HPE Technology Services Consulting (TSC) and Education Services spoke with an analyst from Frost & Sullivan. She is an experienced consultant with history running teams and channel at AT&T and other places. It was interesting to hear her state, that one message she feels that IT teams need to hear strongly is that “you need help with cloud because it’s not easy” and most importantly “that it’s OK to need help.”

One of our consultants, a colleague with decades of experience helping organizations establish and run datacenters, pointed out that one mistake he sees made repeatedly with cloud is that organizations get focused on the technology – and forget about everything else.

“My advice to these teams, is that the need to take a holistic approach,” he stated. He went on to say, that getting the technology under their belts is really the easier part – and maybe only 10% of the real effort.

“It may seem strange to say, but really the technology is the easy part. The harder parts are all of the other changes and impacts – on the business process, on the IT and operational processes. A big giant gap I’ve seen again and again, is the complete lack of attention to the people caught up in the change.”

In short, IT teams seem often to be taking tactical rather than strategic approaches to cloud transformation. And, with the tactical approach, they most often fail. They fail in terms of seeing the real benefits that cloud models can provide. They fail in terms of enabling their business teams to function with higher agility and competitiveness in the market. They also fail in terms of enabling their IT teams to build a firm foundation for their future business requirements.

At one point, our TSC lead expressed that “cloud forces the issue” and causes teams to have to rethink their approach, and be more strategic and holistic.

Unless, that is, they do it wrong. The F&S consultant mentioned, that she encounters many IT teams that tell her that they don’t have the expertise on staff that they need to plan cloud transformations, that they don’t know how to organize to get it, and they really don’t feel comfortable stating this to their leadership. Because cloud was supposed to be “easy.”

In a similar way, the shift in IT to embrace DevOps requires tools, yes, but the harder part is the shift in culture and the shift in the definition of IT roles that is required to make it work. “Organizations need to get comfortable with the notion that failure is good – as long as you fail fast, and learn,” explained another of our TSC Education leads. Like cloud, DevOps adoption requires a more strategic and holistic approach.

A holistic approach means taking an integral effort to prepare and support people through-out the technology change process. This type of approach is called Management of Change service, or sometimes Organizational Management of Change. The projects available from HPE TSC to help your teams adopt cloud and DevOps are offered with Management of Change services, to help IT teams and the business people that they support, through the project – with success.

In short, cloud is not easy. Like most things that have profound and transformational benefits to business, cloud requires expertise and effort – and it should be OK to ask for help through the process.

About the Author

KellyBaig

25+ years in high tech in various roles that include Consulting, Channel Mgmt, Product Mgmt and Marketing. Technology areas include storage and data management, high availability, cloud and hosting, networking, and mobility/wearable technology for enterprise, SMB , and channel business. Industries include healthcare, financial services, ISVs, Service Providers and telecos.