Wednesday, 21 March 2012

+ the Cloud LESS control button

Success in cloud adoption; let go of detailed control.

A fact is that IT as a Service keeps taking market shares. The services are delivered as traditional SaaS, from a Managed- / Service Provider or as cloud services. We see growths in areas like IaaS and especially PaaS when application providers and vendors put applications in the cloud. But the speed is not what many expect. What’s causing this? I’ve been doing some thinking.

Shoe service description and SLA? This + brand, store and receipt is my agreement for buying a shoe. The agreement should also guarantee my choices: no children, environment-friendly transportations etc. If textile inside it doesn’t meet SLA I will return it. I shouldn’t care about transportation, logistics, sewing machines etc. IT is far more complicated but principle is the same.

Tomorrow I will go to my car service center, they will help me to switch wheels (winter > summer (yes, I live in Sweden where we switch tires ;))). This is a service I very much appreciate and value. Even if I could make the switch on my own it would take me time, get me cold fingers and expose me for a bit risk when lifting my car with the jack, because I most probably won’t do it by the book. Now I know I have pro’s doing it for me. They are fast, have insurances, know exactly how to and have secure lifts… But hey, stop. Do I really need to know this? No, I really don’t care and I don’t need that detailed control. Meanwhile they’re doing it I can just relax and take a cup of coffee. When finished my car is ready to hit the spring roads with shiny fresh tires. Yes, I did have to say ok to the new tires (I was informed my old was bad) and pay for them and the switch. I could have done this myself but I choose not to. When choosing a mechanic I check references, price, methods etc. Wouldn’t you?

When it comes to IT it’s not so easy to be the handyman. You have to have skills…in many areas. And when you have gathered skill on your own or in your IT department it’s most probably difficult to let go of the control in general. It’s always hard to let go of control you possess but the world of IT is changing. Be aware, because it takes time to change.

When analyzing ITaaS and cloud to find out if it meet your business needs you will have to value a lot of pros and cons. I will give you one of my biggest pros to adopt ITaaS and cloud services. Not the last but maybe one of the most important;

Why IT services are good for you; the “let go” of detailed control. 

Every time somebody helps me with something outside my knowledge I feel like Eddie Murphy in the 'RAW' opening scene. I feel satisfied and I put my hands in the air to say “thank you”. Because I really think it was wise to choose a professional to help me out and I let go of detailed control.

Look at the figure below. It’s normally used to explain what differs in general when comparing an outsourced function or adopted cloud service versus hosting them locally.

This picture is a copy. I don’t know who created it so I don’t know who to thank more than the benchmarker I got it from, thanks Stig at Datanet. The story is it was created by a CFO….

When in-house the scale benefits decrease and the control in details maximizes. Reversed; the scale benefits increase and the control in details decrease. Is somewhere in the middle the best? No, that’s not the way to look at it. It’s only a fact that you can’t tweak to gain detailed control at the same time you gain scale.

But this is what ITaaS and cloud is about. My point is; as a customer you shouldn’t value the cons of gaining less control as a problem or minus – reverse thinking and consider it as a +…a big +.

Difference between SaaS, PaaS and IaaS exist, you get more details the deeper in the chain you go – it comes with the service.

Every descent, reliable and professional service provider should offer you a service description, service levels, security, continuity etc. As a customer you shouldn’t need to or, pardon my French, you shouldn’t care about details – it’s in the SLA and agreement of the service. You should let go of it and trust the service provider – you are buying a service. See it as an advantage, a possibility to focus on your core business. To focus on what IT services you need to fulfill or even surpass your goals, the services which provides you with the right information at the right time and help you to be more productive.

I will give you an anthropologic question: Do you think you are or will be a good leader and / or manager if you can’t rely on your employee? You will lose control of your business if you focus on the nitty gritty.

To let go of detailed control is not the same thing as being sloppy or airy. You have to know what you sign up for in terms of service levels, data location, security and more. Watch and weigh lock in effects, if any, integration compatibility possibilities, or disadvantages, co-existence with existing local hosted systems. If you can’t find good service providers and agreements to sign up to then just drop that service and move on to another, don’t accept bad stuff. Adopt cloud when it meet and fit your business needs, not just because. I think you should consider to change mind set and start dealing with the cloud in a relevant approach; let go of the detailed control, push & + the Cloud LESS control button button.

How can service providers help you adopt ITaaS and the cloud?

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