Which applications should go in the cloud?
You’d be surprised to know that not every application in existence would benefit from placement in the cloud. You have to consider issues such as PaaS compatibility and whether or not you’ll need an application platform redesign if you deploy certain applications into the cloud.
What about technologies that have been banned in the enterprise for valid reasons? You would have to rethink cloud deployment at that point.
How secure your data needs to be may also influence your decision. Expect legal requirements and operational practice compliance specifically for near-, on- and off-shore activities if you plan on leveraging cloud technology.
Sure, I know what kind of applications I want in the cloud, so what's the problem?
The challenge is this: how to make sure you’re deploying the right ones to the cloud and not causing havoc to others in doing so.
Think about it – even mid-sized enterprises typically employ hundreds of applications. The larger global enterprises often work with several thousands. You’d have to look at each one of those applications to determine viability.
Doing the math ultimately shows you that you’re looking at a lot of expense – both in dollar signs and time spent.
What you’ll need is a platform designed to methodically organize all your applications according to their cloud suitability, compatibility and viability using KPIs such as competitive differentiators, need for availability, data sensitivity, regulatory mandates and cost.
That’s the heart of ITPM ... you will know your applications better than ever before, making cloud deployment that much easier.
How do I ensure that my apps in the cloud are all connected to the whole?
The next benefit is obvious: of course, you’ll have applications that you decide to keep on-prem. What then? You know there are dependencies between those on the Earth and those “up there.” You need some sort of bridge, tying the skies to the ground, so that you can catch the impact of changes to any application anywhere.
That’s not easy to do. And trust us: it’s a must-have. If you don’t have an integrated view of your cloud and on-prem apps, you’re running risky – and probably not having a very smooth running, integrated application landscape. Sure, your cloud apps are accessible and flexible, but they won’t be able to communicate with each other and with your on-prem systems.
They’re working. But they’re not working for you.
That’s not what you want. What you want besides flexibility and adaptability is transparency. See how it all fits together and understand the interdependencies. What else do you want transparent? The cloud services your provider has on offer and those you are using. You want these to be part of your architecture inventory, so you've got the whole picture of your IT and the cloud computing platform.
As part of your architecture inventory, those cloud elements are there for you observe and even use to make new cloud-ready solutions. After all, what good is it to put your data in the cloud if you can’t benefit from it on the ground, too?
Lastly, how do I get everybody on board for our cloud deployment strategy?
Getting buy-in for any decision can be an uphill task. There are usually winners and losers. The losers will often keep trying to change the decision or go for their pound of flesh by waiting for things to go wrong and taking the “I told you so” track.
The best counter to this is due diligence and transparency.
Make sure decisions are made based on facts with each stage of the decision-making process communicated. For cloud first, this means having a transparent process for the selection of business applications by projects and programs. Indeed this is an essential element of IT governance, irrespective of whether you are following a cloud first strategy or not.
One of the obstacles to overcome is that the various teams who should be working in sync on cloud first and business application decisions, e.g. PMO, enterprise architects, application managers and platform experts, are often instead working in silos. Having them work with a common application inventory will help bring them together, and more can be achieved.
They can use an integrated IT portfolio inventory containing not only applications, but also the projects targeting them, the technologies used by them, the business capabilities supported by them, and the organizations which use them. With this inventory the impacts of project decisions on the IT landscape will be fully understood and considered.
In other words, your applications in the cloud won’t just work – they’ll work for your business.