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Cloud Computing: Article

What Will Cloud Computing Bring to Your Bottom Line?

Approaching Cloudsizing – Part 2 of 4

As you remember from Part 1 of this article series, there are 17 steps to Cloudsizing, including:

  1. Assess the business.
  2. Assess the culture.
  3. Assess the value.
  4. Understand your data.
  5. Understand your services.
  6. Understand your processes.
  7. Understand the cloud resources.
  8. Identify candidate data.
  9. Identify candidate services.
  10. Identify candidate processes.
  11. Create a governance strategy.
  12. Create a security strategy.
  13. Bind candidate services to data and processes.
  14. Relocate services, processes, and information.
  15. Implement security.
  16. Implement governance.
  17. Implement operations.

We covered the first two, so let's continue down the list.

Assess the Value
What will cloud computing bring to your bottom line? That's what we will determine in this step. In essence, this is the process of calculating the ROI for the formations of clouds around your enterprise. However, keep in mind that not all systems make sense to outsource, and you have to be honest about the real costs and the real benefits.

The first step is to determine the "as is" state of a particular application and / or business system, including the cost of operations, maintenance, design, development, testing, deployment, etc. From there you determine the "to be" state with cloud computing resources.

In addition, you need to define the value of agility and expandability, or the ability to change the information systems quickly as business needs change, and the ability to scale or expand the systems as the processing load needs to increase to support the business.

Finally, you need to consider the "network effect" or the ability for your applications to take advantage of other services, information, and applications that exist on the platform of the Internet. Make sure to document all of this, and come up with an ROI that the business can expect, or not expect. You determine the need to proceed at this point.

Understand Your Data, Services, and Processes
The next three steps - understand your data, services, and processes - are really about defining what you already have, and thus you will have a complete understanding of what to outsource. Those who just toss applications out onto cloud computing platforms without this type of deep analysis will find that it's more difficult and time-consuming at the end of this process.

Understanding the data refers to the process of defining all relevant metadata within the candidate applications, new or old, that you're looking to outsource to a cloud platform. This means where the data is now, its structure, logical model, physical model, security issues, data definitions, etc. At the end of this process you should have a populated metadata layer.

The services are actual Web services, transactions, or APIs that are externalized by the existing candidate systems. The purpose of this process is to list them, understand them in detail, document them, and link them back to the metadata we defined in the previous step. Again, we're attempting to understand existing or new services that will either be placed on a cloud computing platform or will interact with resources hosted in the clouds. Services provide a more granular way to deal with applications, since you can mix and match services that exist within the enterprise and on cloud computing resources, all bound together using processes (discussed next).

You need to define and list all business processes that exist within your domain, automated or not. This is important because, now that we know which services and information sources are available, we must define higher-level mechanisms for interaction, including all high-level, mid-level, and low-level processes. In many instances, these processes have yet to become automated or are only partially automated.

You should also consider the notion of shared versus private processes. Some processes are private and thus not shared with outside entities (or, in some cases, they are not even shared with other parts of the organization). Other processes are shared, meaning that others leverage the same processes in order to automate things inter-enterprise. Private and shared processes can exist in the same process space with the process integration technology managing security among the users.

We'll move on to the next steps, next month.

More Stories By David Linthicum

David Linthicum is the Chief Cloud Strategy Officer at Deloitte Consulting, and was just named the #1 cloud influencer via a recent major report by Apollo Research. He is a cloud computing thought leader, executive, consultant, author, and speaker. He has been a CTO five times for both public and private companies, and a CEO two times in the last 25 years.

Few individuals are true giants of cloud computing, but David's achievements, reputation, and stellar leadership has earned him a lofty position within the industry. It's not just that he is a top thought leader in the cloud computing universe, but he is often the visionary that the wider media invites to offer its readers, listeners and viewers a peek inside the technology that is reshaping businesses every day.

With more than 13 books on computing, more than 5,000 published articles, more than 500 conference presentations and numerous appearances on radio and TV programs, he has spent the last 20 years leading, showing, and teaching businesses how to use resources more productively and innovate constantly. He has expanded the vision of both startups and established corporations as to what is possible and achievable.

David is a Gigaom research analyst and writes prolifically for InfoWorld as a cloud computing blogger. He also is a contributor to “IEEE Cloud Computing,” Tech Target’s SearchCloud and SearchAWS, as well as is quoted in major business publications including Forbes, Business Week, The Wall Street Journal, and the LA Times. David has appeared on NPR several times as a computing industry commentator, and does a weekly podcast on cloud computing.

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