15 years ago I was managing a project for a telecom company to improve the delivery process for telephone connections for large companies who wanted a new ISDN30 phone connection because they moved to a new office or were expanding and needed more phone capacity. At that time there were big problems with the delivery because it was very complicated, a lot of departments of the telecom provider were involved and needed to do something: the different departments involved did not communicate well, a lot of interfaces between departments were not automated so there were a lot of errors. Most important problem: the delivery process was not managed as one process. Most deliveries were escalated to the management level of both the telecom provider and the customer and it took much time for staff to investigate were it went wrong before the problems could be solved (which took also time which again impacted all other planned deliveries).
The first things I did was asking around what has to be done to make a connection between the company and the telecom infrastructure. I was told a process manager working for the head office who knew all about this and was responsible for this. So I made an appointment with the process manager responsible for this process. He could easily explain me the process because he had it all on paper from the high level process to the work instructions for all involved: a lot of people needed to do something! When asked where it went wrong he told me that he was constantly looking at complaints and solving problems and sending new work instructions to staff and explain them what should be changed to solve this! But constantly new problems came up!
As next step I organized a work group with domain experts from all departments involved and planned a session with all of them going through the process in detail with. The first session I planned at a local phone exchange location where the physical connections were made and before we started I asked a tour to look at all the modems, cables and computers. There was some technical staff working at that moment and I asked them what they had to do and how they got their instructions. They looked at me as if I was asking a silly question: they were just doing their work and they knew exactly what to do! But what about the instructions from headquarter recently to solve the delivery problems? Yes, they knew about it, there was a guy on headquarters sending them instructions on paper but they never looked at it, they had never seen him and the instructions were thrown in the garbage can immediately! When I asked the process manager after the meeting if he had been there before he told me that he found it very interesting because he had never been on such a location before, all meeting where on headquarters….
We solved the problem by implementing a central coordination team which had insight over the total delivery process and access to all tools so they had a view on the progress of different delivery process steps and could take action when something went wrong. All customer projects had one person responsible for the total process who had the authority to take action and had a target to deliver on time. After a year 98 % of the delivery was done on time and all involved were very happy with this result.Since then a lot has changed and after ISDN came ASDSL, glass fiber cables and wireless which made the internet revolution possible. And because these connections are fast and available for all worldwide big datacenters have been developed. First only accessible for big companies but now also accessible for all companies and for low costs. According to a recent report by IDC there are now 8.6 million datacenters worldwide operational but they expect this will begin to decline from 2017 on because the tendency is that datacenters become bigger and bigger and have more capacity.
Based on this datacenter infrastructure the first cloud environments became available in 2006 like Dropbox, Box, Spideraok, SugarSyncc, a year later Microsoft joined. Now, almost ten year later, big companies like Amazon, VMWare and Google joined and are also offering cloud services and very successful: for example Microsoft gets 29% of his revenue today from cloud services. For this reason the cloud is the biggest game changer since the creation of the Internet.A recent development is that these cloud providers are supporting hybrid cloud management which means they use a combination of on premise, private and or public hosted managed services for their IT assets. More and more companies are replacing their old on premise IT landscape for cloud solutions which have become available for all. This trend is already ongoing and will surely expand the coming years. Some companies have not have started yet but others have already a lot of their IT running ‘in the cloud’.
For companies, who start bringing their infra or solutions to the cloud, there is always a positive business case: using a cloud service is always cheaper than doing it yourselves and the first time you probably will have to deal with only one partner providing you with a cloud solution. But when making a next step it might be you need to work with a new service provider because the first one does not have a proper solution. And for some services you want to use a public cloud but for others, containing more sensitive data, you would like to use a private cloud. And before you know is you need to manage a hybrid cloud landscape with multiple services and providers and you don’t have the oversight anymore and you don’t know why your IT budget is growing. Time for cloud management!
Companies who want to develop a cloud strategy should also setup the governance around it and define how to manage their cloud environment. To support this recently new cloud management tools have become available which make it possible to manage your hybrid cloud, give you insight in usage and costs of the cloud and manage your total cloud landscape efficiently. These tools make it possible to simply and quickly deploy, manage, and migrate real enterprise applications on hybrid cloud, reduce down time and give insight in the cost of building and maintaining an enterprise hybrid cloud.A good example of such a cloud management tool is AppCenter developed by ITapp from Santa Clara in Silicon Valley in California, in April this year named by Gartner as a “Cool Vendor” in their 2015 Cool Vendors in Cloud Management 2015 report. ITapp’s AppCenter offers the simplest and the fastest path to deploy, manage, and migrate real enterprise applications on hybrid cloud and ITapp’s Self-service App Store makes it possible to let your staff easily authorize and access your applications. Especially customers who are concerned about data privacy value the extensive integration with private data center storage and networking technologies.
Feel free to contact me if you want to know more about ITapp’s Hybrid Cloud Management solutions!
Gerard Geerlings – Sales Manager Europe ITapp