The promises of Cloud Computing are well documented. It has become the panacea for solving everyone’s business challenges of delivering standardized, quality services to customers without regard to source or type of resources and the underlying technology behind the curtain. But what really is behind the curtain?
Ever since the inception of “the Cloud” Evergreen has jumped in full force to help our clients develop their Cloud Strategy. The one thing we find consistently across almost all of our clients is an overwhelming interest in the technologies that enable cloud computing without a parallel effort to develop or enhance the underlying IT processes necessary to sustain the benefits of an automated IT Service.
There is no advantage of cloud computing that cannot benefit from the lessons of the past. William Deming, considered the Father of Quality Management, who developed the “Deming Circle of Quality” had also developed the Seven Deadly Diseases of an organization and the eight Obstacles. One of those obstacles, Relying on technology to solve problems continues to be a curse in both Business and IT circles. Why? Because process takes time and documentation and no one is given that time to really document processes. This leads to one of Deming’s Seven Deadly Diseases, Emphasis on short-term profits. The problem with short-term profits is they are not sustainable. IT financials get a one-time savings, but slowly that savings erodes and may actually lead to higher costs because there is no way to control, measure and improve the processes that were automated as they were not documented in the first place.
So how do you get started? Certainly there are proven frameworks that can be leveraged like ITIL. But frameworks can only go so far. That framework needs to be adapted to your organization. In addition, frameworks do not give you work instructions or run books, which are all a part of, as ITIL calls it, a Service Knowledge Management System (SKMS). The SKMS assumes that the work instructions and run books, along with any processes or process changes, are all part of the Service Development Lifecycle so that when a new service is introduced, it is truly complete. That new service is added to the “system” so you can control, measure, manage and improve the service or improve the “system” to improve the service. One of the biggest misconceptions we see is the idea that cloud-delivered services come “truly complete.” This can come as a shock to customers as they start to bring a new service on board that is delivered through cloud computing or as a cloud service. These services still must follow a pattern identified as Deming’s Circle – PLAN-DO-CHECK-ACT.
- First, PLAN the new service or process that includes the objectives, critical success factors and measures and all knowledge necessary to deliver the service or to operate the process.
- Then DO or implement the new service or process and begin to CHECK or measure how the service or process is performing. Once something new is introduced, it will have defects. Those defects tell us something about the issues with the service or process.
- This information is then used to determine ways to make the service or process more effective, which is to ACT on the defect data we receive.
- From that data we determine the root cause of the defects and we PLAN changes to the service or process and start the circle over.
Cloud computing requires well-defined and measurable services. Well-defined and measurable services require well-defined and measurable standard processes to effectively deliver and improve those services. Services and processes need enabling technologies to make them more efficient and more effective. Finally, we need smart people to operate, measure and improve services and processes so we can sustain and extend the value to the organization.
Whether you are trying to help IT become a broker of IT services by leveraging cloud-delivered services or trying to create your own private cloud, one principal of Deming still rings true: Relying on technology to solve problems never works.
About the author
Anthony (Tony) Iannetta, Client Principal – Evergreen Systems
Tony possesses more than 30 years of experience in IT asset management, service management and enabling technologies along the journey from asset to configuration management. He has worked with numerous Fortune 1000 companies in developing ITAM and ITSM strategy; governance; and people, process and technology design and implementation. Recent projects include creating the strategy and road map for a Fortune 200 manufacturing company for IT Asset Management for the end user and the data center environment. Tony is ITIL Foundation Certified and earned his Bachelors in Business Administration from Cleveland State University.