cloudIn order to start the process of moving legacy systems to Cloud based services, some preparatory work is advisable. Effectively Cloud Readiness allows you to gauge how close you are to being able to transition to Cloud services, regardless of the service.

In a project framework, this could be defined as the investigation stage. The information that is gathered here is needed for the future stages of the transition process including design and Cloud provider selection. Cloud readiness is not just about legacy systems, it’s a pre-requisite for all Cloud service uptake.

Governance

Governance is how the ICT organisation will manage the relationships with Cloud Providers, the enterprise, other ICT suppliers & partners, Cloud Brokers, and external customers. The movement of legacy systems into Cloud will require changes to your governance as a result.

I can’t stress this enough. Governance is King. Understanding this and building an appropriate governance structure will allow you to move forward regardless of challenges.

Consider

  • Documenting your current governance structure.
  • How your current governance will change when legacy systems are moved into Cloud.
  • Resolving the data sovereignty issue with your executive now.
  • Creating a Risk and Assurance Framework that allows you to start thinking about how you will select Cloud providers.

Internet Edge

Moving legacy systems into the Cloud will impact the edge services that you have today and significantly alter your network traffic patterns.

In addition, security comes into play at this point. Defining your security requirements is critical to the success of the transition.

Consider

  • Updating your Security Policy or creating one if it does not already exist.
  • Capacity planning for the Internet edge in terms of bandwidth, latency, availability, reliability, reducing single points of failure, and quality of service for specific services.
  • Now is the time to consider using encryption engines.
  • Create a design document utilising this information and start building.

Single Sign On

In order to provide security and a good experience for your user community, single sign on is necessary. Rather than the customer having to remember multiple user names and passwords for your various Cloud services, single sign on utilises their credentials once, so once logged into your enterprise can then access what they are entitled too.

Consider

  • Creating a design for single sign and a federated model.

Complete an ICT stock take

In order for Cloud providers, partners, developers, and other ICT stakeholders to assist with Cloud, they will require a lot of information.

The ICT stock take needs to collate what is likely to be asked for by stakeholders for the legacy system design process and ongoing management.

Consider

  • A complete list of all the ICT assets. Including software, hardware, and access to a Configuration Management Database (CMDB) if available.
  • A list of all your enterprise and solutions architecture documentation, particularly in reference to your legacy systems and the interoperability of services. This is critical.
  • Network maps and information.
  • Internet service levels that the ICT organisation has agreed to deliver to their customers. This often appears as a set of SLA’s that define, service be service, metrics such as reliability, availability, recoverability, and the like.
  • A total cost of ownership for your ICT services. While not mandatory, when it comes time to create business cases to move your ICT systems, this information is material to an executive making a decision that they will see in monetary terms.
  • Documented support processes for the ICT organisation including event & incident management, service desk processes, problem management, and other core support maps.
  • Policies. Security in particular, but any other polices that the ICT organisation holds.

IT Management vs ICT Service Management

This is a “soft” requirement, as is the next section, however can be important depending on what state your organisation is on this spectrum.

IT Management represents the older “command and control” structure that existed (and still exists) whereby the IT organisation is largely in charge of delivering what they think is the right thing for their customers.

ICT Service Management is the end result of moving from IT Management to one where the ICT organisations is effectively a “broker of services”, including Cloud, for their customers. They have service level agreements with the business proper and are find technology to act as an enabler for business direction. Often, ICT Service Management is underpinned by an industry standard such as ITIL[1].

Forester has noted in recent studies that “the gap between the ICT organisation and the Business has never been greater.” There is a risk with Cloud that the business proper, if it sees the ICT organisation as a road block, will simply procure services directly, often with disastrous results. This is known as “Shadow IT.”

Consider

  • How you can be seen as a broker of ICT services to your customers rather than an old IT department that controls their user tools.
  • Benchmark what you do today against an industry standard such as ITIL.
  • Pick key processes that support the broker service model and implement them.
  • Don’t try to reach a higher-level of maturity in your first few months. Start slow and evolve.
  • Create a service catalogue for your customers with one to four service levels that describes the experience they will receive.

Revolution not Revolt

Change scares people and Cloud represents the largest change to the ICT industry since the development of the Internet itself. This is a journey that you have to carefully take your ICT organisation on. Older style IT organisations will naturally be wary of Cloud and sometimes be very outspoken about why it is not an option.

This will appear as critical, unfounded, subjective analysis of Cloud services and their providers along with unqualified fear, uncertainty, and doubt.

In earlier sections we’ve covered the barriers to Cloud and how to manage risk.

Consider

  • Education. Teach your ICT organisation about what Cloud is.
  • A champion. Give a senior ICT Manager the role of Cloud champion.
  • Examples. Show your ICT organisation practical, pragmatic, working examples of Cloud.
  • Sandboxes. You can stand up sandboxes in the Cloud for minimal cost. Do this and allow your ICT organisation access to experiment with them.
  • Cloud is inevitable. Most large ICT organisations are moving to a full Cloud model in less than five years. That means that eventually services will only be able to be procured and consumed via Cloud technology.

Cloud Service Design

Cloud Service Design starts to push into the actual mechanics of a programme of work to transition your legacy systems, however you can start a little early with it and complete it in detail as part of the programme or project.

It is critical that you engage your architecture teams, if you have them, to support this activity. If you don’t have architects, look to a partner for assistance.

Consider

  • Catalogue management.
  • Service level management.
  • Capacity management.
  • Availability management.
  • ICT service continuity management.
  • Information security management.
  • Supplier management.
  • Understand how Cloud will change your operating model.
These posts are taken from my book “Embracing Cloud: How to migrate your ICT Services into the Cloud.” The full book is available via Gumroad as a PDF or Amazon in Kindle Format. 


[1] ITIL is a hotly debated set of processes. There are two points with ITIL. The first is that it’s a common language. So when you have many partners and providers of services, you all speak the same language. The second is that it is not all mandatory. Picking the processes that you need rather than throwing the manual at the ICT organisation is a pragmatic way to pick the parts that work for you.

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