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AWS / VMware Enterprise Cloud adoption maturity – VMware Cloud on AWS

As this IDC report shows only 25% of organizations have repeatable strategies for Cloud adoption, with 32% having no Cloud strategy at all, describing the need for a best practice based repeatable framework for planning Cloud adoption that drives business success. This Forbes posting from Joe McKindrick also references this research, describing:

only about one in seven organizations with multiple cloud workloads (14%) actually have managed, or optimized cloud strategies. The largest segment, 47%, say their cloud strategies tend to be on the fly — “opportunistic, or ad hoc.”

and that

And only a somewhat larger group, 11%, were at the next-best level, “managed,” in which their enterprises are “implementing a consistent, enterprisewide best-practices approach to cloud;” and “orchestrating service delivery across an integrated set of resources.”

Vendoes like AWS and VMware offer ready to use best practices that can help plug this gap.

AWS – Enterprise Cloud Adoption Maturity

These challenges correlate with a simple adoption planning model 1 offered by Stephen Orban, Head of Enterprise Strategy at Amazon AWS and previously CIO of Dow Jones.

From his experiences enterprise organizations progress through four main stages of Enterprise Cloud Adoption Maturity, consistent with the IDC research:

StageCapabilitiesBenefits
1 - ProjectBasic Cloud skillsEnterprises start with a few projects to begin to understand how they can leverage the cloud to meet a business need.
2 - FoundationCloud Centre of ExcellenceOnce an enterprise has gained some benefit from the cloud through a few projects, it tends to make some foundational investments so it can scale that benefit across its organization.
3 - MigrationStandardized Cloud Migration patternsAs the enterprise builds a cloud foundation and gains experience with more projects, it typically becomes easier and more compelling to migrate existing IT assets to the cloud.
4 - OptimizationIT Cost ReductionAs the gravity of an enterprise’s IT footprint moves from its own (or its MSPs) data centers to the cloud, it typically finds itself in a much better position to optimize both its IT footprint (costs) and its business capabilities (products and services).

Organizing for the Cloud – Building a Cloud Centre of Excellence

In VMware’s white paper ‘Organizing for the Cloud 2 (30-page PDF) they say the key to this transformation of IT is the implementation of a ‘Cloud Operating Model’. Central to this blueprint is that the IT team should become a Cloud Service Broker, an incremental step up in a maturity model that they describe as a Cloud Capability Model.

They also describe that creation of a ‘Cloud Centre of Excellence’ is the best way to achieve the required changes to the IT organization itself. This COE should create an online knowledge base of best practices, and defining job roles and responsibilities, such as Cloud Leader, Architect, Analyst, Administrator and Developer and a Service Catalog Manager among others.

Having implemented this matrix of new capabilities the IT team can then seek to identify and achieve the organizational improvements that will be of value to their business, such as:

  • Faster response to business needs

  • Faster incident resolution

  • Improved infrastructure deployment coordination

  • Improved ability to meet SLAs

Fundamentally what VMware recommend that is the headline message of Enterprise Cloud is that it will achieve an increased focus on higher value initiatives.

IT Value Transformation

The headline resource from VMware to answer this question is this study commissioned from the IT Process Institute, their white paper: ‘IT Value Transformation Roadmap 3 (24 page PDF).

In this document they offer a blueprint for a Cloud Maturity Model, a ladder of maturing capability that you can compare your organization to, and use as a framework to plan your own business transformations, where:

“This cloud computing strategy brief presents a virtualization- and private-cloud-centric model for IT value transformation. It combines key findings from several primary research studies into a three-stage transformation road map.”

In short this is an ideal strategy blueprint for any existing VMware customers – It proposes a 3-Step maturity model that begins with virtualization and grows into full utilization of Cloud computing across three stages of:

  1. IT Production – Focus on delivering the basics and proving value for money.
  2. Business Production – Utilize technology to better optimize business processes.
  3. ITaaS – Fully embrace utility IT as a Service, and leverage technology for enabling new service innovation.

This corresponds with an increasing maturity in the use of virtualizastion, SaaS and other Cloud architecture principles and external services, that begins with where most customers are now, mostly half way through phase 1.

Becoming a Transformational Leader – Start your journey

It also corresponds with a journey for the CIO as well – From operational manager of a cost centre with poor value for money perceptions, through to a boardroom-level change agent who is directly driving new profit-making initiatives.

Specifically the paper makes the point that this evolution results in the CIO being recognized for delivering strategic IT value:

What is strategic IT value? Strategic IT value is demonstrated when IT plays a key role in a company’s achievement of overall business strategy. In other words, when IT is keenly focused on business outcomes and plays a significant role in optimizing and improving core value-chain processes. Or, when the IT organization drives innovation that enables new technology-enabled product and service revenue streams. When IT is effective, results can be measured by improved customer satisfaction and market share gains.

In contrast many CIOs can find themselves in somewhat of an operational corner – Responsible for keeping the lights on but perceived as a poor value-for-money cost base for doing so. The IT Process Institute describe how CIOs can break this constraint cycle and shift from a cost focus to delivering strategic value for the business, through this three-step progression.

VMware Cloud on AWS

In Taming the Digital Dragon McKinsey describe the Hybrid Cloud model as the blueprint for digital transformation, and AWS and VMware have released a major innovation to accelerate its adoption.

Announced on 28 Aug 2017 Amazon has launched VMware Cloud on AWS. With this update, VMware’s Software-Designed Data Center (SDDC) can now be used on Amazon’s AWS infrastructure, enabling users to run VMware applications across consistent public, private, or hybrid vSphere-based cloud environments, while also having optimized access to AWS services. This service was designed to support popular use cases, including data center extension, as well as application development, testing, and migration.

References

1.
Orban S. The Journey Toward Cloud-First & the Stages of Adoption. Medium. https://medium.com/aws-enterprise-collection/the-journey-toward-cloud-first-the-stages-of-adoption-6ad3e3b843c7. Published September 19, 2016. Accessed September 9, 2017.
3.
IT Value Transformation Road Map. IT Process Institute. https://www.getadvanced.net/pdfs/VMware_-IT-Value-Cloud-Transformation-Road-Map.pdf. Accessed September 12, 2017.

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