Are you leveraging the full potential of cloud computing?

By: Alexander Schmid

The image is from Big Stock.

Cloud computing is a key element in addressing major business challenges. In addition to optimizing costs, cloud can also drive innovation, which relies in many cases on the integration of traditional environments with cloud-native applications.

In talking to our clients, however, we often hear that IT is failing to bring the full benefits of cloud to the table. To address this issue and provide what the business really needs, we suggest the following three steps:

  1. Apply a holistic view.
  2. Assess and analyze the current situation.
  3. Develop recommendations.

The ninth dimension

Cloud, hybrid IT and cognitive delivery are key drivers of next-generation IT. When assessing and analyzing the corresponding status of cloud, it’s decisive to apply a broad framework. We therefore developed a simple but very effective model — this model is aligned to IBM’s enterprise IT as a Service (ITaaS) framework, and it’s based on the following nine key dimensions:

  1. Traditional IT: the legacy systems comprising infrastructure platforms that aren’t under the control of a cloud management platform like VMware or OpenStack
  2. Software as a service: the consumption of business functionality according to cloud principles
  3. Private cloud: Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) or Platform as a Service (PaaS) deployments controlled under a client-owned cloud management platform, which can be composed of on-premise or dedicated off-premise infrastructure
  4. Public cloud: shared off-premise IaaS or PaaS deployments that are managed by a cloud management platform not owned by the client
  5. Hybrid applications and management: the existence of business functionality in production status, supported across a mix of hybrid platforms
  6. Cloud-native applications: business functionality built according to the principles of the API economy, microservices architectures and agile development methods
  7. Advanced analytics: the use of these techniques in mainstream business or IT functions
  8. Multiple cloud applications: the capability to freely move workloads across IT platforms
  9. Cognitive delivery: the design and implementation of cognitive delivery concepts

How mature are you?

On top of these nine dimensions, we’ve built a corresponding maturity scale with five levels.

Cloud Computing Chart

This model covers the full spectrum of enterprise ITaaS and cognitive delivery. It’s very powerful model for assessing and analyzing the current situation in a quantitative way. Aside from the traditional environments, it also covers the various cloud flavors, their combination (including analytics) and the use of cognitive in service delivery.

At the moment, few IT organizations apply such a holistic and rigid view in their cloud strategies. Instead, they have only a subset of these nine dimensions in scope. They also tend to handle them in isolated rather than integrated ways. And IT organizations are rather generous in assessing their own maturity, failing to make strict comparisons with what’s actually possible in each of the dimensions outlined above. Of course, such a restricted view might still help identify quick wins in certain areas, but it won’t be sufficient to leverage the full potential of cloud and address major challenges in a sustainable way.

In the next parts of this series, we’ll continue our journey with a look at how to analyze and assess maturity. Then, we’ll outline our recommendations, applying our model to several large clients from the financial services sector. And we’ll see some surprising results along the way.

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About The Author

Alexander Schmid

Executive Consultant and Solution Architect, Global Technology Services

Alexander Schmid is an Executive Consultant and Solution Architect with IBM. He successfully guides IBM’s most important clients on their journey to digitization, cloud and cognitive solutions. As an Enterprise IT Transformation Advisor Alex leads their transformation to the next level of Enterprise IT. Alexander brings over 27 years of experience in the areas of... Read more