As we covered in our recently released white paper, Cloud Computing Opportunities for Mid-market Companies, cloud computing solutions allow for rapid deployment, potential cost savings, and the ability to test and run new business models. Yet in order to achieve these benefits for their customers, internal IT departments must adapt their people, processes and resources to the successful management of a cloud environment.
Wondering how to realize increased ROI from your cloud environment? Following are five tips to get you started:
1) Embrace a customer-service mindset
When managing a cloud, IT is not only responsible for individual technology components such as servers and networks; they are also tasked with providing an end-to-end service that meets the business objectives and SLAs of their customers. As a result, they must assume the role of front-line customer service providers. Working closely with a top cloud service provider (CSP), IT can create an integrated operational support model to address customers’ complex business requirements. Information detailing customer communication processes related to incident and problem management processes should also be included.
2) Adapt resources to meet customers’ changing needs
While some customers may rely on the cloud to manage their business-critical applications 24 x 7 x 365, others may be OK with having some negotiated downtime for maintenance. IT should conduct a thorough evaluation of its customer base to determine their individual availability needs. Armed with this information, they can redistribute resources and schedule downtime for maintenance with minimal disruption to their customers’ operations.
3) Determine manual and automated tasks
While many tasks can be automated in the cloud, there are some should be done manually. When deciding which processes can be automated, IT should consider the following criteria:
- Is the process tested, well-documented and 100% predictable? If so, it could be a candidate for automation.
- Does the process require specialized expertise in order to execute it? Keep in mind that when something goes wrong with an automated task, IT is likely to rely on a manual process to fix it. If a task requires specific expertise in order to fix unexpected problems, it may be more efficient to handle it manually.
4) Manage your software resources
In a traditional IT environment, software updates are typically limited to devices that are specific to a customer. In a cloud environment, customers can access shared IT resources that consist of several interdependent components. Updating one component can impact several others, so it is critical for IT to keep track of each software asset, its interdependencies and its update history. Since the majority of software products are purchased from third party vendors, it’s essential that IT maintain detailed, up-to-date documentation and license tracking to ensure regulatory compliance.
5) Synchronize performance and capacity with demand
In a cloud environment, customers expect access to resources on demand. Therefore, IT must work closely with their CSP to develop a cloud solution that can anticipate and adapt to customers changing demands. Monitoring customers’ actual usage over time can help predict availability requirements; however, IT also needs to proactively coordinate resources with customers who may have seasonal spikes in their usage.
Interested in learning more about how to gain the best possible ROI from your cloud environment? today to discuss your organization’s cloud requirements.