Changing the World Through Innovation in Business and Technology

Ray DePena

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Your Roadmap to the Clouds – II

At a minimum, there should be a senior level executive or adviser focused on innovation

Innovation in Business and Technology on Ulitzer

In part I of this series, we began our journey towards next generation enterprise transformation.  In part II, we will discuss some of the initiatives to abstract the enterprise, and create a virtual enterprise presence in the cloud.

Last time, we spoke of undertaking initiatives, but what kind of initiatives?  Executive level, leadership initiatives, such as the ones below led by the CEO, Chief Innovation Officer, and CIO/CTO.

You don’t have a Chief Innovation Officer?

If Innovation is going to be the centerpiece of your strategy, and you agree that it’s the most valuable strategic weapon, why isn’t your company organized around it?  If your CEO is Steve Jobs, then by default you have a Chief Innovation Officer.

At a minimum, there should be a senior level executive or adviser focused on innovation, and responsible for the innovation agenda in your organization.  Now lets take a look at some potential initiatives for this business transformation agenda.

Enterprise and Infrastructure Transformation Initiatives

1. Abstract your enterprise and analyze it.  What business functions can be moved to the cloud today? What can we prepare to move at some point in the future?

2. Simplify – consolidate and aggregate: infrastructure, systems, servers, storage, applications, networks, communications, collaboration, and processes.

3. Standardize on systems, servers, development platforms, unified communications, and collaboration platforms.

4. Virtualize – strive towards a single management view of your enterprise infrastructure and provide virtual servers, storage, network connectivity, and so on.

1. Abstract your enterprise using a modeling approach like IBM’s Component Business Model (CBM), to analyze your enterprise. This single page map is useful in providing a logical, modularized view of your business components, in order to have a clear perspective on those business functions that make up your core competency, and how those components interrelate.

This will be important to decide what you outsource (or move to the cloud) vs. what you keep within your corporate walls, and how they will inter-operate in a hybrid cloud model.

2. Simplifying your environment should be an ongoing continuous improvement, and cost reduction initiative for any large enterprise, but it’s even more valuable when moving to a service provided by a 3rd party because it’ll cost you less in operational expenses.

The OPEX for hosting 100 servers at 10% utilization each, will simply be greater than for hosting 15 servers at 70% utilization rate.

Remember, one of the benefits of the cloud is the ability to burst for peak loads when you need it, and only be billed for the period of time you’re using that peak utilization.

3. Standardization simplifies the level of underlying complexity in these undertakings, which is largely understated.  It certainly seems simpler to run 10 servers than 100, though the underlying complexity has simply shifted from a physical to a virtual environment.  Virtual servers have to be managed as well.

If you have Xen hypervisor, and VMWare ESX, and Microsoft’s Hyper-V, and other virtualization software throughout your enterprise, because you have different departments and divisions running different physical servers, OSes, and application platforms, it will be difficult for your IT staff to manage the environment.

It’s true that many of these tools simply abstract the underlying physical hardware, but they are still different, and complex tools.  This goes back to item 2, continuously simplifying the environment.

4. Virtualization will provide you with deployment flexibility, and efficient resource utilization.  Additionally, it will be easier to move applications that have been virtualized (as more 3rd party vendors provide those types of services), than legacy applications that are not virtualized.  Even better, re-write applications for the cloud from the ground up if possible.

In part 3, we will cover Business and Technology Integration Transformation Initiatives encompassing business process management (BPM), services oriented architecture (SOA), and Information Technology Service Management (ITSM / ITIL) to support Next Generation Enterprise Transformation and Dynamic Innovation.

More Stories By Ray DePena

Ray DePena worked at IBM for over 12 years in various senior global roles in managed hosting sales, services sales, global marketing programs (business innovation), marketing management, partner management, and global business development.
His background includes software development, computer networking, systems engineering, and IT project management. He holds an MBA in Information Systems, Marketing, and International Business from New York University’s Stern School of Business, and a BBA in Computer Systems from the City University of New York at Baruch College.

Named one of the World's 30 Most Influential Cloud Computing Bloggers in 2009, Top 50 Bloggers on Cloud Computing in 2010, and Top 100 Bloggers on Cloud Computing in 2011, he is the Founder and Editor of Amazon.com Journal,Competitive Business Innovation Journal,and Salesforce.com Journal.

He currently serves as an Industry Advisor for the Higher Education Sector on a National Science Foundation Initiative on Computational Thinking. Born and raised in New York City, Mr. DePena now lives in northern California. He can be followed on:

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