An IOUG Member Perspective on 'Behind Every Cloud Transformation, There’s Well-Functioning IT'

    By: Michael Messina on Jan 12, 2018

    Enterprise IT responsibilities are growing the number of applications, and the amount of data being managed is continuing to grow. The release of the ‘2018 Information Technology Performance Excellence Survey: Behind Every Cloud Transformation, There’s Well-Functioning IT’ attempts to examine IT support groups from the IOUG, Quest and OAUG user communities. These communities are made up of application and infrastructure administrators including developers, database administrators, unix administrators, storage administrators and virtual environment administrators, making the survey have a variety of inputs from different IT disciplines and their managers.

    This survey appears to be an attempt at some level to gauge cloud impact to IT support groups and their support of the IT systems within their organization. It makes the case that cloud could free IT from legacy systems support constraints in order to free time and resources for new strategic initiatives.

    IT support groups within organizations support existing systems to keep the organization functioning, as well as strategic IT initiatives to improve the competitive advantage and/or overall operations for their organization. With IT being a key player in both running of current business systems to support daily operations as well as help the business with new systems or changes for existing systems to better the organization, IT groups can be spread pretty thin struggling for resources to accomplish all the organization would like them to.

    The survey indicates approximately 45% of IT resources are spent supporting existing systems or “systems of record/legacy“ indicating that near half of all IT resources supports existing systems. The survey also shows that 55% of IT support staff indicate that is the proper or correct amount of time and resource to spend for that support and without further information we can assume that would mirror and include IT budget spending as well.

    Supporting existing systems is a critical component of any IT group’s responsibility to the organization and will always be a main support requirement now and into the future. Why is the important? As most IT groups can attest, a portion of IT resources and spending will always have to be in the support of existing IT systems and can never be eliminated. The goal for any IT support group would be to create efficiency in support processes, procedures, hardware, software, etc. to reduce the amount of time, human resources and budget dollars that must be used to support the “systems of record/legacy” systems that are running the organization. Through the efficiencies we can free up time, human resources and budget dollars to be able to work towards further improvements, new systems and changes to existing systems, or as the survey calls them “systems of innovation” to improve the organization’s operations and competitive advantage.

    The survey makes a little leap that efficiency is obtained from utilizing the cloud that with these efficiencies by offload of typical infrastructure support tasks to a cloud provider therefore IT staff can have time and resources freed to work more toward the future improvement projects and initiatives, but makes no reference to IT budget impact.

    What it does not do is ask the questions that we would need to be answered to understand the success. These include: 

    • What was the clouds impact to the budget?

    • What resources were able to be freed up?

    • What resources do I need to free to work on the new initiatives?

    • Are they the resources I freed the same though the cloud the resources I need for my new initiatives?

    The survey does touch on the concerns IT support groups have over loss of control, as well as security as the main concerns around the cloud. Cloud providers have made great strides to address the security concerns, but lack of control is something that many cloud providers will have difficulty fulling addressing as organizations will never own the storage, servers, network and other supporting infrastructure removing flexibility and control from the IT support group this in some cases will create limitations, however as we all know most systems can easily fit within those limitations will little to no impact therefore only concern really is those systems that may not.

    The survey also touches on performance a critical component of systems that makes them usable for the organization and the monitoring of performance on site and in the cloud, has been a major challenge for IT. Monitoring and alerting notification to performance issues has been a long-time issue for IT, and while IT has made some significant progress with monitoring, we in IT still have a long way to go to get where we would like to be.

    This is pointed out as a hard measure for cloud success; did we achieve the performance results when we moved to the cloud? Most organizations have not been able to definitively say with the data to back it up, only able to conclude that they are functioning and if it is at a tolerable level for the organization from a performance perspective. This in of itself for me is not a show stopper. With proper planning and testing, we can make a reasonable test to say if cloud supports the system performance-wise at an acceptable level. Better tools for tracking and measurement would be great and are truly needed, but will continue to be a challenge for the foreseeable future for cloud and non-cloud alike.

    There is no question that organizations are either currently using the cloud or have plans to utilize the cloud in the future. The cloud certainly offers efficiencies and flexibility and frees up certain resources within IT when moving to the cloud. But does freeing these resources really give you the resources IT needs? Does it free the budget dollars needed to dedicate the resources to new things?

    The survey shows that only 25% have indicated it is either ‘easier’ or ‘much easier’, while a large portion indicates it has ‘not changed’ or ‘gotten more difficult’. This would indicate the rest were not in the cloud and therefore a larger portion in the cloud said things where the same or worse from a support perspective; indicating that cloud in some cases may not be freeing up time and resources. I know in most cases we can release some support burden, but important to realize that we cannot remove all of the legacy support burden from IT simply moving to the cloud.

    This leads me to believe that the move to the cloud may not truly be focused on freeing up resources to work on innovation systems, but more likely to make IT more efficient and agile from an infrastructure perspective as the survey was able to let me conclude that.

    The survey left this question open: Does moving to the cloud really reduce “legacy system” support and free up resources for “innovation systems”?

    In conclusion, the cloud offers many benefits to an organization and it is in the future for many organizations. By releasing the burdens of infrastructure support, some focus can be brought to the IT support groups, but the survey does not allow me to conclude that will equal more human resources and budget for the “innovation systems” is made as it seems to conclude.


    No matter where you are on your journey to the cloud, if you need practical, expert-led best practices, COLLABORATE 18 is the place to go. Learn more about COLLABOARE 18 and use our handy Agenda Builder to construct the perfect cloud-focused agenda to suit your needs.

     

     

    Behind Every Cloud Transformation, There’s Well-Functioning IT: My Perspective

     

    Enterprise IT responsibilities are growing the number of applications, and the amount of data being managed is continuing to grow. The release of the ‘2018 Information Technology

    Performance Excellence Survey: Behind Every Cloud Transformation, There’s Well-Functioning IT’ [CM1] attempts to examine IT support groups from the IOUG, Quest and OAUG user communities. These communities are made up of application and infrastructure administrators including developers, database administrators, unix administrators, storage administrators and virtual environment administrators, making the survey have a variety of inputs from different IT disciplines and their managers.

     

    This survey appears to be an attempt at some level to gauge cloud impact to IT support groups and their support of the IT systems within their organization. It makes the case that cloud could free IT from legacy systems support constraints in order to free time and resources for new strategic initiatives.   

     

    IT support groups within organizations support existing systems to keep the organization functioning, as well as strategic IT initiatives to improve the competitive advantage and/or overall operations for their organization. With IT being a key player in both running of current business systems to support daily operations as well as help the business with new systems or changes for existing systems to better the organization, IT groups can be spread pretty thin struggling for resources to accomplish all the organization would like them to.

     

    The survey indicates approximately 45% of IT resources are spent supporting existing systems or “systems of record/legacy“ indicating that near half of all IT resources supports existing systems. The survey also shows that 55% of IT support staff indicate that is the proper or correct amount of time and resource to spend for that support and without further information we can assume that would mirror and include IT budget spending as well.  

     

    Supporting existing systems is a critical component of any IT group’s responsibility to the organization and will always be a main support requirement now and into the future. Why is the important? As most IT groups can attest, a portion of IT resources and spending will always have to be in the support of existing IT systems and can never be eliminated. The goal for any IT support group would be to create efficiency in support processes, procedures, hardware, software, etc. to reduce the amount of time, human resources and budget dollars that must be used to support the “systems of record/legacy” systems that are running the organization. Through the efficiencies we can free up time, human resources and budget dollars to be able to work towards further improvements, new systems and changes to existing systems, or as the survey calls them “systems of innovation” to improve the organization’s operations and competitive advantage.  

     

    The survey makes a little leap that efficiency is obtained from utilizing the cloud that with these efficiencies by offload of typical infrastructure support tasks to a cloud provider therefore IT staff can have time and resources freed to work more toward the future improvement projects and initiatives, but makes no reference to IT budget impact.


    What it does not do is ask the questions that we would need to be answered to understand the success. These include:

     

    ·         What was the clouds impact to the budget?

    ·         What resources were able to be freed up?  

    ·         What resources do I need to free to work on the new initiatives?

    ·         Are they the resources I freed the same though the cloud the resources I need for my new initiatives?

     

     

    The survey does touch on the concerns IT support groups have over loss of control, as well as security as the main concerns around the cloud. Cloud providers have made great strides to address the security concerns, but lack of control is something that many cloud providers will have difficulty fulling addressing as organizations will never own the storage, servers, network and other supporting infrastructure removing flexibility and control from the IT support group this in some cases will create limitations, however as we all know most systems can easily fit within those limitations will little to no impact therefore only concern really is those systems that may not.

     

    The survey also touches on performance a critical component of systems that makes them usable for the organization and the monitoring of performance on site and in the cloud, has been a major challenge for IT. Monitoring and alerting notification to performance issues has been a long-time issue for IT, and while IT has made some significant progress with monitoring, we in IT still have a long way to go to get where we would like to be. 

     

    This is pointed out as a hard measure for cloud success; did we achieve the performance results when we moved to the cloud? Most organizations have not been able to definitively say with the data to back it up, only able to conclude that they are functioning and if it is at a tolerable level for the organization from a performance perspective. This in of itself for me is not a show stopper. With proper planning and testing, we can make a reasonable test to say if cloud supports the system performance-wise at an acceptable level. Better tools for tracking and measurement would be great and are truly needed, but will continue to be a challenge for the foreseeable future for cloud and non-cloud alike.

     

    There is no question that organizations are either currently using the cloud or have plans to utilize the

    cloud in the future. The cloud certainly offers efficiencies and flexibility and frees up certain resources within IT when moving to the cloud. But does freeing these resources really give you the resources IT needs? Does it free the budget dollars needed to dedicate the resources to new things?

     

    The survey shows that only 25% have indicated it is either ‘easier’ or ‘much easier’, while a large portion indicates it has ‘not changed’ or ‘gotten more difficult’. This would indicate the rest were not in the cloud and therefore a larger portion in the cloud said things where the same or worse from a support perspective; indicating that cloud in some cases may not be freeing up time and resources. I know in most cases we can release some support burden, but important to realize that we cannot remove all of the legacy support burden from IT simply moving to the cloud.  

     

    This leads me to believe that the move to the cloud may not truly be focused on freeing up resources to work on innovation systems, but more likely to make IT more efficient and agile from an infrastructure perspective as the survey was able to let me conclude that.

     

    The survey left this question open: Does moving to the cloud really reduce “legacy system” support and free up resources for “innovation systems”? 

     

    Read the survey and see what you think.

     

    In conclusion, the cloud offers many benefits to an organization and it is in the future for many organizations. By releasing the burdens of infrastructure support, some focus can be brought to the IT support groups, but the survey does not allow me to conclude that will equal more human resources and budget for the “innovation systems” is made as it seems to conclude.  

     

     

    No matter where you are on your journey to the cloud, if you need practical, expert-led best practices, COLLABORATE 18 is the place to go. Learn more about COLLABORATE 18 and use our handy Agenda Builder to construct the perfect cloud-focused agenda to suit your needs.

     


     [CM1]Where can we link?

    Released: January 12, 2018, 2:43 pm | Updated: January 21, 2018, 8:04 am
    Keywords: Department | cloud | cloud infrastructure


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