As cloud computing continues to increase, more and more organizations are adopting a “cloud-first” approach to IT service delivery and embarking on becoming “cloud-enabled” enterprises. Cloud-first advocates believe that this approach will eventually become the default approach for enterprises of all types.

Transforming into a cloud-enabled enterprise, however, involves more than simply implementing cloud technology. It involves a fundamental shift in the way IT services are delivered and consumed. This blog, the first in a series on the cloud-enabled enterprise, covers the initial stage in the transformation process—developing a cloud-enabled enterprise blueprint.

In a cloud-enabled enterprise, IT service delivery is unified across multiple suppliers and delivery channels and access is based on a self-service model. Resources are procured on demand from external cloud service providers and released when no longer needed. Most significantly, a cloud-enabled organization exploits new, disruptive cloud technologies, delivering next-generation solutions. These solutions are customized using modular components and evolved through agile, iterative design.

The end result is a highly responsive, flexible, cost-efficient and evergreen IT environment that is closely aligned with business goals and seamlessly evolves as business needs change. Transforming into such a cloud-enabled enterprise, however, requires a clear, well-planned blueprint to succeed.

Fundamentally, this blueprint for a cloud-enabled enterprise aims to enable and accelerate an enterprise’s cloud adoption in a structured manner while efficiently managing risk and simultaneously maximizing value through the following:

  • Streamlining procurement and realizing enterprise-wide procurement economies
  • Engaging with cloud service providers through an IT storefront managed by internal and external brokers to create an efficient distribution hub, lower barriers to entry for new providers, better leverage evolving technology, and support the development of customized and/or integrated solutions—from multiple sourced cloud services—for easy consumption by the enterprise’s IT customers.

Core to the cloud-enabled enterprise is establishing this new intermediate—or brokerage—layer between external (and internal) cloud service providers and an enterprise’s IT service consumers. This layer ensures the enterprise, and specifically its IT department, maintains a level of strategic control and governance over a diverse and rapidly evolving outsourced multi-cloud and multi-vendor IT service environment.

Without a structured approach to cloud-based service acquisition and consumption, enterprise-wide cloud adoption can easily be slowed by issues such as integration complexities, new procurement processes and security concerns. Further, the acquisition of cloud services directly by business units in circumvention of the brokering enterprise IT department can lead to duplication and inefficiencies and will limit the savings that an enterprise could otherwise achieve through the cloud. The difference between taking an ad-hoc approach versus a coordinated brokerage approach to cloud adoption is that the former often results in a disjointed and fragmented service and data environment.

IT industry observers and analysts predict that within a decade up to 80 percent of IT services will be commoditized and cloud-sourced. Only enterprises that carefully and methodically plan for this transformation will succeed in cloud adoption. A clear vision and blueprint for the future and an understanding of the multitude of challenges and patterns obstructing cloud adoption is critical.

In addition to a blueprint, we also recommend the development of a set of clearly defined technical and organizational transformation strategies designed to implement the blueprint and realize its benefits while minimizing risk.  The next blog in this series will focus on transformation strategies. In the meantime, to learn more about the blueprint stage and its challenges, download our white paper, The Cloud-Enabled Enterprise: Developing a Blueprint and Addressing Key Challenges.

About this author

Ralf Schlenker

Ralf Schlenker

As a member of CGI’s Global Emerging Technology team, Ralf coordinates CGI strategy, messaging and capabilities for key areas such as intelligent automation, robotic process automation, advanced analytics, artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, high-performance computing, and hybrid cloud. With CGI for 20 years and based ...