Cloud-enabled enterprises take a “cloud-first” approach to IT service delivery, taking advantage of cloud capabilities offered by external suppliers instead of building them in house. However, purchasing many different types of cloud services from multiple suppliers in an ad-hoc fashion leads to a highly fragmented IT environment, which, in turn, will negate the many benefits of cloud computing.

In my previous blog on the cloud-enabled enterprise, I introduced the concept of and a blueprint for an enterprise-wide cloud service brokerage model. With this new business model, the enterprise’s IT department increasingly acts as an internal broker of IT services delivered from external suppliers, rather than as an internal provider of IT services. Such a model is fundamental to becoming a cloud-enabled enterprise.

Once a blueprint for such a model is developed, the next stage for building a cloud-enabled enterprise involves implementing the right transformational strategies. There are 10 transformation strategies CGI recommends for managing the complex transition to a cloud-enabled enterprise—five technology strategies and five organizational strategies.

Following are five technical capabilities that are fundamental to becoming a cloud-enabled enterprise:

  1. Cloud storefront: The ideal cloud storefront simplifies and standardizes cloud procurement processes and promotes the sharing and reuse of cloud services across the enterprise.
  2. Federated identity model: Large-scale cloud adoption requires a new security approach. A federated identity model provides integration at the identity level to enable security controls to be consistently enforced across cloud services.
  3. Unified, multi-channel access portal: This type of portal provides a single location for users to access brokered cloud services from anywhere, at any time and from a wide range of devices.
  4. Multi-CSP management platform: Cloud service providers (CSPs) use a variety of technology stacks. A management platform is needed to interface with all of these stacks to effectively manage vendor selection and workloads.
  5. Cloud application/data integration platform: This technology is relatively new, but will prove to be vital in providing control over the exchange of information and data sets, including the brokering of interfaces between cloud services (SaaS, PaaS and IaaS) and traditional on-site systems.

While these technical capabilities are crucial, the following organizational changes are equally critical:

  1. Appoint one or more cloud brokers to manage the use, performance and delivery of cloud services and negotiate supplier relationships.
  2. Transition enterprise and business unit IT departments from the role of IT service provider to IT service broker.
  3. Train the enterprise’s IT workforce to become cloud-literate, so that they can deliver innovative solutions and cost savings by continuously exploiting new cloud capabilities.
  4. Select and vet in advance a portfolio of trusted cloud services from multiple cloud service providers.
  5. Establish a hybrid IT delivery model where cloud-based and on-premise traditional IT environments co-exist

These transformation strategies should be used to structure and develop a prioritized transformation roadmap for how the enterprise’s IT department operates. This roadmap, in turn, should consist of a series of achievable and manageable technical and organizational transformation projects and change efforts, all providing their own ROI yet contributing towards the larger transformation and blueprint.

Learn more about these transformation strategies in CGI’s white paper, The Cloud-Enabled Enterprise: A Set of Transformation Strategies, or feel free to contact me to discuss further.

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 ...