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Cloud and Change Management

Process driven Change Management can help with Cloud migration

Change management is important for Technology initiatives and since many Cloud services focus on rapid deployments, this area is sometimes forgotten. The move to Cloud has not only technology implications but also business implications. Business processes and operations can be encapsulated as services and delivered expeditiously. Change management for the Cloud should look into the strategic, technology and development changes and related impacts. If you need new tires for your car do you just go and buy the first set of tires you see or do you check specifications, compatibility, price etc to determine how this change will impact your vehicle. This may appear to be common sense but in the excitement of moving to the Cloud it is easy to get carried away and not think about all aspects of change management.

Cloud can enhance productivity by providing the infrastructure or application platforms and related tools to respond to customer needs quickly, giving organizations an edge over others that have not assessed such mechanisms, and the on-demand capabilities can lead to efficient utilization of resources. Cloud also facilitates mobility services since such services are available at a cheaper cost to the enterprise. Cloud technologists now are likely to have nightmares about managing services and their integration rather than servers and databases. There are vendors who offer frameworks, processes and tools to handle changes related to Cloud services and deployments. BPM (Business Process Management) based solutions can support process driven Change Management. In this situation the business models drive change and ensure traceability by linking business processes to changes in the requirements and analysis documentation. Structured approaches such as IT Service management with ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) may have to be refined for rapid and dynamic cloud deployments.

There are many key considerations as part of Change management:

Changes in the Organization
Cloud can change the existing roles and responsibilities

Changes in Business Operations
Cloud can change business processes and hence cause operational changes

Changes in Procurement
Cloud can change the way services are procured compared to traditional models

Changes in Technology
Cloud solutions can offer not only enable on demand scalable access but can enable advanced data collection and analytics

Changes in Development
Cloud service changes should be managed to ensure proper integration and deployment

I have led Change Management Boards over the years and this is a good forum to periodically review the impacts and change implications of new or existing Cloud services. A Change management strategy and plans should be developed in collaboration with the stakeholders. This strategy and plans should link with the organization's Technology strategy and plan. The requirements, analysis, assessments all tie into the overall changes and the as-is and target architectures should be reviewed by the Architecture teams so that these link with the Change Management strategy and plan. Cloud puts forth rapid deployment mechanisms and hence change management plans and tasks should synchronize with  this approach.  This synchronization is a key element to ensure that the Cloud rapid change aspects are addressed effectively as part of managing change.

Many organizations struggle with having silos of clouds without a coherent approach for Governance. If specific services have their own individual policies and procedures, this can lead to problems due to lack of centralized management. Without proper alignment with enterprise architecture and security, this can lead to spaghetti like conglomeration of Cloud services without proper attention to interoperability and service management. With Enterprise-level solutions that leverage hybrid services, the situation can quickly spin out of control. It is extremely important to have a strategy and vision in place to address important elements such as policy management, service management, interactions between applications and data, availability, performance and control related to services. The identification of Change drivers, impacts and related activities should be considered as an integral part of Cloud Change management.

(This has been extracted from and is reference to Ajay Budhraja's blog)

More Stories By Ajay Budhraja

Ajay Budhraja has over 23 years in Information Technology with experience in areas such as Executive leadership, management, strategic planning, enterprise architecture, system architecture, software engineering, training, methodologies, networks, and databases. He has provided Senior Executive leadership for nationwide and global programs and has implemented integrated Enterprise Information Technology solutions.

Ajay has a Masters in Engineering (Computer Science), and a Masters in Management and Bachelors in Engineering. He is a Project Management Professional certified by the PMI and is also CICM, CSM, ECM (AIIM) Master, SOA, RUP, SEI-CMMI, ITIL-F, Security + certified.

Ajay has led large-scale projects for big organizations and has extensive IT experience related to telecom, business, manufacturing, airlines, finance and government. He has delivered internet based technology solutions and strategies for e-business platforms, portals, mobile e-business, collaboration and content management. He has worked extensively in the areas of application development, infrastructure development, networks, security and has contributed significantly in the areas of Enterprise and Business Transformation, Strategic Planning, Change Management, Technology innovation, Performance management, Agile management and development, Service Oriented Architecture, Cloud.

Ajay has been leading organizations as Senior Executive, he is the Co-Chair for the Federal SOA COP and has served as President DOL-APAC, AEA-DC, Co-Chair Executive Forum Federal Executive Institute SES Program. As Adjunct Faculty, he has taught courses for several universities. He has received many awards, authored articles and presented papers at worldwide conferences.

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