‘How to’ cloud Sponsored by TELUS 1

A cloudfingr white paper
‘How to’ cloud
Sponsored by TELUS
Michael O’Neil
CEO, IT Market Dynamics
February 2013
cloudfingr: the definitive directory of Canadian cloud resources
cloudfingr: the definitive directory of Canadian cloud resources
‘How to’ cloud
As cloud becomes more established in the Canadian and global business landscapes, we
are seeing increasing focus on the practical aspects of cloud adoption – on ‘how to’
cloud. Despite the relative conservative use of cloud in Canada, we are able to see
patterns in how it is successfully positioned, what the key obstacles to implementation
are, and how organizations can overcome these obstacles to take advantage of the
agility and cost benefits of cloud-based solutions. Ensuring alignment between real
business need and the continuously-increasing options available through cloud is an
essential starting point, and integrating these offerings within business, technology and
management frameworks is critical to longer-term success. Obstacles are largely tied to
the paradigm change associated with cloud, to concerns about security and control, and
to the need to address issues with IT skills, measurement and career paths, with
management and user technology preferences, and with procurement guidelines. These
issues can (and will be) overcome by adjusting business processes and measurement to
align with cloud-specific attributes, creating an environment in which the “win” of cloud
is shared by stakeholders across the organization.
Research results
As cloud becomes more established in the Canadian and global
business landscapes, we are seeing two important changes in
the cloud discussion. One is that “cloud” is increasingly seen as
a term applied to a variety of different business/technology
strategies, rather than as a discrete entity. Cloud is not a
monolith – it is a shorthand description for a rich ecosystem of
web-dependent services addressing a wide range of specific
business requirements, as well as for the overall IT/business
architecture within which these services are managed and
delivered. The other important change in cloud is seen in the
nature of the discussion. While the dialogue around “what is
cloud?” continues to evolve, and the answers to “why should
we ‘cloud’?” become correspondingly more diverse and
compelling, the business community is moving beyond these
exploratory issues to focus on understanding how to move
forward. As the answers to “what is cloud?” and “why cloud?”
become better aligned with pressing business objectives, “how
to cloud?” has become the key question in the cloud debate.
 Synopsis
 Context
 What makes the cloud
adoption process
 The “12 Step Method”
to rolling out cloud
 Lessons learned: 10
Canadian cloud
success stories
 Observations
Sponsor perspective
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Because cloud is still at an early stage of implementation in most
organizations, there are few well-established best practices that
can be broadly applied. However, there is enough collective
experience with cloud to start defining how organizations can
position cloud to address common business requirements, what is
important to success, the constraints and obstacles to successful
cloud implementation, and how organizations can approach the
cloud to enhance their likelihood of success.
What makes the cloud adoption process unique?
In some ways, the process that leads a business to adopt cloud is
identical to that used to assess and embrace traditional IT
offerings. The adoption cycle itself includes the same stages: a
rational approach begins with strategic planning (what business
problems are we solving and what are we going to do about
them?) and operational planning (how are we going to do it?),
moves into recognition and assessment of obstacles to success,
and evaluation of the technologies that might provide a means of
addressing these problems, and then proceeds to the purchase,
implementation, and ongoing support/enhancement of the
Implementing cloud: key
steps to success
IT Market Dynamics asked Adi
Kabazo, manager for cloud
products and services at TELUS,
to share the best practices that
he has observed – both from
customers and from TELUS’s
own adoption of cloud. Here’s
what we learned…
ITMD: What benefits are your
customers typically focused on
– cost, agility, both? And what
evaluation period are they using
to see if they are meeting their
AK: The primarily benefit
customers are seeking, whether
they opt for a managed private
∆: With cloud, it is
possible to
recognize/ assess
problems while
∆: Public/
private cloud
∆: Point/
& Assessing
Searching &
Traditional infrastructure
& Committing
Adi Kabazo, manager for cloud
products and services, TELUS
Tracking and
Source: © Hartco Inc. (traditional); © IT Market Dynamics (cloud)
This model should not be copied or used without the express written consent of Hartco
As Figure 1 illustrates, the business discussion around cloud is no
different than it is for any technology option: successful adoption
starts with a definition of business objectives and the steps
needed to achieve those objectives, followed by an assessment of
infrastructure cloud, public
infrastructure cloud or SaaS is
increased flexibility – both
operational and financial. They
are aligning IT better with the
business so that the
organization can respond faster
to changes required (or
dictated) by customers, users
and the competition.
(continued on page 4)
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Relative Difficulty
Figure 1. IT Adoption cycle: traditional infrastructure and cloud
the actions needed to address capability gaps. At this juncture,
we see a difference between cloud deployment models. Private
cloud, which is a new self-service enabled delivery model built
(typically) on more or less traditional infrastructure, follows the
traditional adoption cycle. Public cloud – including IaaS, PaaS,
and SaaS – branches off, with reduced difficulty of solution
evaluation, due to the fact that the services themselves arrive
preconfigured: if you procure a public IaaS service, for example,
you obtain processing capability, but for the most part you don’t
need to implement the various aspects of that capability – for
example, security, backup, ability of staff to use the tools needed
to manage the infrastructure – that are bundled into the IaaS
Figure 2. Experience with SLA management
(continued from page 3)
An increasing number of
organizations understand that
while certain cost elements will
be reduced others will increase
but overall the ability of the
organization to adapt better
and faster to changes will
improve. For subscription based
services (infrastructure or
applications) shorter time
frames are sufficient to
evaluate gains; for solutions
that entail investment of capital
to deliver the solution (e.g. a
private infrastructure cloud) the
agility benefits can materialize
quickly but the financial
evaluation requires around 4
years which is a widely
acceptable standard life for IT
At the next stage in the process – the acquisition of the solution –
we see another branch in deployment approaches. Buyers
looking strictly for point capability can acquire cloud capability
much more easily than traditional infrastructure; with a credit
card, a user can gain immediate access to a server, a
development environment, or a complete application, without
having to go through the cost justification associated with a
AK: This depends on the type of
cloud. For applications the big
impact will be on change
management and user
experience so solid business
analysis, service desk and
training should be in place. For
infrastructure initiatives,
experienced staff with
virtualization and networking
skills are required. For PaaS
you’ll of course be looking for
developers proficient with agile
methodology, web services,
databases and web client
technologies to name a few.
ITMD: Are there characteristics
that you’ve noticed in your
most successful cloud
customers – in terms of their
objectives and/or their
(continued on page 5)
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ITMD: What skills are required
on staff, to take advantage of
There is an argument to be made that at a strategic level, cloud
deployment and ongoing support and monitoring will be more
complex than is shown in Figure 1, and when hybrid architectures
that commingle traditional and cloud infrastructure become
common, we may need to revisit our position on these activities.
To date, though, feedback from cloud adopters has been that
deployment is very straightforward, and that ongoing support –
provided by the supplier, rather than through internal resources
– is less onerous than with traditional infrastructure.
The net of this analysis is that migration to cloud does not alter
the initial stages in the technology adoption cycle. The issues that
presage IT acquisition – establishing strategic business priorities,
building an action plan to take action on the strategic objectives,
and understanding the gaps that exist between current and
required capability – are important to both traditional and cloudbased solutions; in fact, the “lessons learned” section in this
paper reflects the common perspective across multiple cloud
users that this kind of planning is extremely important to
successful cloud initiatives.
Where the ‘how’ of cloud differs from traditional IT is in the
scoping, acquisition, deployment, and support stages. Based on
our research data, ITMD believes that cloud solution acquisition
(continued from page 4)
AK: Yes – being focused in the
scope of the initiative such that
it is contained and manageable,
and realistic in terms of the
objectives both in terms of
business and financial benefits.
ITMD: Do you typically find both
IT and line of business
management involved in cloud
AK: Yes, we find business
management involved when we
work with organizations that
are advanced in their IT
maturity. The ultimate users
and sponsors of IT come from
the business lines and these
managers need to be on board
with the strategy, goals and
risks of any IT initiative. Making
those feasible through cloud
deployment models shouldn’t
change that.
ITMD: As a supplier, do you find
that offering cloud services gets
you closer to your clients’
business planning and
AK: Our consultants, architects
and pre-sales engineers are
increasingly involved with cloud
initiatives of our clients.
Certainly our customers are
more receptive to listening to
our advice rather than
prescribing an infrastructure
specification for a traditional
hosting solution – though in
reality it is in the interest of all
parties that the provider is
knowledgeable enough to craft
the right solution to meet the
functionality, availability,
performance and budgetary
requirements no matter the
deployment model – cloud,
traditional infrastructure or
hybrids of both.
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CAPEX expenditure. However, it is ITMD’s opinion that
acquisition of cloud services as a strategic platform may actually
prove to be more difficult than product procurement for many
businesses. As is shown in Figure 2, many IT and business
managers – especially in small business – lack experience with
evaluating and managing SLAs; this will necessitate that they add
new staff skills and/or work with suppliers who can help align
SLAs with business requirements. It’s worth noting that many of
these same organizations might currently find that provisioning
traditional infrastructure can also be a complex process: while
acquisition of specific physical products may be straightforward,
purchase of integrated infrastructure solutions requires extensive
work in the solution evaluation stage, and there can be
substantial complexity in provisioning the many components of
such solutions. The point made in the figure is that the nature of
the challenge is different with cloud, and that in turn may require
(as is noted above) new skills and/or relationships with suppliers
possessing these skills.
can actually be more involved than purchase of physical systems, due to a lack of experience in
evaluating cloud providers and their ability to deliver on SLAs. However, in each of the other three areas
(scoping, deployment and support), cloud reduces the impediments to applying technology to address
business requirements. Those who can navigate the ‘how’ will end up with the cost and agility benefits
that position cloud as the preferred architecture for organizations of all sizes, and in all industries. In the
next two sections, we explore feedback from experienced cloud suppliers and users to detail the keys to
cloud success.
An alternative view: from line to cycle
Pat Waid, president of Hartco, and the original author of the IT Adoption Cycle (Figure 1) – reported that
his evolved version of the figure is structured as a continuous cycle with an “optimization” stage as an
additional point in the process. Waid also believes that, depending on the situation, search and
evaluation may be more difficult that we have shown above, since there may be a need to engage
multiple service providers, and most of these suppliers will have a relatively small number of relevant
(e.g., similar industry, size, and application mix) reference accounts for a new buyer to assess. He adds,
“I see the main benefit of cloud materializing after implementation, as ongoing support/maintenance
and scaling (up or down) should be simpler” in the cloud.
Figure 3. Two views of cloud adoption
Linear model, traditional and cloud infrastructure
Feedback cycle of cloud adoption
Source: © Hartco Inc. (traditional); © IT Market Dynamics (cloud); NewPath Consulting (Feedback cycle)
This model should not be copied or used without the express written consent of Hartco
Alex Sirota, who serves as Peer Lead for ITMD’s cloud software research – also prefers a cyclical rather
than linear representation, and raised an additional point about how the cycle might vary for SMBs. In
Sirota’s opinion, while large enterprises have formal internal processes for strategic and operational
planning reviews, SMBs generally do not – and over time, the interaction that cloud suppliers can enable
within their user communities (and the wider discussion loops that cloud tends to spawn) may provide
additional business management benefit to SMB executives. He believes that in cloud, it is possible to
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obtain strategic and operational strategy input from the solution tracking process – resulting in the cycle
shown in the Figure 3.
The benefits shown in the cyclic version are not automatic – and indeed, it’s probable that relatively few
SMBs will obtain them until the process is more fully understood. However, this kind of model points to
the ways in which cloud can not only replace traditional approaches, but offer entirely new forms of
The “12 Step Method” to rolling out cloud
As part of the cloudfingr research initiative, ITMD asked supply-side firms from across the cloud
spectrum – suppliers of IaaS, PaaS, SaaS, cloud tools, and other cloud services – to provide their
perspectives on “the 3-5 most important steps to successful cloud adoption.” More than a dozen firms
responded, and their input formed the basis for the following list of steps:
1. Identify strategic needs; define success
2. Understand the costs and ability of traditional vs. cloud approaches to meeting your strategic
3. Identify the applications/workloads that are to be moved to the cloud; identify the best tools for
migration and cloud-based applications; compare this with current-state technologies
4. Understand how cloud will affect your infrastructure, your staff, and your customers – build a
cloud strategy
5. Define the steps needed for migration, and a governance process that can be applied to the
6. Rally support from executives and other stakeholders
7. Build or acquire the technical skills needed to support the migration and the solution
8. Evaluate suppliers
9. Build a comprehensive plan for user on-boarding
10. Roll out cloud in controlled stages
11. Execute quickly and according to plan
12. Leverage the full value of the new tools and services
A quick comparison of these steps with Figure 1 shows that at a high level, there is alignment between
the advice of the cloud supply community and the more general adoption cycle. Drilling deeper into the
feedback, though, we find that the unique attributes of cloud have an impact on how each of these
stages is managed. Specific observations captured in our research and the ITMD perspective on these
observations include:
Identify strategic needs; define success…highlight specifically where and how you can reduce
cost and [increase ability to] scale; understand that successful cloud adoption goes beyond cost
savings and infrastructure efficiencies to business transformation; define what success means to
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12 steps to successful cloud deployment
ITMD note: It’s interesting to see that suppliers from every part of the cloud ecosystem
(SaaS, IaaS/PaaS, cloud tools/infrastructure, and cloud services firms are all represented
here) highlight the need for front-end strategic planning. Clearly, this is a universal cloud
Research traditional vs. cloud solutions…compare a 3-5 year cost of the infrastructure, software
and staffing for each; illustrate the financial and operational benefits
o ITMD note: Again, we found voices from multiple points in the ecosystem stressing the
need for financial comparisons, to help position the business case for cloud-based
solutions. These comparisons may extend beyond traditional TCO metrics; TELUS’s
Kabazo noted that financial analysis of cloud might extend to include benefits like the
financial flexibility gained by avoiding up-front investment and the benefit associated
with use of funds not tied up in a capital acquisition. Kabazo also expanded on the
operational issues, citing the flexibility to use IT resources for innovation or increased
responsiveness to business needs as two considerations in comparing cloud to
traditional infrastructure.
Identify key business apps to move to the cloud and identify the best tools for migration;
understand current state and define goals
o ITMD note: This guidance spans three points in the Adoption Cycle outlined in Figure 1 –
it incorporates aspects of operational planning, gap analysis, and solution identification.
As many cloud offerings deliver capabilities that aren’t well understood, and which don’t
necessarily have direct analogues in the traditional IT infrastructure space, organizations
need to connect options with requirements and even corporate tactics, to best capture
the potential for cloud to address strategic objectives.
Build a cloud strategy that addresses your specific goals; understand how cloud will impact your
customers and staff; ensure that internet connectivity is not an issue for the users of the
o ITMD note: This step starts to focus in on the solution identification stage in the cycle.
The specific advice to understand the impact on customers and staff is echoed in the
feedback we obtained during case studies with cloud users (see next section), and the
internet connectivity observation is also consistent with “lessons learned” that have
been reported to ITMD.
Define each step that must be taken to move from your current infrastructure to your desired
cloud solution; establish a robust cloud governance system
Gain executive support for the initiative and stakeholder buy-in and commitment to giving the
new cloud based solution a reasonable opportunity to demonstrate its worth
o ITMD note: These two steps refer to actions that should be taken once your organization
has committed to moving ahead with a cloud-based (or at least, cloud-inclusive)
strategy. Executive support helps users to understand that the new approach is
important to the organization’s success, while “time to success” helps reduce the
potential for users to ignore new cloud systems in favour of existing tools – another
issue that was highlighted in our user case studies.
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Achieve the right skill set on staff
o ITMD note: In our opinion, the IT staff is one of the most significant potential obstacles
to a cloud strategy. Cloud represents change, which creates uncertainty with respect to
how a current staff member will fit within the new IT strategy. Most people understand
that cloud is coming at some point to nearly every organization and workload; by
providing IT training early in the process, management can help staff to understand
where they fit, and to develop new skills that are well aligned with emerging
Evaluate suppliers, ensure that they have the redundancy/security needed; address security and
management; compare providers to see whose services best complement your capabilities;
contact other users of cloud and on premise solutions [to understand experiences/lessons
learned]; vet cloud based software vendors…it's critical that a cloud adoption strategy take into
consideration the track record and stability of the vendor, and also potentially draft a mitigation
strategy in the event the vendor ceases business operations and stops supporting, or even
hosting their software
o ITMD note: Here again, we find voices from multiple points within the ecosystem
agreeing on a common cloud requirement: to evaluate suppliers according to the issues
and principles that are important to understanding cloud capabilities. It’s worth noting
that while this guidance aligns directly with the “evaluating solutions” step in the
Adoption Cycle, it may involve issues (security, redundancy, continuity) that are specific
to, or particularly important within, a cloud context. Security in particular has proven to
be an essential consideration in cloud; it is generally cited as the key obstacle to cloud
adoption. Organizations planning to adopt cloud will need to align with suppliers who
can help them build organizational trust in cloud by delivering security standards that
are equal to or greater than the security levels that the organization’s IT function can
deliver on its own.
Plan for/address user on-boarding. Engagement is important; it's critical that due time and
attention are given to learning the features and committing to regular use until the product is
integrated into the businesses workflow. This is especially true for cloud based solutions, since
most are billed monthly and do not require a long term contract. Implementation failure due to
an 'easy out' is therefore a more likely scenario, making stakeholder buy-in the most important
step to cloud adoption.
o ITMD note: In many contexts, “integration” of cloud services is more about integrating
them with business processes than with other technologies. The guidance presented
here reflects this need to connect user requirements with cloud system features.
Roll out the cloud in a controlled fashion – select a set of workloads (for IaaS) or test group of
users (for SaaS), make some investment and try it for three months before expanding the
service penetration in your company; start small – the scalability and elasticity of the cloud
provides the ability to start small and add and consume resources as demand grows; prioritize
and plan a phased migration to cloud services
Execute quickly and according to plan
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Leverage full value of new toolsets
o ITMD note: the advice reflected in these final two steps aligns directly with the
“implementing” stage in the Adoption Cycle – and with ITMD’s long-held belief that
incremental deployment is essential to successful introduction of new technologies. As
is shown in Figure 4, an approach that focuses strictly on technology risks becoming a
“field of dreams” exercise, where functionality is deployed without any real proof that
users are asking for (or will use) the system’s capabilities. Systems that are deployed
against multiple demands by multiple users run the opposite risk – that they will meet
requirements without delivering the levels of integration and control needed by viable
long-term solutions. The success path – articulated succinctly by TELUS as “crawl, walk,
run” – is one in which the technology is first deployed against a limited and well-defined
set of user needs, and scaled in stages to address a wider set of business requirements.
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Figure 4. The “success path” to new technology adoption
Lessons Learned: 10 Canadian cloud success stories
In parallel with the cloudfingr research, ITMD (and media firm IT in Canada) conducted case studies with
Canadian organizations that have adopted cloud.
 Consult with customers – gain clear understanding of what new systems can/should deliver
(Allocadia). The customers may be internal or external, or both – but in any event, starting with
business need helps avoid the “field of dreams” trap
 Map the processes being moved to the cloud in advance – don’t bank on ad-hoc adjustments
(Sunny Hill/Pine Cliff); understand how you will maintain, administer, and monitor the system
(Verafin). We heard repeatedly that the front end of the adoption cycle – the planning items – are
crucial to success.
 Plan for scale – ensure that the new architecture is capable of meeting current and future needs
(Postmedia); select vendors who will invest in the solution over time (University of Waterloo).
Both of these organizations implemented private cloud; this “lesson learned” highlights issues that
are of specific concern to private cloud initiatives.
 Connect your internal project management team with external experts (Postmedia) Both cloud’s
newness and its pace of change make it unlikely that an organization will have a full complement
of skills on staff; the suggestion here is to connect internal resources focused on business
outcomes with external subject experts, to both enhance prospects for immediate success and to
facilitate knowledge transfer in key areas.
 Select tools that fit with the current infrastructure and staff experience (University of Waterloo);
experiment with the cloud system – become familiar with it before integrating it with other
systems and user processes (Sunny Hill/Pine Cliff). Regardless of whether external experts are
engaged or the IT staff takes internal responsibility for system rollout, it’s important to build
familiarity/comfort with the system before rolling it out to end users.
 Take the time to explain the intent and value of the new solution to users before deployment
(Ingenuity); obtain early feedback to help shape the adoption and rollout process (Allocadia);
implement specific performance metrics to alleviate business concerns associated with platform
changes (Postmedia). This was some of the most interesting feedback from the cases. Users may
be discomfited by the new system; helping them to understand the reasons for the migration will
help them to understand why they should embrace it. Feedback helps to address rough patches
through the testing/implementation process; performance metrics help address the (likely)
objections that ‘the old way was better’ with fact-based comparisons of the previous state, new
system expectations, and the current state.
 Dedicate planning time to understanding how to get all employees to use cloud-based systems in
the same way (UniForge); invest in internal training programs to ensure adoption of new systems,
rather than allowing employees to default back to existing tools (Atlantic Interiors); be detailed
and specific in describing tasks managed through the cloud system – this will reduce time needed
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After reviewing these cases, ITMD extracted 10 “lessons learned” which provide readers of this paper
with guidance based on the real-world experiences of Canadian organizations. These lessons (with ITMD
observations added in italics) include:
for management or technical support if/when issues are escalated (Ingenuity). Current users
agree that time spent ramping up users is crucial to adoption of the new system.
 Don’t overwhelm employees with too many options – focus on most relevant system aspects,
allow for time to learn and absorb, cover additional features/functions in subsequent training
(RSI); document each stage needed to create and implement the solution (Verafin); stage the
rollout with clear milestones to help align expectations, progress and requirements (Allocadia);
build in stages, prioritizing specific systems for migration to the cloud (Postmedia). This guidance
echoes the “crawl, walk, run” advice from TELUS, and the key message in Figure 3.
 Migrate from virtualization to cloud through implementation of next-generation management
tools; automate routine IT tasks through the transition (University of Waterloo). Although this
advice comes from a private cloud user, it applies more broadly; it behooves users to take
advantage of the technology to automate both the transition to and the ongoing management of
the cloud environment.
 Have an internal “go to” person within the business unit who can train others (Sunny Hill/Pine
Cliff, Atlantic Interiors). This is good advice in the adoption of many new solution types, and it was
repeated in two of our case studies: establishing internal champions who can help colleagues to
understand and use the new technology is an important aspect of new technology adoption.
The migration to cloud is still in its early stages, but the path itself is beginning to sprout signposts
offering direction along the way. The “12 step method” provides a practical framework for a cloud
strategy, and the lessons learned from the Canadian case studies illustrate specific issues that IT and
business management will want to consider as they build plans for integrating cloud capabilities within
their business processes. Finally, the Adoption Cycle section of this paper raises two key points. The first
is that, while deployment of cloud differs in some important ways from implementation of traditional
infrastructure, there is an enduring need to link any IT decision to core strategic and operational
objectives. And the other, captured at the end of the section, is true of many important new
technologies, and of cloud as well: that while we can see how and why cloud is a better way of
delivering needed services than traditional approaches, we are likely to find that it also offers entirely
new (and difficult to predict) benefits to firms that invest in the technology, and use it to its full
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Concluding observations