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EA and Cloud Governance Keys to Bimodal IT By @Dana_Gardner | @CloudExpo #Cloud
A tale of two IT departments, or how cloud governance proves essential in the Bimodal IT era
By: Dana Gardner
Jul. 30, 2015 09:00 AM
Welcome to a special BriefingsDirect panel discussion in conjunction with The Open Group's conference on July 20-23, 2015 in Baltimore. Our panel of experts examines how cloud governance and enterprise architecture can prove essential in the Bimodal IT era, a period of increasingly fragmented IT.
Not only are IT organizations dealing with so-called shadow IT and myriad proof-of-concept affairs, there is now a strong rationale for fostering what Gartner calls Bimodal IT. There's a strong case to be made for exploiting the strengths of several different flavors of IT, except that -- at the same time -- businesses are asking IT in total to be faster, better, and cheaper.
The topic before us then is how to allow for the benefits of Bimodal IT -- or even multimodal IT -- but without IT fragmentation leading to fractured and even broken businesses.
Here to update us on the work of The Open Group Cloud Governance initiatives and working groups and to further explore the ways that companies can better manage and thrive with hybrid IT are our guests:
Here are some excerpts:
Gardner: Before we get into an update on The Open Group Cloud Governance initiatives, in many ways over the past decades IT has always been somewhat fragmented. Very few companies have been able to keep all their IT oars rowing in the same direction, if you will. But today things seem to be changing so rapidly that some degree of disparate IT methods are necessary. We might even think of old IT and new IT, and this may even be desirable.
But what are the trends that are driving this need for a multimodal IT? What's accelerating the need for different types of IT, and how can we think about retaining a common governance, and even a frameworks-driven enterprise architecture umbrella, over these IT elements?
Nadhan: Basically, the change that we're going through is really driven by the business. Business today has much more rapid access to the services that IT has traditionally provided. Business has a need to react to its own customers in a much more agile manner than they were traditionally used to.
We now have to react to demands where we're talking days and weeks instead of months and years. Businesses today have a choice. Business units are no longer dependent on the traditional IT to avail themselves of the services provided. Instead, they can go out and use the services that are available external to the enterprise.
To a great extent, the advent of social media has also resulted in direct customer feedback on the sentiment from the external customer that businesses need to react to. That is actually changing the timelines. It is requiring IT to be delivered at the pace of business. And the very definition of IT is undergoing a change, where we need to have the right paradigm, the right technology, and the right solution for the right business function and therefore the right application.
Since the choices have increased with the new style of IT, the manner in which you pair them up, the solutions with the problems, also has significantly changed. With more choices, come more such pairs on which solution is right for which problem. That's really what has caused the change that we're going through.
A change of this magnitude requires governance that goes across building up on the traditional governance that was always in play, requiring elements like cloud to have governance that is more specific to solutions that are in the cloud across the whole lifecycle of cloud solutions deployment.
Gardner: David, do you agree that this seems to be a natural evolution, based on business requirements, that we basically spin out different types of IT within the same organization to address some of these issues around agility? Or is this perhaps a bad thing, something that’s unnatural and should be avoided?
Janson: In many ways, this follows a repeating pattern we've seen with other kinds of transformations in business and IT. Not to diminish the specifics about what we're looking at today, but I think there are some repeating patterns here.
There are new disruptive events that compete with the status quo. Those things that have been optimized, proven, and settled into sort of a consistent groove can compete with each other. Excitement about the new value that can be produced by new approaches generates momentum, and so far this actually sounds like a healthy state of vitality.
However, one of the challenges is that the excitement potentially can lead to overlooking other important factors, and that’s where I think good governance practices can help.
For example, governance helps remind people about important durable principles that should be guiding their decisions, important considerations that we don’t want to forget or under-appreciate as we roll through stages of change and transformation.
At the same time, governance practices need to evolve so that it can adapt to new things that fit into the governance framework. What are those things and how do we govern those? So governance needs to evolve at the same time.
There is a pattern here with some specific things that are new today, but there is a repeating pattern as well, something we can learn from.
Gardner: Chris Harding, is there a built-in capability with cloud governance that anticipates some of these issues around different styles or flavors or even velocity of IT innovation that can then allow for that innovation and experimentation, but then keep it all under the same umbrella with a common management and visibility?
Harding: There are a number of forces at play here, and there are three separate trends that we've seen, or at least that I have observed, in discussions with members within The Open Group that relate to this.
The first is one that Nadhan mentioned, the possibility of outsourcing IT. I remember a member’s meeting a few years ago, when one of our members who worked for a company that was starting a cloud brokerage activity happened to mention that two major clients were going to do away with their IT departments completely and just go for cloud brokerage. You could see the jaws drop around the table, particularly with the representatives who were from company corporate IT departments.
Of course, cloud brokers haven’t taken over from corporate IT, but there has been that trend toward things moving out of the enterprise to bring in IT services from elsewhere.
That’s all very well to do that, but from a governance perspective, you may have an easy life if you outsource all of your IT to a broker somewhere, but if you fail to comply with regulations, the broker won’t go to jail; you will go to jail.
So you need to make sure that you retain control at the governance level over what is happening from the point of view of compliance. You probably also want to make sure that your architecture principles are followed and retain governance control to enable that to happen. That’s the first trend and the governance implication of it.
In response to that, a second trend that we see is that IT departments have reacted often by becoming quite like brokers themselves -- providing services, maybe providing hybrid cloud services or private cloud services within the enterprise, or maybe sourcing cloud services from outside. So that’s a way that IT has moved in the past and maybe still is moving.
The third trend that we're seeing in some cases is that multi-discipline teams within line of business divisions, including both business people and technical people, address the business problems. This is the way that some companies are addressing the need to be on top of the technology in order to innovate at a business level. That is an interesting and, I think, a very healthy development.
So maybe, yes, we are seeing a bimodal splitting in IT between the traditional IT and the more flexible and agile IT, but maybe you could say that that second part belongs really in the line of business departments -- rather than in the IT departments. That's at least how I see it.
Nadhan: I'd like to build on a point that David made earlier about repeating patterns. I can relate to that very well within The Open Group, speaking about the Cloud Governance Project. Truth be told, as we continue to evolve the content in cloud governance, some of the seeding content actually came from the SOA Governance Project that The Open Group worked on a few years back. So the point David made about the repeating patterns resonates very well with that particular case in mind.
Gardner: So we've been through this before. When there is change and disruption, sometimes it’s required for a new version of methodologies and best practices to emerge, perhaps even associated with specific technologies. Then, over time, we see that folded back in to IT in general, or maybe it’s pushed back out into the business, as Chris alluded to.
My question, though, is how we make sure that these don’t become disruptive and negative influences over time. Maybe governance and enterprise architecture principles can prevent that. So is there something about the cloud governance, which I think really anticipates a hybrid model, particularly a cloud hybrid model, that would be germane and appropriate for a hybrid IT environment?
David Janson, is there a cloud governance benefit in managing hybrid IT?
Janson: There most definitely is. I tend to think that hybrid IT is probably where we're headed. I don’t think this is avoidable. My editorial comment upon that is that’s an unavoidable direction we're going in. Part of the reason I say that is I think there's a repeating pattern here of new approaches, new ways of doing things, coming into the picture.
And then some balancing acts goes on, where people look at more traditional ways versus the new approaches people are talking about, and eventually they look at the strengths and weaknesses of both.
There's going to be some disruption, but that’s not necessarily bad. That’s how we drive change and transformation. What we're really talking about is making sure the amount of disruption is not so counterproductive that it actually moves things backward instead of forward.
I don’t mind a little bit of disruption. The governance processes that we're talking about, good governance practices, have an overall life cycle that things move through. If there is a way to apply governance, as you work through that life cycle, at each point, you're looking at the particular decision points and actions that are going to happen, and make sure that those decisions and actions are well-informed.
We sometimes say that governance helps us do the right things right. So governance helps people know what the right things are, and then the right way to do those things.
Also, we can measure how well people are actually adapting to those “right things” to do. What’s “right” can vary over time, because we have disruptive change. Things like we are talking about with Bimodal IT is one example.
Within a narrower time frame in the process lifecycle, there are points that evolve across that time frame that have particular decisions and actions. Governance makes sure that people are well informed as they're rolling through that about important things they shouldn’t forget. It’s very easy to forget key things and optimize for only one factor, and governance helps people remember that.
Also, just check to see whether we're getting the benefits that people expected out of it. Coming back around and looking afterward to see if we accomplish what we thought we would or did we get off in the wrong direction. So it’s a bit like a steering mechanism or a feedback mechanism, in it that helps keep the car on the road, rather than going off in the soft shoulder. Did we overlook something important? Governance is key to making this all successful.
Gardner: Let’s return to The Open Group’s upcoming conference on July 20 in Baltimore and also learn a bit more about what the Cloud Governance Project has been up to. I think that will help us better understand how cloud governance relates to these hybrid IT issues that we've been discussing.
Nadhan, you are the co-chairman of the Cloud Governance Project. Tell us about what to expect in Baltimore with the concepts of Boundaryless Information Flow, and then also perhaps an update on what the Cloud Governance Project has been up to.
Nadhan: When the Cloud Governance Project started, the first question we challenged ourselves with was, what is it and why do we need it, especially given that SOA governance, architecture governance, IT governance, enterprise governance, in general are all out there with frameworks. We actually detailed out the landscape with different standards and then identified the niche or the domain that cloud governance addresses.
After that, we went through and identified the top five principles that matter for cloud governance to be done right. Some of the obvious ones being that cloud is a business decision, and the governance exercise should keep in mind whether it is the right business decision to go to the cloud rather than just jumping on the bandwagon. Those are just some examples of the foundational principles that drive how cloud governance must be established and exercised.
Subsequent to that, we have a lifecycle for cloud governance defined and then we have gone through the process of detailing it out by identifying and decoupling the governance process and the process that is actually governed.
So there is this concept of process pairs that we have going, where we've identified key processes, key process pairs, whether it be the planning, the architecture, reusing cloud service, subscribing to it, unsubscribing, retiring, and so on. These are some of the defining milestones in the life cycle.
We've actually put together a template for identifying and detailing these process pairs, and the template has an outline of the process that is being governed, the key phases that the governance goes through, the desirable business outcomes that we would expect because of the cloud governance, as well as the associated metrics and the key roles.
The Cloud Governance Framework is actually detailing each one. Where we are right now is looking at a real-life solution. The hypothetical could be an actual business scenario, but the idea is to help the reader digest the concepts outlined in the context of a scenario where such governance is exercised. That’s where we are on the Cloud Governance Project.
Let me take the opportunity to invite everyone to be part of the project to continue it by subscribing to the right mailing list for cloud governance within The Open Group.
Gardner: Just for the benefit of our readers and listeners who might not be that familiar with The Open Group, perhaps you could give us a very quick overview -- its mission, its charter, what we could expect at the Baltimore conference, and why people should get involved, either directly by attending, or following it on social media or the other avenues that The Open Group provides on its website?
Harding: The Open Group is a vendor-neutral consortium whose vision is Boundaryless Information Flow. That is to say the idea that information should be available to people within an enterprise, or indeed within an ecosystem of enterprises, as and when needed, not locked away into silos.
We hold main conferences, quarterly conferences, four times a year and also regional conferences in various parts of the world in between those, and we discuss a variety of topics.
In fact, the main topics for the conference that we will be holding in July in Baltimore are enterprise architecture and risk and security. Architecture and security are two of the key things for which The Open Group is known, Enterprise architecture, particularly with its TOGAF Framework, is perhaps what The Open Group is best known for.
We've been active in a number of other areas, and risk and security is one. We also have started a new vertical activity on healthcare, and there will be a track on that at the Baltimore conference.
There will be tracks on other topics too, including four sessions on Open Platform 3.0. Open Platform 3.0 is The Open Group initiative to address how enterprises can gain value from new technologies, including cloud computing, social computing, mobile computing, big data analysis, and the Internet of Things.
We'll have a number of presentations related to that. These will include, in fact, a perspective on cloud governance, although that will not necessarily reflect what is happening in the Cloud Governance Project. Until an Open Group standard is published, there is no official Open Group position on the topic, and members will present their views at conferences. So we're including a presentation on that.
There is also a presentation on another interesting governance topic, which is on Information Lifecycle Governance. We have a panel session on the business context for Open Platform 3.0 and a number of other presentations on particular topics, for example, relating to the new technologies that Open Platform 3.0 will help enterprises to use.
There's always a lot going on at Open Group conferences, and that’s a brief flavor of what will happen at this one.
Gardner: Thank you. And I'd just add that there is more available at The Open Group website, opengroup.org.
Going to one thing you mentioned about a standard and publishing that standard, is there a roadmap that we could look to in order to anticipate the next steps or milestones in the Cloud Governance Project? When would such a standard emerge and when might we expect it?
Nadhan: As I said earlier, the next step is to identify the business scenario and apply it. I'm expecting, with the right level of participation, that it will take another quarter, after which it would go through the internal review with The Open Group and the company reviews for the publication of the standard. Assuming we have that in another quarter, Chris, could you please weigh in on what it usually takes, on average, for those reviews before it gets published.
Harding: You could add on another quarter. It shouldn’t actually take that long, but we do have a thorough review process. All members of The Open Group are invited to participate. The document is posted for comment for, I would think, four weeks, after which we review the comments and decide what actually needs to be taken.
Certainly, it could take only two months to complete the overall publication of the standard from the draft being completed, but it’s safer to say about a quarter.
Gardner: So a real important working document could be available in the second half of 2015. Let’s now go back to why a cloud governance document and approach is important when we consider the implications of Bimodal or multimodal IT.
One of things that Gartner says is that Bimodal IT projects require new project management styles. They didn’t say project management products. They didn’t say, downloads or services from a cloud provider. We're talking about styles.
So it seems to me that, in order to prevent the good aspects of Bimodal IT to be overridden by negative impacts of chaos and the lack of coordination that we're talking about, not about a product or a download, we're talking about something that a working group and a standards approach like the Cloud Governance Project can accommodate.
David, why is it that you can’t buy this in a box or download it as a product? What is it that we need to look at in terms of governance across Bimodal IT and why is that appropriate for a style? Maybe the IT people need to think differently about accomplishing this through technology alone?
Janson: When I think of anything like a tool or a piece of software, the first question I tend to have is what is that helping me do, because the tool itself generally is not the be-all and end-all of this. What process is this going to help me carry out?
So, before I would think about tools, I want to step back and think about what are the changes to project-related processes that new approaches require. Then secondly, think about how can tools help me speed up, automate, or make those a little bit more reliable?
It’s an easy thing to think about a tool that may have some process-related aspects embedded in it as sort of some kind of a magic wand that's going to automatically make everything work well, but it’s the processes that the tool could enable that are really the important decision. Then, the tools simply help to carry that out more effectively, more reliably, and more consistently.
We've always seen an evolution about the processes we use in developing solutions, as well as tools. Technology requires tools to adapt. As to the processes we use, as they get more agile, we want to be more incremental, and see rapid turnarounds in how we're developing things. Tools need to evolve with that.
But I'd really start out from a governance standpoint, thinking about challenging the idea that if we're going to make a change, how do we know that it's really an appropriate one and asking some questions about how we differentiate this change from just reinventing the wheel. Is this an innovation that really makes a difference and isn't just change for the sake of change?
Governance helps people challenge their thinking and make sure that it’s actually a worthwhile step to take to make those adaptations in project-related processes.
Once you've settled on some decisions about evolving those processes, then we'll start looking for tools that help you automate, accelerate, and make consistent and more reliable what those processes are.
I tend to start with the process and think of the technology second, rather than the other way around. Where governance can help to remind people of principles we want to think about. Are you putting the cart before the horse? It helps people challenge their thinking a little bit to be sure they're really going in the right direction.
Gardner: Of course, a lot of what you just mentioned pertains to enterprise architecture generally as well.
Nadhan, when we think about Bimodal or multimodal IT, this to me is going to be very variable from company to company, given their legacy, given their existing style, the rate of adoption of cloud or other software as a service (SaaS), agile, or DevOps types of methods. So this isn’t something that’s going to be a cookie-cutter. It really needs to be looked at company by company and timeline by timeline.
Is this a vehicle for professional services, for management consulting more than IT and product? What is n the relationship between cloud governance, Bimodal IT, and professional services?
Nadhan: It’s a great question Dana. Let me characterize Bimodal IT slightly differently, before answering the question. Another way to look at Bimodal IT, where we are today, is delineating systems of record and systems of engagement.
In traditional IT, typically, we're looking at the systems of record, and systems of engagement with the social media and so on are in the live interaction. Those define the continuously evolving, growing-by-the-second systems of engagement, which results in the need for big data, security, and definitely the cloud and so on.
The coexistence of both of these paradigms requires the right move to the cloud for the right reason. So even though they are the systems of record, some, if not most, do need to get transformed to the cloud, but that doesn’t mean all systems of engagement eventually get transformed to the cloud.
There are good reasons why you may actually want to leave certain systems of engagement the way they are. The art really is in combining the historical data that the systems of record have with the continual influx of data that we get through the live channels of social media, and then, using the right level of predictive analytics to get information.
I said a lot in there just to characterize the Bimodal IT slightly differently, making the point that what really is at play, Dana, is a new style of thinking. It's a new style of addressing the problems that have been around for a while.
But a new way to address the same problems, new solutions, a new way of coming up with the solution models would address the business problems at hand. That requires an external perspective. That requires service providers, consulting professionals, who have worked with multiple customers, perhaps other customers in the same industry, and other industries with a healthy dose of innovation.
That's where this is a new opportunity for professional services to work with the CxOs, the enterprise architects, the CIOs to exercise the right business decision with the rights level of governance.
Because of the challenges with the coexistence of both systems of record and systems of engagement and harvesting the right information to make the right business decision, there is a significant opportunity for consulting services to be provided to enterprises today.
Gardner: Before we close off I wanted to just drill down on one thing, Nadhan, that you brought up, which is that ability to measure and know and then analyze and compare.
One of the things that we've seen with IT developing over the past several years as well is that the big data capabilities have been applied to all the information coming out of IT systems so that we can develop a steady state and understand those systems of record, how they are performing, and compare and contrast in ways that we couldn’t have before.
So on our last topic for today, David Janson, how important is it for that measuring capability in a governance context, and for organizations that want to pursue Bimodal IT, but keep it governed and keep it from spinning out of control? What should they be thinking about putting in place, the proper big data and analytics and measurement and visibility apparatus and capabilities?
Janson: That’s a really good question. One aspect of this is that, when I talk with people about the ideas around governance, it's not unusual that the first idea that people have about what governance is is about the compliance or the policing aspect that governance can play. That sounds like that’s interference, sand in the gears, but it really should be the other way around.
A governance framework should actually make it very clear how people should be doing things, what’s expected as the result at the end, and how things are checked and measured across time at early stages and later stages, so that people are very clear about how things are carried out and what they are expected to do. So, if someone does use a governance-compliance process to see if things are working right, there is no surprise, there is no slowdown. They actually know how to quickly move through that.
Good governance has communicated that well enough, so that people should actually move faster rather than slower. In other words, there should be no surprises.
Measuring things is very important, because if you haven’t established the objectives that you're after and some metrics to help you determine whether you're meeting those, then it’s kind of an empty suit, so to speak, with governance. You express some ideas that you want to achieve, but you have no way of knowing or answering the question of how we know if this is doing what we want to do. Metrics are very important around this.
We capture metrics within processes. Then, for the end result, is it actually producing the effects people want? That’s pretty important.
One of the things that we have built into the Cloud Governance Framework is some idea about what are the outcomes and the metrics that each of these process pairs should have in mind. It helps to answer the question, how do we know? How do we know if something is doing what we expect? That’s very, very essential.
Gardner: I am afraid we'll have to leave it there. We've been examining the role of cloud governance and enterprise architecture and how they work together in the era of increasingly fragmented IT. And we've seen how The Open Group Cloud Governance Initiatives and Working Groups can help allow for the benefits of Bimodal IT, but without necessarily IT fragmentation leading to a fractured or broken business process around technology and innovation.
This special BriefingsDirect thought leadership panel discussion comes to you in conjunction with The Open Group’s upcoming conference on July 20, 2015 in Baltimore. And it’s not too late to register on The Open Group’s website or to follow the proceedings online and via social media such as Twitter and LinkedIn.
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