Basis for Strategic Cloud Movement: Well-defined Architecture and BPM

Prasanth Puliakottu, CIO, Sterlite Technologies

Sterlite Technologies Limited (BSE: 532374), headquartered in Pune, is a manufacturer of optical fibers, telecommunication cables and power transmission conductors, and exports optical fiber to overseas markets in China, Europe and South East Asia.

Value of being in Cloud is tremendous and in some or other form, many of us are already using it, for various technology and solutions at work as well as at home. Initially Cloud was looked at as a solution that gives cost and/or speed in adoption, however it is much more than that. For Information Technology (IT), Cloud is a strategy and simply a better way of outsourcing Business processes efficiently, by reducing costs and enhancing agility – the two biggest challenges which most IT leaders face!

It is fact that the businesses are now less focused on IT strategy or tools used to achieve business objectives. Businesses see these as prerogative of IT function and continue to believe that IT is taking every opportunity to leverage technology to achieve operational objectives.

Indeed, gaining real cost savings from the cloud is about more than simply moving from fixed costs to operating costs; the greatest cost savings and important transformational business benefits will come from the long-term outcome. These normally include among others more efficient processes, more flexible operating models and faster turn over on ROI/Project realizations.

Whether to go for a Cloud or tradition model has to be a well thought through decision. In the decision making process fundamental step is to define how the IT landscape and enterprise architecture need to be. Piece-meal Cloud adoption instead of a proper Enterprise Architecture, will actually not give any long term result rather it will kill the short cost based decision. A well-defined Architecture, a well-planned Business Process management is base for long term strategic Cloud movement.

Today, there is a limitation on business processes that are embodied in Cloud services, as a result of amount of customization that organizations can drive while balancing business objectives. This is forcing the business to prioritize and think hard on how to effectively adapt these business processes to align to the cloud service. For a successful Cloud Strategy, a process driven company with good IT enterprise architecture thought is a prerequisite. First challenge is to align all concerned stakeholders, on long term Cloud model.

Thus business and IT strategic issues have to be addressed first. Subsequently there is a long list of technology related challenges and these are as follows:
• Implementation/transition/integration capability
• Costs specially to Integration with existing architecture,
• Data loss and privacy risks ,
• Loss of control , Lack of visibility into future demand,
• Lack of standards between cloud providers ( especially if you have multiple cloud models/vendors) , Cloud vendor locking, General security risks ,
• Risk of intellectual property theft , Legal and regulatory compliance
• Transparency of operational controls and data etc.

As CIOs, we build internal organization-wide integration capability to meet major technology challenges like Implementation/transition/integration capability and costs especially to Integration with existing architecture. It will be a key success factor for CIOs and their organizations going forward.
Now withstanding all these challenges, one thing is absolutely clear that IT Cloud strategy plays a major role in fulfilling business demands of smooth running of Operations, Business Process Management, Collaboration and Innovation.