Being part of a business-transformation program in your organization will be the best move of your career. After 13 years, Cloud is still growing at 30% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) as more than 90% of enterprises around the world rebalance their finite attention and resources away from slow-moving calcified legacy into being faster and more competitive with Cloud: will you be on the Cloud bus or under it? Cloud is no longer the province of startup pioneers: the enterprise settlers have stolen the best Cloud practices they discover, and you can learn these through modern cloud education. But how?
In this post we explain why Cloud is imperative for ITSM practitioners, how to look at Cloud through the prism of ITIL 4 and the Cloud Adoption Framework, and how to get started with foundation level cloud training.
Why is Cloud an imperative for ITSM practitioners?
It is nearly a decade since “The Cloud” was predicted as one of the four megatrends of the SMAC generation: social, mobile, analytics and Cloud. In each of those ten years, Cloud computing has delivered an extraordinary year-over-year compound annual growth of approximately 30%, making companies like Amazon and Microsoft the first trillion dollar companies.
Cloud computing has grown from something that two-person lean start-ups used from their laptops in coffee shops into just about every enterprise on the planet. Reaching the shores of the enterprise is only the start for Cloud, time and again, what often starts as a minor proof of concept by one team ends up as an organization-wide transformation. So those enterprises that have “been there and done it,” like Capital One, GE Oil and Gas, and Philips, are unanimous on the importance of people and culture to the success of cloud programs.
Now that Cloud is no longer the province of Cloud-native startup developers, the Cloud-immigrant enterprises, with their non-Cloud people, process and technology, need a wide range of people involved in their value stream to understand cloud computing. We are currently living through a period of pioneers to settlers (see article about pioneers, settlers, town planners), with “IP transferred as theft,” where IT Service Managers in the enterprise are “stealing” the success of start-up Cloud pioneers to transform the enterprise.
It is imperative today for ITSM practitioners to be Cloud-savvy and not consider it “Somebody Else’s Problem.” Individual ITSM practitioners that aren’t Cloud-savvy are likely to be considered “legacy,” left behind and be excluded from the more exciting and well-funded growth part of the business. Culture is what you do more than what is written on a slide deck: so, in this perfect storm in 2019 for ITSM and Cloud, what are you going to do?
There are three steps for ITSM practitioners to become Cloud-savvy:
- Understand how ITIL 4 fits nicely with modern Cloud services
- Learn from others, for example, the Cloud Adoption Framework and People perspective
- What to look for in Cloud training for IT Service Managers
ITIL 4 and the Cloud
The leading Cloud service providers hide traditional technology layers from you, leaving you to focus higher up the stack on your value stream. The idea is that you stop doing the undifferentiated heavy lifting (think data centers, physical services, all the things that don’t differentiate you from your competitors) and focus on what makes you unique like your online shop front.
This approach fits perfectly with IT Service Management because at last the thinking is aligned between IT and Service Management: ‘focus on customers and what we deliver will not be driven or constrained by technology vendors that don’t know our customers or understand our value stream.’ This is the exact experience that Amazon retail went through that drove them to build Amazon Web Services to free them from the constraints of vendors.
“The idea grew organically out of the company’s frustration with its ability to launch new projects and support customers.”
– Benjamin Black, co-authored the AWS business plan in 2003
Relieving the ITIL process burden
Having less process (especially those calcified processes that never change, invented yesterday and stuck on the office wall like a warning) is acknowledged as a good thing. A look through the thirty-six ITIL 4 practices wearing Cloud spectacles will reveal how much Cloud relieves the ITIL process burden.
It’s logical that as you unburden your organization of low-level technologies such as servers to a Cloud provider, then you are also unburdened of the processes and people that handled that undifferentiated technology. There are fewer change controls for you, more for the CSP. There are fewer configuration items to track, more for the CSP – the list goes on.
However, it turns out that in practice, there isn’t less to do. Cloud creates new things to do, new processes to learn, and new practices for people. An excellent place to find this in the AWS Cloud Adoption Framework.
AWS Cloud Adoption Framework
The runaway market leader of Cloud, Amazon Web Services (AWS), has done more than anyone to lift the traditional enterprise “IT” gaze up the stack away from the infrastructure and plumbing and up towards the value stream. This has led to the emergence of IT Service Management practitioners as being vital to Cloud transformation programs because they often have a unique cross-organization view of what the business does in terms of the value stream to serve customers.
Based on thousands of days of helping enterprises and writing their stories, common themes emerged that AWS captured as the Cloud Adoption Framework, which has six perspectives to help enterprises understand and managed cloud-driven change:
- Business perspective – Value Realization
- People perspective – Roles and Readiness
- Governance perspective – Prioritization and Control
- Platform perspective – Applications and Infrastructure
- Security perspective – Risk and Compliance
- Operations perspective – Manage and Scale
While all of these perspectives are interesting to the ITSM practitioner, it’s the people aspect that is crucial when thinking about the impact of Cloud on individuals. This perspective facilitates the discussion between individual contributors, management and Human Resources, to work out an education plan for example.
Cloud: The People Perspective – Roles and Readiness
The People Perspective helps Human Resources (HR) and personnel management prepare their teams for Cloud adoption by updating staff skills and organizational processes to include Cloud-based competencies. This perspective should also be read by individuals to help them own their own development, but here is a summary:
- Resource Management helps you understand and forecast new personnel needs for a Cloud-based model.
- Incentive Management helps you implement a compensation program that will attract and retain the personnel required to operate a Cloud-based IT model.
- Career Management helps you identify, acquire, and retain the skills needed for your cloud migration and ongoing operating model
- Training Management provides guidance on how to develop or acquire training for your employees so they can perform their roles in a Cloud environment
- Organizational Change Management helps you manage the impact of business, structural, and cultural changes caused by Cloud adoption
Training is one of the activities that makes a direct impact on individual contributions to cloud programs. Cloud programs are truly cross-disciplinary, and individuals who have more than one capability, for example, ITSM and Cloud, are more comfortable and contribute more.
What to look for in Cloud training
There’s never been a better time to learn about Cloud, now that it’s mainstream. Pioneers have learned a lot of the lessons and codified them into accessible lessons by the settlers. For ITSM practitioners, Cloud dovetails nicely into ITIL 4, as does DevOps, a common cloud practice, so now is the time to learn Cloud and apply it at work. Cloud is the new, the growth, where the investment is going. It’s where forward-looking, self-starter individuals, who are valued in an enterprise will be working. So how do you get started?
The range of Cloud information online is incredible, but it’s also problematic if you are just starting out. Cloud hasn’t stood still since it started in 2006 and some of the information out there is out-dated and just plain wrong. Ideally, you need a curated set of Cloud information, and I always recommend an accredited training course to give you a foundation. That foundation will help you navigate the online world of free information much better.
What you’re looking for in a well-curated foundation level cloud course for IT service managers are the following:
- The principles of cloud computing – concept, evolution, and architectures, drivers and limitations
- Implementing and managing cloud computing – building of a local cloud environment
- The principles of managing cloud services
- Using the cloud: user access, business processes, and service provider use
- Security and compliance: risks and mitigating measures
- Managing identity and privacy in the cloud, including GDPR legislation
- The business case for cloud computing and the evaluation of implementations
Without getting a well-curated foundation in Cloud, there will be gaps in individual knowledge that can lead to mistakes through “learning on the job.” It’s fine to learn on the job, but not if those learnings are basic cloud tenets. It’s better to know what you don’t know, and the key to that is foundational cloud training.
With the right Cloud training and self-investment, you can be a valued contributor to your enterprise Cloud transformation and see your career grow and job fulfillment increase. Enterprises are either thinking of, or are already working on, Cloud transformation right now. If you don’t get on board, or you’re in an enterprise that isn’t doing Cloud, then there could be a negative impact on your career.
The answer is to get a good foundation of Cloud knowledge via training and build on that by continuous learning and application. Eventually, you’ll look back and wish you’d taken that course earlier, which is better than looking back and rueing the fact you never took it at all and have been left behind.
ITSM Zone have an online Cloud Computing Foundation, accredited by Exin, that prepares you for the exam to obtain a globally recognized certification. Currently available with a free exam voucher, the course gives you the flexibility to study at a time and place to suit you. Find all the details on our website for the Cloud Computing Foundation and start today.
Photo credit: The feature image “confident boxer” has been done by Matheus Ferrero. The photo “woman at a subway station” has been taken by Eutah Mizushima. The picture “testing photoshop” was prepared by Marc-Olivier Jodoin. The photo “on my recent trip” was taken by Jamie Street. The image “a flight into the alps” has been done by Laurent Perren.
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