In the age of cloud server hosting, as it’s increasingly adopted by enterprises, chief information officers can struggle to maintain operational excellence. Here’s how to deliver consistency with OE as you adopt cloud.

  • Challenges of the Multiple-Vendor Cloud World
  • Knowing What You Mean by “Operational Excellence”
  • Partner with the Provider so You Can Achieve OE
  • Governance of the OE Plan
  • Protecting Your Partnerships
  • Choosing a Strong, Secure Cloud Hosting Partner

Challenges of the Multiple-Vendor Cloud World

In 2016, the business world is benefiting from an increasingly broad variety of cloud tools; and the extent to which they are being adopted continues to grow. For information chiefs in enterprises with sizable on-site app hosting infrastructures who are in the process of adopting cloud more aggressively, you are going to face some threats to the continuity of strong computing operations. In a multi-vendor hosting scenario (i.e., that of cloud), on-site ways to check systems, strategize for disaster recovery, process transactions, manage system modifications, and schedule tasks are a few examples of the many IT responsibilities that can become unexpectedly complicated. Leaders both in business and IT will often not think it’s necessary to pay as much attention to these elements in the expanding cloud climate. However, everything must be integrated in some manner, and with the multi-cloud or multi-vendor situation which is becoming so common, it’s challenging for the quality of operations of your IT services not to suffer.

It’s really not one change but many occurring in tandem. “Existing policies, procedures, tools and operational norms need to adjust as your shift into cloud server hosting becomes more of the norm,” notes Tim Porzio in CIOReview. []. “Your method to deliver application hosting services across operating environments will have to evolve quickly to ensure IT operational excellence.”

There are many different directions you can go when adopting cloud server hosting or related services like managed hosting or HIPAA-compliant hosting. A role of the IT leadership is to combine everything into a meaningfully organized, enterprise-grade OE plan so that excellence is achieved within all operational services. It’s actually a good opportunity to create differentiation from your competitors or at least make a serious advance in your own right: you get the chance to frame the nature of a strong cloud relationship, the expectations you have of providers. If that process doesn’t take place, you end up with hosting at other locations that is to various degrees of vetting, with your information and DR in the control of distant third parties.

Knowing What You Mean by “Operational Excellence”

If you are getting ready to make a big cloud transition, it’s very important to understand and delineate IT operational excellence. Develop a framework for cloud services. “Without a framework and service levels your stakeholders may expect all of the same services that they have on premise despite the fact that service accountabilities have dramatically shifted in the cloud model and each vendor partner brings with it a different challenge,” explains Porzio. The framework should include your description of a strong OE plan, along with the needs you have from any cloud service vendors. Within the plan, you should have various tiers, along with the services delivered. Then place all your apps within a tier based on how mission-critical they are. Apps don’t all need the same degree of service. When you have this framework and an idea of various service tiers, it becomes clear that you won’t necessarily offer the same services as are available on-site, even though accountability for service is no longer as easy to manage in the cloud world, with each provider coming with its own possible pitfalls.

In an environment that’s about unifying many different systems and sophisticated tasks, it’s essential that the OE plan uses standardized techniques. Then, the way issues get escalated, change is managed, operational processes are tracked, and governance of the plan is handled are all properly controlled. Figure out appropriate expectations from your providers, owners of software, and IT. Those expectations should be met before you make any moves.

Partner with the Provider so You Can Achieve OE

Set up a CIO meeting between your company and the cloud service, to go over the operational excellence needs established at your organization. You essentially are doing this so that you know they are in agreement. “Together you need to define mutual processes, bi-directional communication norms, contract terms, governance, and performance KPIs,” says Porzio.

Governance of the OE Plan

You want to have a governance process in place, requiring that both of you check in formally at certain intervals to track the quality of services. Give each vendor a score. Get together once a month or once per quarter. Go over the score and ask about possible improvements. Make sure problems will be solved.

Protecting your Partnerships

The perspectives of all stakeholders should be reflected in your OE plan. You could send them the results of your regularly scheduled governance review, or they could be actively involved in the governance process. The key performance indicators of IT value and strength of the system should be clear so that your business is able to immediately gauge the performance of the service.

Choosing a Strong, Secure Cloud Server Hosting Partner

Is your enterprise looking to form relationships with cloud providers that will allow you to continually achieve operational excellence? “After evaluating a range of managed hosting options to support our data operations,” says Orlando Magic VP of Information Technology Jason Coleman, “we chose Atlantic.Net because of their superior infrastructure and extensive technical knowledge.” Partner with Atlantic.Net for cloud servers delivered to meet enterprise-grade standards – check out our Ashburn, Virginia hosting services.