At the recent Third Annual As-a-Service Summit held in Sydney, Infront was both a sponsor and leader of one of the roundtable discussions.
Whilst the theme of the Summit was based on government jurisdictions pushing a ‘cloud first’ approach, it is the individual agencies who are now required to select what they want to transition and what they desire to keep in house. There was also an emphasis on vendors and their capability, cloud security considerations and the cost to transition agencies to the cloud. Agencies were encouraged to take a proactive approach to cloud computing to gain recognised benefits from the as-a-service model.
Bridging the skills gap to accelerate innovation
The Infront roundtable facilitated a discussion about ‘Bridging the Skills Gap to Accelerate Innovation’ for the IT-as-a-service model. The group agreed IT operating models needed to be more agile and flexible to match the speed of demand business users are making on limited IT resources. To meet with this demand, many agencies will need to make a significant shift towards a ‘services and consumption model’ that is frequently called a hybrid cloud solution.
The move to agile IT systems and processes requires skills in areas such as: open source technology, configuration management, cloud architecture, DevOps and networks. It is important to align these new skills to organisational business strategies and planned outcomes, to extract maximum benefit from the new IT-as-a-service model.
As a provider of hybrid cloud solutions, Infront has transitioned from being a traditional IT provider by creating new processes and roles. For example, Outcome Engineering is one way we align the new IT-as-a-service enablers to business outcomes. This has led to the creation of new roles such as a Customer Success Manager who operates on site to ensure critical technical and services investments are meeting expected business outcomes.
Challenges & opportunities
Panel participants discussed their concerns about how to build the skill sets for cloud computing and the IT-as-a-service model. Some of the participants had already moved some workloads to the cloud while others were thinking about moving to the cloud and identifying the skills needed for the transition. Others had found that moving to the cloud could be complex and they were struggling to identify and deal with the risks involved.
There was discussion about setting up consultative groups to help shift from siloed thinking to a more distributed approach across the organisation to proactively engage with business. One organisation had built a services strategy and converged their infrastructure using Architects and other skills to move to a hybrid cloud as-a-service model.
The impact on industry and the vendor community was discussed, and reference was made to the work of industry organisations like the Technology Services Industry Association (TSIA) and the Cloud Standards Customer Council (CSCC). Participants were encouraged to review the TSIA website and various videos they have published on Technology-as-a-Service. The TSIA material provides detail on the impact of cloud from both a customer and vendor perspective.
The CSCC publish many cloud papers in the form of practical guides, reference architectures, draft service agreements, security considerations and cloud technologies. The reference material from TSIA and CSCC provides a platform for the many issues that need to be considered when transitioning to cloud computing and IT-as-a-Service.
Infront has developed a unique hybrid cloud adoption framework based on many years of experience and research. Our framework allows customers to overcome common barriers to entering the hybrid cloud landscape, by delivering from the cloud the features and capabilities that they expect from their on-premise services. Infront’s hybrid cloud framework is founded on the tenets of governing, managing, securing, and protecting cloud services through consistent end to end delivery. This approach ensures we deliver effective outcomes for our customers who are taking a considered approach to transitioning to cloud services without compromising capability.
The next conference in this series, Overcoming the challenges of As-a-Service, takes place in Canberra in July 2017. Book soon to secure early bird rates.