Service Excellence

Cloud Operating Model Transformation

By Choong Keng Leong March 10, 2014

In my previous blogs I have discussed setting up a Self Service Portal and what a Service Catalog and Chargeback model look like. Let’s now look at the implementation of an IT operating model to support the Cloud way of delivering IT services.

Both EMC and VMware have published articles on transforming IT organizations, processes and skills in preparation to deliver IT as a Service. Both articles are good references for the topic we are discussing here:

As more organizations acknowledge and accept that IT needs to transform its operating model to deliver cloud-based IT services, there is now a revived interest in applying ITIL/ IT service management concepts and practices in the new Cloud operating model. For example, Service Catalog, Request Fulfillment, Chargeback and Demand Management are some ITIL processes that are relevant to delivering and managing cloud services.   Leveraging ITIL or IT service management framework helps to provide clear definitions of the new operating model roles, responsibilities, accountabilities, related processes, skills and competencies.

For many organizations, Cloud Computing and its underlying infrastructure and technologies are new in the process of being tested and evaluated. As a result, one of the first steps in transforming the IT operating model is to establish a Cloud Center of Excellence (COE) to provide leadership in defining and deploying the cloud strategy, design, technical and operational standards, best practices and training.

The Cloud COE team transitions the newly built cloud infrastructure and developed operating standards and best practices to the Cloud Operations team to run and operate.  The Cloud Operations team is responsible for the daily operations and support of the cloud infrastructure to ensure timely and reliable delivery and fulfillment of IT services.

Very often, the COE team serves as an “interim” entity that draws resources and domain experts from various teams such as network, information security, storage, and systems. Initial involvement of the COE team members is typically high when the new cloud infrastructure is being built out and processes are being defined.  Once the Cloud Operations team takes over and ramps up their activities, the COE team starts to taper down their activities and only reconvene when an enhancement, new technology or service is being planned.

To provide supervisory oversight and governance, the Cloud Governance team implements the necessary processes, policies, controls and enabling technologies to ensure the optimization of cloud resources; prioritization of investments; all while maximizing the realization of business, IT and operational benefits from Cloud. Cloud Governance encompasses the Cloud COE and Cloud Operations; providing a governing framework for managing the entire lifecycle of planning, architecture, acquisition, deployment, operation, management and retirement of the cloud infrastructure and services.

Figure 1 below shows a possible way of implementing the roles within the Cloud COE, Cloud Operations and Cloud Governance Teams:

Figure 1 Cloud Operating Model

Figure 1 Cloud Operating Model

It’s possible that the Cloud environment can consist of public cloud service providers, a 3rd party managed off-premise cloud, a 3rd party managed on-premise cloud or self managed cloud.  You can use Figure 1 to assign and map the roles to these organizations; thus, allowing an organization to plan for the necessary processes, controls, skills, and resources required to support the operating model. Figure 2 shows an example of the processes and interactions between the roles.

Figure 2 Processes and Interactions Within the Cloud Operating Model

Figure 2 Processes and Interactions Within the Cloud Operating Model

Once an operating model is defined when mapping out roles of an organization and deploying the processes, infrastructure and tools, the next thing to do is assimilate people to the new operating model by providing them communication and training on the new services, processes and technology.  As in all transformational projects, management of change is key to making or breaking it.


About Choong Keng Leong

Keng Leong has spent over 18 years dealing with large IT infrastructure projects in banks, government agencies, large telcos, and other organizations. He recognized the importance of IT as a Service early on, and has successfully helped many organizations move down that path.

Keng Leong has many professional certifications, including EMC Cloud Architect Expert (EMCCAe), Data Science Associate (EMCDSA) and ITIL v3 Expert, but his most important certification remains his sincere passion for IT as a Service and his strong belief in the future of IT being very cloud-centric.

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One thought on “Cloud Operating Model Transformation

  1. Really helpful blog Choong.Sincere thanks for this. Do we have any industry standard RACI model,dependencies,interfaces and typical request flow for a Private Cloud model?