Monday, August 30, 2010

Is Cloud Computing changing Project Management?

In today’s competition, survival requires increasing customer relations & business receptiveness along with the effective use of smart technologies. Every businessman’s prime goal is to accomplish the targets of high financial gains at lower operational costs. However, this objective requires the optimal utilization of available resources, both human and material.

With the IT industry going through a new avatar, it is important to recognize and acknowledge that at the core of it all, businesses remain focused on processes and projects. The discipline of Project Management ensures the delivery of expected outcomes. Project Management is the application of knowledge, skills, tools and techniques to activities that meet project requirements and is accomplished through the use of the time tested processes.

Project Management is taking a paradigm shift with the evolution of Cloud based applications. With the advent of Cloud Computing, there is an added need and urgency for a formalized project management methodology across organizations. The successful delivery of Cloud projects depend on the Project Managers, empowered with project management frameworks and proven methodologies combined with experience. Project Management acts as catalyst in building the robust service delivery engine to deliver faster and cheaper services in the areas of Public and Private Cloud Computing services to global customers. It is important to identify the portfolio of different services in Cloud Computing space and build the necessary project management assets.

What does cloud mean to a project manager?

- Web based meetings

- Optimum utilization of IT infrastructure

- Web-based project management software

- Remote management

- Green IT

- New web-based testing process

- Collaborative tool for resource management

- Lowering project costs

- Used for projects with unpredictable scalability

- Quick time and money estimation

Project managers are equipped with the general skills to manage a project, most of them would not have thought about Cloud Computing in sufficient detail. There is a need and an opportunity in the Cloud Computing world for project managers who at least have a conceptual understanding of the issues. The instant availability of computing resources solves some problems, such as the dependencies on procurement and provisioning of resources. Still there are areas where Project Managers can use their experience to delivery Cloud project with some innovative insight dealing with better ways to cater to clients. Cloud Computing introduces more than just technical changes as it forces changes to IT processes and alters the way that the business interacts with its customers to improve the process in a easy and manageable way.

The key to successful project management in the cloud is to create and manage a project management framework that embeds best practices of standard project management and cloud computing methodology into how one manages projects, inside and outside the cloud. The impact of cloud on project management will include a higher emphasis on security, parallel processing, scalability, and the ability to utilize infinite resources.
NOTE: The views expressed above are purely personal and for informational purposes only. WOLF FRAMEWORKS INDIA PVT. LTD MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY. The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners. 

Monday, August 16, 2010

Business decisions before moving to the Cloud

With the buzz of Cloud Computing gaining momentum, the question of moving or not has become more important for the business leaders of any organization. Migrating to the Cloud is supposed to be a technology decision because everybody looks at Cloud Computing more as pure technology advancement, but it is important to note that this decision is linked more to business needs such as ROI, performance, cost & time benefits and suitability to tasks.

Business leaders should perform a cost-benefits-risk analysis comparing the Cloud to traditional development before making this decision. These are certain decisions that only business leaders can take or approve for an organization before selecting any technology for their use or for their customers’ use:

1. Perform a Cost-benefits-risk analysis
2. Audit the impact on business processes
3. Audit of Cloud service providers
4. Auditing internal processes and their performance improvement using the Cloud.
5. Evaluating the services and value adds
6. Evaluating the SLA based on data security, continuity and cost
7. Evaluating the level of services and support provided by the Cloud service provider
8. Involvement in the service strategy, design, transition, operation and continual service improvements
9. Decisions related to concerns surrounding the Cloud adoption within organization
10. Decisions related to privacy, rules, regulations and guidance

As already mentioned, moving to the Cloud holds significant benefits to the corporate IT departments. The relationship and communication between the business units and IT department will change. Greater power will shift to business units from IT. Working in the Cloud means functions performed by corporate IT departments will shift from those who do to those who define and manage. Remember that Cloud Computing is a change in business models, and not JUST a new technology. Explore the business decisions, as this enables IT and business leaders to decide on which applications should move to the cloud.

NOTE: The views expressed above are purely personal and for informational purposes only. WOLF FRAMEWORKS INDIA PVT. LTD MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY. The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners. 

Monday, August 9, 2010

12 Questions to ask yourself before choosing a Cloud Service Provider

Traditionally, launching new business services through an IT implementation lead to significant upfront costs. And when you are unclear about the usage volume, your business needs a new technology model that is suited to the need of quick development, delivery & launch and a primary focus on usage based spending. With a pay as you grow pricing model, costs are only incurred based on actual usage such as CPU cycles, memory, users, etc.

Thus Cloud Computing strategy provides these instant benefits:

1. Rapid road to market.

2. Lower upfront costs.

3. Predictable pricing.

Once you decide on using Cloud Computing because of the monetary benefits, it’s time to choose the best service provider which can help you implement you business requirements. 

You should have the following points in your checklist to decide on a service provider:

1. How do they handle data security and privacy?

2. Do they maintain a SLA for every customer?

3. Do they have options of interoperability or data migration?

4. Where is their data center located?

5. What kind of SUPPORT services do they provide?

6. Do they have a disaster recovery plan in place?

7. Do they have options of giving an iterative prototype for your application at each stage?

8. Is there an Agile Architecture in place for the application development cycle?

9. How often do they monitor and manage applications?

10. Do they address scalability?

11. What kind of User Experience are they providing and do they have an option for custom Branding?

12. Who owns the IP of the application?

Answers to these questions will help you find the right Cloud Computing service provider and architecture solutions that address your goals and challenges, in addition to your functional requirements, system integration needs, and technology stack preferences.