CIO Upfront: The terror of the 'Frankencloud'

CIO Upfront: The terror of the 'Frankencloud'

'Frankencloud' might be a cute term but accurately describes what plagues many digital transformation programmes.

Getting cloud ‘right’ at the enterprise level is central to the work plan of the strategic CIO. The CIO needs to get it right because of the mess that characterises many cloud portfolios. 'Frankencloud' might be a cute term but accurately describes what plagues many digital transformation programmes.

Ovum Senior Analyst Laurent Lachal identified some of the elements of the Frankencloud in his November 2014 report ‘2015 Trends to Watch: Cloud Computing’,

It is a multi-faceted notion that relates to various ongoing issues such as:

  • Lack of standardization in the way cloud service providers define, package, and price, and deliver cloud services from IaaS to PaaS and SaaS.
  • The lack of integration between the various elements of some cloud solutions.
  • The need for enterprises to expand and consolidate their cloud projects, integrate and secure them, and optimize their use in areas such as cost, performance, and user experience.

Lachal expected problems with Frankenclouds to grow for CIOs and in his follow up report ‘2016 Trends to Watch: Cloud Computing’ observed,

Last year we pointed out the rise of Frankenclouds as enterprises fail to integrate and consolidate their siloed cloud projects. Frankenclouds will become even more a problem in 2016 as siloes multiply at all levels, such as architecture, applications, and organisation.

This means that most functional leaders are spending their way into cloud capability. As is so often the case, what is good at the functional level is less than good at the enterprise level. Cloud is one of the elements of the modern business environment that acts either an enabler or a constraint. The difference is how well the CIO manages his or her cloud portfolio.

Cloud is one of the elements of the modern business environment that acts either an enabler or a constraint.

Rohan Light, Decisv

One of the CIO challenges is that the cloud industry is still evolving. As Lachal stated:

Read more: The CIO's secret to great conversations

In 2016 the focus will shift from breadth to depth and from IT to business agility. It is taking a long time for companies to weave cloud deeper into their technology and organisational fabric, and optimize it at all levels from cost to security.

This makes it hard for centralised ICT to manage at the innovating periphery of the organisation. In this sense the Frankencloud is a necessary evil. Somewhere in the mess of enterprise cloud is the successful local model that will help the enterprise turn the corner. The trick is identifying which one and backing it.

This is a behavioural challenge rather than a technical one. Success emerges as a result of better business practice enabled by cloud capability. It’s about how the enterprise encourages different ways of working that leverages the transformational opportunity cloud provides. These opportunities aren't limited to how cloud impacts internal modes of operation. They extend out into the wider business ecosystem as Lachal notes:

Cloud is not only about IT providing a platform for the business to operate, but also and increasingly for the business itself to become a platform that delivers cloud-based services to an ecosystem of suppliers, partners, and customers. In this context, cloud leads to external, not just internal, cooperation across supply chains, and this will increasingly be the case in 2016.

Read more: How to build a change capable organisation

Next: Navigating the modern business ecosystem

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