Transform Your IT To DevOps and ITaaS

Philippe Abdoulaye

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The Complete ITaaS Transformation Framework By @PhilAbdoulaye | @CloudExpo #Cloud

How to align your PMO to the digital challenges and successfully lead ITaaS transformations

Certain CIOs for incomprehensible reasons keep of their cloud transformation projects several key enterprise disciplines including Enterprise Architecture (EA), IT Service Management (ITSM) and Project Management (PMO). Do they see them as obsolete? useless? irrelevant? 
PMO folks can be reassured: CIOs need them and will be needing them in the very near future. However, if they want to play a pivotal role in their IT organization's tranformation, they have to bring on the CIO's table new value propositions; they must urgently align their PMO to the challenges of the ongoing IT industry transformation. That's the price to pay.

The question is, "What key actions PMO leaders must take to get a seat at their organization's ITaaS Transformation Task Force?"

PMOs Can No Longer Just Update CIOs About Projects, They Must Go Upmarket and Play the Strategic Role Expected from Them
Concretely speaking, ITaaS Transformation is highly complex effort whose objective is to equip your IT organization with a new IT Service Delivery Paradigm: the so-called IT as a Service (ITaaS) Delivery Model.

The bottom line, is to take your IT organization's today's Traditional Siloed Enterprise IT Delivery Model where the IT infrastructure is seen as the only driver of the business growth to a Lean and Agile IT Organization where business growth is tackled from three fundamental dimensions: the IT Operating Model, the Cloud Services and the Cloud Infrastructure.

As a matter of fact, contrary to what cloud vendors have been claiming, migrating IT to cloud does not make  business growth strategy. The techies'belief that cloud infrastructure is the only determinant of business growth is an intellectual swindle; business growth is part of a wider growth virtuous circle which takes:

  1. Definition of the business mission and goal
  2. Identification of market opportunities
  3. Definition of Service-Market strategies
  4. Services implementation and rollout
  5. Recovery strategy definition

Cloud infrastructure impacts only the IT part of it: the Services Implementation and Rollout step. Cloud solutions and infrastructure are focused on IT and contribute only up to 20% of the business growth activities.What about the remaining 80%?

In order to survive, the PMO  can no longer just update CIOs about projects' progress, enforce project management and project portfolio management (PPM) policies or assess PPM tools, it must go upmarket and get back to its fundamentals as defined by pioneers like J. Kent Crawford, who warned 15 years ago in his best seller, The Strategic Project Office: A Guide to Improving Organizational Performance "The PMO is a must for organizations to move from doing a less-than-adequate job of managing projects on an individual basis, to creating the organizational synergy around projects that add value."

The excellent Jennifer Buchanan, PMP, substantiates Crawford's point in a her remarkable manifesto, Improving Project Management Capability separates the Wheat from the Chaff! she reminds project management virtues in turbulent economic environments and alerts, "You may think that times of trouble would be the worse time for any company to buttress their project management competence, but the opposite is true."

That's being said, what concrete actions PMO leaders must take to play that pivotal role in their IT organization's transition to ITaaS?

Seven Keys to Align PMOs to the Digital Challenges and Successfully Drive ITaaS Transformation Projects
Here are seven practices, that'll make your PMO relevant to supporting your IT organization's transition to ITaaS; they not only helped me gain the trust of reluctant CIOs but also boosted the implementation of ITaaS capabilities that business folks unconditionally adopted.

1. Provide the CIO with an Accurate Vision of the ITaaS Business Challenges. The vast majority of CIOs have adopted the erroneous idea that migrating infrastructure and applications to cloud will make businesses more competitive. The problem is, business lines disagree with that perspective for the simple reason that cloud is focused on IT processes and improving IT processes has never made a business growth strategy. Responsiveness to market opportunities is what they seek, and a well-thought operational agility involving the business and IT is the way they want to go.

Cloud-related projects including ITaaS transformation are initiated by CIOs on their own. Their belief is, by anticipating IT migration to cloud, they'll reduce IT costs, accelerate application delivery and as a result increase their business competitiveness. This is definitely erroneous, as seen earlier, migrating IT to cloud does not make a growth strategy. Cloud computing and digital technologies by reducing IT costs and accelerating the proliferation of digital services are changing the competitive environment. Businesses must deal with new competitors e.g., startups created by unemployed highly qualified seniors and young entrepreneurs who substitute traditional services with digital services e.g., Uber in the Taxi Industry, PayPal in the Financial Services, and Hosting in the IT Managed Services.

The PMO as the facilitator of business strategy executions must provide the CIO with insights into the business challenges of the ongoing IT industry transformation and help him leave behind his IT solutions provider role to become the strategic business partner businesses are desperately expecting.

2. Develop and Offer a Clear Picture of the Target IT Organization in Line With the Business Expectations. One of the CIO's biggest problem is the fact that, consulting firms and cloud vendors have been unable to define credible ITaaS models that meet business expectations.

The fact of the matter is, a plethora of experts, including those of the major brands of the IT industry, have been speculating about the new style of IT. What come out of these endless discussions is interesting, yet incomplete models like Netflix-like IT and Cloud Service Brokerage (CSB), which remain unfortunately elusive. What are the whys and wherefores of these models? How do they work? How disruptive are they? How to implement and deploy them? are some of the numerous unanswered questions. The problem is, the answers to these questions address areas that are out of IT leaders' comfort zone; they include IT Organization Design, IT Operating Model Reengineering, Establishment Business and IT Partnerships, alike.

In order to be credible, the CIO must come up with concrete solutions to business expectations and offer actionable ITaaS models. Once again, the PMO can help; it's been the communication channel between the business and IT for years and must capitalize on the knowledge acquired on the business and IT relationships to assist the CIO in implementing appropriate ITaaS operating models.

3. Equip Your PMO with a Comprehensive ITaaS Transformation Framework. Transforming IT organization to ITaaS is a very complex effort that's not limited to migrating infrastructure and applications to cloud; in reality it also addresses the transformation of two additional dimensions of the IT organization: the IT operating model and the IT service catalog. Traditional project management isn't comfortable with the turbulences of today's transforming IT industry, they must go upmarket.

Traditional project management is insufficient in many respects; it lacks the agility and responsiveness needed to quickly migrate an entire IT organization to ITaaS, it doesn't provide the agile collaboration structures and methodologies needed to put together experts and address issues as complex as Cloud Architecture Implementation, Operating Model Reengineering, and Organizational Change Deployment. A blame that frequently crops up is, " The PMO is a too passive player when it comes to IT transformation."

The PMO leader must bring on the CIO's table a radically different approach to IT transformation projects, more focused on business goals, addressing in an integrated manner the operating model, cloud services and cloud infrastructure issues and most importantly taking into account implementation concerns by providing methodologies and tools that facilitate engineering works.

4. Set Up an ITaaS Transformation Task Force to Create Executive Consensus On the Business Objectives. 99% of cloud projects are highly successful from the technical and technology standpoints, unfortunately they are disasters from the perspective of the benefits expected by the business. The reason is a lack of shared objectives. Consensus between the business and IT about the expected business benefits is a key determinant to successful ITaaS transformation.

Setting up a task force involving representatives of the concerned stakeholders is the surest way to get the business and IT agree on Shared ITaaS Objectives. Setting up a formal structure where the concerned executives can clarify their digital strategy, define the means to implement and control its implementation is likely to avoid frustrations, conflicts and increasing shadow IT.

5. Leverage Incremental Transformations for Effective Risks Control the and Accelerated Adoption of Changes. Cloud computing and its associated operational models are disruptive, they radically change the IT relationship with the business, the way IT services are delivered and how business priorities are addressed within IT. It's an upheaval in practices, approaches, and tools which doesn't come without risks.

An incremental approach I often use includes the implementation of a Proof-of-Concept (PoC) of the targeted ITaaS capability and its validation through an ITaaS Pilot Project. Throughout the ITaaS pilot, the new IT operating model, cloud services and cloud infrastructure are used and tested in a real-world business setting by a panel of users under the facilitation of the PMO. The feedback are later on used to build the Industrialized ITaaS Capability that will be deployed. This practice ensures an accelerated adoption of ITaaS across the organization.

6. Take Advantage of Agile Mechanisms to Facilitate and Accelerate Consensus Building, Problem Solving and Decision Making. In addition to the time constraints related to the urgency to align the IT organization to ITaaS, the overlapping of several issues i.e., business strategy, IT organizational design, process optimization, datacenter transformation and application migrations is a major factor of failure that challenge that challenges traditional project management.

Dropping the dogma that the blind application of the PMI's principles guarantees success to whatever projects is a major step toward making successful your ITaaS project. Using the PMI's best in agile mindset by implementing agile mechanisms is the most effective way to tackle ITaaS transformation complexity; planning and executing ITaaS transformation collaboratively not only enables consensus throughout the transformation journey but also accelerate problem solving and decision making.

The Complete ITaaS Delivery Model: The ITaaS Transformation Handbook That'll Make PMOs Relevant to CIOs
In fact, the above ITaaS project key success factors are part of a wider ITaaS Transformation framework, The Complete ITaaS Delivery Model™, it's described in my recent book, The Complete ITaaS Delivery Model™: The Art of Integrating AWS, DevOps, and ITIL into Complete ITaaS Delivery Models. The book will help you understand the whys and wherefores of ITaaS from both the business and IT standpoints and guide you through a detailed step-by-step real-world ITaaS implementation project. You'll have access to a unique approach and tools to get your CIO and his business peers agree on Business Objectives, ITaaS Business Case, Vision of the Target ITaaS Organization as well as on a clear IT Transformation Roadmap.

The Complete ITaaS Transformation Framework

The Complete ITaaS Delivery Model framework™ provides the PMO with Agile Mechanisms and ITaaS Reengineering Tools that help the PMO facilitate issues as complex as IT Operating Model Migration to DevOps, Cloud Services i.e., IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS Design and Implementation, and Cloud Platform Architecture Design and Implementation. Examples of such tools include:

  • The ITaaS Transformation Task Force and ITaaS Transformation Workshops that put together the concerned stakeholders to facilitate and accelerate consensus building, problem solving and decision-making
  • The Extended Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) and Extended Elastic Computing Capability (EC2) Architecture Patterns, they are pre-defined, yet flexible team structures, questionnaires and collaboration tools which facilitate complex engineering works like cloud platform architecture design and application migration
  • The DevOps-based IT Operating Model which makes easy the transformation of Traditional Enterprise IT Delivery Model to Lean and Agile IT Operating Model built upon DevOps philosophy
  • The ITaaS Organizational Charter that makes easy the deployment of organizational challenges from developing ITaaS Proof-of-Concept (PoC) to setting up state-of-the-art ITaaS Pilot Project

The Complete ITaaS Delivery Model Handbook

The Complete ITaaS Delivery Model™ and its associated Agile project management are new and in many respects revolutionary. This book represents an attempt to accelerate their adoption; in 12 chapters it outlines the impact of digital technologies on the competitive environment, makes easy the understanding of essential concepts such as Cloud Computing, IT as a Service (ITaaS), Digital Transformation, DevOps. The intent is to help illustrate these points in a concrete manner. It offers PMO leaders and project managers an unprecedented opportunity to embrace the next step of their career in the digital age. Fellow project managers the IT industry is transforming, embrace the change!

I very honestly encourage you to buy the book (Amazon, iBookstore, alike), experiment principles of the framework, share your thoughts and provide your questions and comments at: PMPragmatic Consulting - The Complete ITaaS Delivery Official Website.

More Stories By Philippe Abdoulaye

Philippe Abdoulaye is a highly experienced IT strategist with a 25-year background leading IT transformation projects in areas as varied as cloud computing, DevOps, Enterprise Architecture and ITIL. He is Founder, CEO, and VP of DevOps and IT as a Service (ITaaS) practices at ITaaS Now, LLC a Raleigh, NC based startup specializing in IT transformation.

He is the author of several books on cloud computing and ITaaS and a top ranked CIO advisor. He is the originator of the Complete ITaaS Delivery Model™, a framework guiding IT organization transformations to DevOps.

He has been leading projects and CIO advisory consulting works around Enterprise Architecture, Cloud, DevOps and IT as a Service (ITaaS) for global firms like Credit Suisse, American Express, Ralph Lauren Polo, Educational Testing Service (ETS), McKinsey Company, alike.

He has an established reputation for:
• Building executive consensus on the business benefits of your DevOps platform
• Auditing IT operating Model and application deployment infrastructures
• Aligning IT organizations with DevOps operating model and continuous delivery pipeline