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  • 1. 1 Page
  • 2. Manage to Success in Cloud Computing ProjectsPraveena Parameswaran - Technology Architect, Infosys Technologies Ltd, India
  • 3. Contents 1. Abstract ......................................................................................................................................... 4 2. Introduction ................................................................................................................................... 4 3. What is Cloud Computing ........................................................................................................... 5 4. Conclusion .................................................................................................................................. 10 5. References .................................................................................................................................. 11 6. Author’s Profile: .......................................................................................................................... 113 Page
  • 4. 1. AbstractAs new computing paradigm evolves in Information Technology, there is a necessity for themethodologies and practices related to IT to also evolve.The important aspect of Information Technology is the use of technology to enable business. ProjectManagement assists in managing the implementation of technology infrastructure for the enterpriseas projects by delivering business requirements in incremental steps, instead of a Big BangApproach.Cloud Computing is evolved from the basic need for organizations to integrate and enable alignmentto changing business needs faster and seamlessly. It also provides the cost advantage by providinginfrastructure (IAAS), platform (PAAS) or software (SAAS) as a service. The availability of pervasive,elastic, virtualized service with flexible costing, also possess a challenge for organizations to be ablemanage change, resulting in increased risk of project failure due to delays, lower quality, increasedcost etc. There is increased Gold Plating challenge as Service providers sell add on services toincrease profits, or when project team delivers value beyond specified scope due to easy serviceavailability, without considering the challenges of integration, security and policies.In addition to the fundamental project management principles, the new strategy for projectmanagement for Cloud Computing will involve effective management ofScoping and change managementRisks managementCost managementQuality of Service for availability and reliabilityIn this paper, we focus on the various aspects of project management to mitigate risk of project failurein a cloud computing paradigm through effective scoping, change and risk management.2. IntroductionProjects often do not behave as expected; this is often the case with large complex projects. Theunexpectedness and the difficulties associated of the project increases while adopting newtechnologies.Although cloud computing is only a different way to distribute and consume computer resources, it isstill a new paradigm. There is a fundamental change in architecture, software, developmentmethodologies, and the way we store and consume information and more importantly projectmanagement. The traditional project lifecycles will not be sufficient to ensure success of Cloudcomputing projects. New skills need to be acquired by not only the project team but also the projectmanager. There is a need to identify the early warnings more precisely. To manage the problems, weneed to first understand the problem areas.4 Page
  • 5. This paper will not discuss in depth about Cloud Computing concepts, but scan through the conceptsof cloud to identify the areas to watch out for early signs of failure. An in-depth analysis of the causesof failure of the cloud computing projects reveals the possible solution to the issue. As projectmanagers it is important to address these solutions in the planning of the project.3. What is Cloud ComputingCloud Computing is a Network-based computing solution that delivers IT as a Service. The computersin the cloud collaborate to collectively deliver computing resources. The allocation of the computingresources is flexible and allocated based On-Demand. To organizations this paradigm shift helps inreduced cost by reducing both capital expense and operational expenses. It allows to free valuablepersonnel resources to focus on delivering value and at the same time is scalable to meet increasingdemands of a growing organization.There are various layers in a cloud, but the three most important layers are IaaS, PaaS and SaaS.Other layers include BPaaS (Business Process as a Service), CaaS (Communications as a Service)etc. Infrastructure Layer is the foundation, and consists of physical assets such as servers, storage etc. In Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), the control of the operating system, storage and applications deployed is with the Organization. Platform Layer provides access to the operating system and associated services. Platform as a Service (PaaS) provides the organization the control on the applications that are deployed, and to some degree the configurations of the hosting environment. Application Layer most often referred as Software as a Service (SaaS) has applications that are provided to users on demand. Organizations do not have any control on the hosting environment.There are different types of Cloud. A broad categorization includes Private Cloud, Public Cloud andHybrid Cloud. Public Cloud: Resources are dynamically provisioned over Internet based applications, using one or more data centers, shared among multiple customers with varying degrees of data privacy and minimal organizational control on changes to applications. Private Cloud: The computing architectures are similar to that of the Public Cloud, but the services are delivered over the internet. The virtualization of computing resources helps organizations make optimal use of the computing resources without the risk on compromising the data privacy. Hybrid Cloud: The combination of Public and Private Cloud to enable organizations have larger control of the privacy and security aspects, while allowing access to scalable computing resources of the public cloud that can be accessed On-Demand.The advantages of adopting the cloud computing solutions are varied. The few advantages that areeasily recognized by organizations are5 Page
  • 6. Flexible Pricing Model: Free, Subscription model, Pay per use, Enterprise Unlimited etc. Reduced IT spending: Capital expenses and Operational expenses Costs are reduced Greater Flexibility, incredible scalability and Faster Implementations. On Demand Service Elimination of unnecessary hardware, more remote management Leverage Technology EvolutionCommon Causes of Failure in Cloud Computing Projects90% of projects do not meet time/cost/quality targets. Only 9% of large, 16% of medium and 28% ofsmall company projects were completed on time, within budget and delivered measurable businessand stakeholder benefits (Nicoletti, 2012). There are many reasons for such failures.Some of the common causes for project failures are: Failure to define “Success” Failure to quantify the expected advantages Failure to hold yourself accountable Failure to understand the Supply Chain Failure to manage and monitor applications Failure to understand the financial realities No complete understanding of the requirements up front Jumping too quickly into technology Failure to understand the Legacy Data model and Flow Unskilled Resources Non Aligned Business and ITA broad analysis of the causes shows that the issues are primarily related to Scope, Change, Riskand Cost. A look at each of the causes in detail will reveal the solution to the problem.Failure to define “Success”Like traditional projects, cloud computing projects also require to be part of an enterprise wideStrategy. Cloud Computing is not a solution to all the problems of an organization. Therefore it isimportant to set a list of realistic expectations to be achieved as part of the Cloud Computing Shift.For most organizations, the list is not known upfront. Cloud Implementations are generally adoptedwith short term focus and in the long term these project fail to meet the high expectations of thebusiness users.The solution to this concern is to establish a strategy and define a roadmap. If there is no strategiesestablished then start with a pilot and use the experience to define the strategy and create a roadmapfor the Cloud implementations.6 Page
  • 7. Failure to quantify the expected advantagesThe stakeholders must be fully educated about the advantages and disadvantages of the Cloud.Being aware of only the short term benefits gives the business users high expectations and failure tomeet the expectations can result in projects to be doomed failure.It is also necessary to quantify the cost advantages, as a pay as you use model may not always be acost benefit in terms of Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). The pay as you use model provides costbenefit when there is a need for faster and flexible scalability. The various factors influencing the TCOof Cloud Computing include: Not choosing a proper deployment model based on the needs of the applications Planning for disasters, outage, failover, redundancy etc., as these can cause adverse effects to business. Long Term Use of Computing Resources (CAPEX+OPEX). Planning for Migration strategies (Between Vendors or even between Public to Private Clouds)Failure to hold yourself accountableThe common misconception about cloud is that all the risk is with the Cloud Vendor. It is easy totransfer the risk, but the organization itself is ultimately accountable for its reputation. Penaltiescannot pay for reputation; it can only pay for losses. It is therefore necessary to ensure that theproject team scrutinizes all security and availability aspects and create strategies and governanceprocesses.The following issues need to be addressed as part of Cloud Implementations Governance Processes SLA for various services provided with penalty clauses Availability / Up Time SLA Plans for Failover, Redundancy, Backup and Disaster Recovery.Failure to manage and monitor applicationsAnother common mistake made by organizations migrating to the cloud is to believe that themanagement and performance problems will not exist. The project team needs to understand that theresponsibility of ensuring the availability and meeting the performance requirements of theapplications is their responsibility. With the adoption of cloud this responsibility diminishesconsiderably, but does not vanish.A successful project needs to incorporate these aspects into the planning of the project, time andeffort needs to be invested to ensure that these criteria are met. Failure to address this concernupfront will result in unsatisfied users and finally a failed project.Failure to understand the financial realitiesOne of the primary reasons for an organization adopts cloud is the cost advantage. But the financialaspect depends on the type of service consumed, who pays, how the payment is made.7 Page
  • 8. It is critical for the project team to do a financial analysis on the TCO to identify the actual cost vs. theperceived cost benefit.Most of the projects today are never completed within Budget. This becomes even more true to CloudProjects as features is available as Service, and the stakeholders and project team can be promptedto utilize a service due to its lower initial acquisition cost. It is therefore very important to continuouslymonitor scope creep and have effective change control measures.No complete understanding of the requirementsWhen projects are initiated without a complete understanding of the requirements, the chances offailure are high. In a hurry to adopt cloud, and to reduce cost the project team tends to move quicklyto implementation without a roadmap to guide the implementations. As discussed earlier, it isimportant to have a roadmap. But at the same time it is important for the project team to realize thatthe organizational dynamics change over a period of time.With Cloud, it will not be beneficial to attempt long term projects. Instead, the Project managementstrategy should be agile in nature. This methodology provides the project team many opportunities toassess the project and respond to change requests faster. Also, agile methodology provides theproject team to incrementally deliver value. The methodology allows for well-defined set of changesand added features to be addressed in sequential phases. This helps reduce development cost andtime to market (TTM) and users’ needs are addressed quickly. Scope Creep and Gold Plating iscontrolled as new requirements or change requests are address in successive iterations and aftercomplete analysis of the requirements. Also the iterative approach enables the project team and otherstakeholders to associate a perceived cost (if not an actual cost) to the requirements. The iterativeapproach also enables the committed features to be delivered timely, thus reducing the costescalations.Jumping too quickly into technologyDeciding the technology before having a finite idea of the requirements can prove to be deadly incloud projects. The few problems are outlined below Since cloud is a service based implementation, it would be costly to change vendors half way through the implementations Migrating applications will be difficult as there is little or no standardization between different implementations and vendors. A semi Optimal Solution will hinder the organization goals and also the long term strategy as users will be reluctant to adopt any further implementations.Thus it is important to scrutinize the organizational objectives and roadmap, and understand the userrequirements before the technology selection is initiated. The technology selection should also bebased on the security, availability, architecture and long term performance considerations.Failure to understand the Legacy Data model and FlowIn most Organizations the cloud migration team is separate from the project team that is involved indevelopment and maintenance of the existing applications. The reasons for this are primarily: The need for a different resource skill set to accomplish cloud projects8 Page
  • 9. The need for organizations to keep the business running while adapting to the cloud Only sections of the applications are migrated depending on the compliance requirements of the applicationsThe above reasons mandate that the current applications and the data model are well understood bythe Cloud migration team, as it is necessary to integrate the applications. Also, cloud is a newparadigm. It is necessary to make the applications lean by eliminating the unwanted processes. Re-engineering eliminates waste and conserves resources. It is possible to digitize the processes bymaking best use of the available technologies. This also helps in adopting the iterative methodologyto provide continuous improvement.If the cloud migration team fails to understand the legacy data model and flow, the users will not getthe functionality that is intended and the migration to cloud is bound to fail.Unskilled ResourcesCloud computing resources are required to possess a different technical capability and skills forintegrating the On-Premise applications and the Cloud based applications. As cloud is a relativelynew technological paradigm there is scarcity of skilled resources. The risk of project failure becomesdrastically high with the lack of required skill set. The mitigation plans to address this risk is: Providing the right amount of training to the resources involved. Leveraging consultants and outside experts to address the technology challenges.This would increase the overall cost of cloud implementations, but would be much less than a failure.The important activity is to plan for this expense upfront and mitigate the risk earlier in the projectinitiation phase and make a smooth progress to the finish line.Non Aligned Business and ITCloud meets the time to market demands of business, without the need to wait for IT to deliversolutions. Due to the ease of service availability, the business is adopting cloud at a much faster ratethan IT. This non alignment can cause the organizational entropy to increase. There would beredundancy in process, data and applications and over a period of time, the organizations would findit difficult to maintain coherence. In the long term, as entropy increases, enterprises will find it difficultto realign IT and cloud solutions to meet Organizational strategies. This is against the basic reason ofadopting cloud – Faster time to market.Also, Business may not be able to differentiate the nonfunctional aspects of a cloud solution, which ITcan easily analyze. A cloud project will not be successful until the organizations interest is aligned andall stakeholder groups commit to its success.Failure to understand the Supply ChainSupply Chain is an increasingly important aspect in Cloud Computing Projects. The project Managerhas an added responsibility to ensure that the Cloud Service Provider will be able to address theproject requirements over the long term. The following aspects need to be validated while choosingthe Cloud Service Provider Financial Stability to ensure ability to provide continued service9 Page
  • 10. Implementation Expertise in similar projects SLA and track record Availability Conditions and clausesIt is suggested to go with reputed service providers, as their expertise will be an added advantage inproject risk mitigation strategy development.4. ConclusionBased on literature from IBM (IBM Academy of Technology, 2010), the basis of cloud implementationis a set of well-defined, proven process as illustrated in Figure 1. Service management is vital tobeing able to deliver, or even access Cloud enabled services.Figure 1: Cloud service management implementation frameworkThe framework shows that people, process, tools and information needs to interact to enable asuccessful cloud implementation. It is also observed that some of the causes of project failures areinter-related. Failure to address one can result in the other. E.g. failure to understand the financialrealities can increase TCO which in turn can impact the expectation of reduced cost. Or, notunderstanding the requirements completely will result in inadequate technology selection.Analysis of the causes of failures clearly indicates that it is important to have a clearly definedstrategy and well defined roadmap to enable success. It is also noted that managing requirements,scope and changes are an important aspect to ensure success of cloud computing projects.Identifying risks and developing mitigation strategies early in the project can boost the success rate.Also, it is necessary to watch out for early warning signs to ensure that the problems are addressedearly.Agile or Iterative methodology of project management is the most suitable in cloud projects as itallows attaining the objective of reduced TTM while allowing addressing the challenges of changingbusiness needs. It also helps control scope creep and gold plating through effective change control byaddressing changes as part of separate iterations.10 Page
  • 11. 5. References[1] Agile Methodology, "Understanding Agile Methodology", http://agilemethodology.org.[2] Engira Ram, "Cloud computing: Technology, Risks, and Controls", http://www.nyiia.org, April 2010.[3] Healing Eric, "Cloud Computing Risk Management", Deloitte Development LLC, Presentation, October 2011.[4] IBM Academy of Technology, "Cloud computing insights from110 implementation projects", IBM Academy of Technology Survey, IBM, October 2010, pp. 1-12.[5] Nicoletti Bernardo, "Project Management and Cloud computing", PM World Today, http://www.pmworldtoday.net, January 2012 (Vol. XIV, Issue I), pp. 1-11.[6] Walker Grace, "Cloud computing fundamentals", IBM Developer Works, IBM, December 2010, pp. 1-10.6. Author’s Profile: Praveena Parameswaran is Technology Architect and associated with Infosys Technologies, India. She has 14 years of IT experience in data warehousing, enterprise architecture, project management. She has received a She is B.Tech in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from University of Calicut, India in 1997 and a MS in Microelectronics from Manipal University, India. She is Zachman Certified Enterprise Architect Associate and has managed multiple projects to align IT and business strategies. Her area of interest is Cloud Computing and Big Data Email: pravina.pv@gmail.com11 Page