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13 Common problems cloud computing does not solve

The schoolteacher asks Billy Bob: “If you have twelve sheep and

one jumped over the fence, how many sheep do you have left?”

Bill Bob answers, “None.”

“Well,” says the teacher, “you sure don’t know your subtraction.”

“Maybe not,” Billy Bob replies, “but I darn sure know my sheep.”

-- an old Texas joke


I’m almost sure that common sense serenely waltzed out the building, without a backward glance, whilst chortling into battle-worn, bruised hands.  It’s as if a sagacity convention was held, but logic and consciousness were ostracized.  We’ve seen the birth of a religion; we’ve signed up; we’ve recruited, and now evangelize the gospel according to the “Church of Cloud Computing.”  Hallelujah! Salvation foretold for those swaying in rhythm to the “purveyor of fine goods melodic enunciation.


Beware!  If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  Salvation can rarely be bought or implemented without knowing how to best to employ it, or, indeed if it even solves the spiky problem at hand.  The following idiom expresses it nicely:


            “You can lead a horse to water [salvation],but you cannot make it drink.”


There is a problem you are facing.  The airport billboards; the television adverts and glossy magazine spreads; business units breaking taboo and signing-up with the new kid on the block - Shadow IT Ltd.  All are evident indicators boldly proclaiming they know what ought to be your deliverance.  Indeed, all the boxes are being ticked, one after the other … tick, tick, tick: on-demand self-service; broad network access; resource pooling; elasticity, and measured service.


            “Why is the horse not drinking?”


Yet, unconsciously you shift your weight as a reticent thought tries to coalesce into consciousness.  Yet again, you mentally kick yourself for granting audience to the “purveyor of fine goods” who is at this moment waxing lyrical about the must have “saviour in a box.”


Your subconscious has successfully alerted you to a high probability that you may be trying to solve the wrong problem.


  • Cash shortfall – Does IT seem to be constantly squeezed?
  • Physical and logical deterioration of facilities – Signs of inability to maintain physical and logical assets due to lack of proper planning, maintenance or adequate capabilities.
  • Poor performance systems - Performance records and reporting are untrusted and it’s unknown how and which IT activities contribute to the organization’s competitive position.
  • Suppliers blamed for current condition – Indicates a lack of willingness on management’s part to accept responsibility and look for solutions.
  • Mounting external pressure – Shadow IT, fractious commercial management relationships and troublesome audits.
  • Critical information ignored or not clear – Bureaucracy inhibits flow of critical information; management protects short terms goals at the expense of the system; preferring to ignore issues and replacing it with less valuable indicators.
  • Risks ignored or under reported – Risk logs do not accurately reflect the company’s true risk and impact position, thus exacerbating problems.
  • Credibility problems – Lack of credibility in key IT positions create unnecessary hurdles for management.
  • Looking for a “home run” to fix everything – A management team counting on the next product line, next facility, or next IT system implementation to solve its troubles is likely to not be focused on tackling the true problems facing the business.
  • Over-allocation of resources or large legacy environment This can indicate lack of willingness to see through changes; propensity for tactical solutions; insufficient life-cycle funding.
  • Quality issues with products and services – Indicates of poor requirements definition; acceptance criteria; IT architecture, processes and/or planning. General lack in recognizing IT assets.
  • Attracting and retaining talent – This can indicate an inability of management to identify, coach, inspire and challenge exceptional talent.
  • Unmotivated/depressed employees – The general attitude of lower level management and employees is a good indicator of where value chain opportunities lie.

The probability is high that the majority of items above resonate with you.  “Saviour in a box” is an excellent concept to expedite delivery of tools and capabilities that would enable a cloud computing delivery model for your organisation.  However, it’s not omnipotent, nor does it necessarily solve the right problems.  Systemic and structural issues today will remain systemic and structural issues tomorrow.  No matter how excellent a tool, solution or capability is, there is a direct dependency on the management and operators to apply skill and finesse to maximise the benefit.


To test this assertion, ask yourself: 'What has prevented virtualization levels from reaching north of 75% across the environment?  Is it really because you did not have the “saviour in a box”?  If the average utilization is 10-30% then you have existing inventory to service elasticity; so what has been stopping you?  How will funding, cost allocation and risk ownership dynamics fundamentally change to enable visible agility to your customer?'


The problem could be the process itself; that is to say:  'Pursuing a goal without a deeper understanding of how to identify and solve the systemic challenges that prevent a goal from being achieved, does not lead to success.'  HP Hybrid Delivery services can help you to attain that deeper understanding of systemic challenges.


Paul MacCready, considered to be one of the best mechanical engineers of the 20th century, said:


            “The problem is we don’t understand the problem.”


Let’s not be sheep.


Take a critical look at your journey to an Instant-On Enterprise and remember:


            "Success is a journey, not a destination." - Ben Sweetland

Nadhan | ‎01-03-2012 08:31 PM

In order that the right problems are solved using Cloud Computing, I would suggest reviewing and applying the Cloud Transformation Bill of Rights to your enterprise.

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About the Author
Adrian Voss is engaged in traditional and cloud tranformation programmes and experienced in leading multi-country IT transformation, IT outs...

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