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Miko Matsumura Discusses Succeeding With The Cloud

By Bill Ives

Many people have written that cloud computing will become pervasive in the enterprise and I certainly agree. Recently, I spoke with Miko Matsumura, Vice President and Chief Strategist at Software AG and author of the Wiley book "SOA Adoption for Dummies" about how mature organizations can best adopt cloud computing. We also covered some related enterprise 2.0 adoption issues. I liked what he said so I am cross-posting this from the AppGap.

Miko said he is working on a long paper on cloud adoption and shared some of the thoughts he is working on. He began with a definition of an enterprise as an organization that requires size, and longevity to carry out its mission. This has implications for IT. First longevity tends to create IT segmentation and silos and this leads to complexity in IT supply. Size and growth create organizational fragmentation that leads to complexity in user demands on IT. These factors can impact IT strategies. For example, SOA can be a rational response to simplify the complexity of IT supply but it can fail to address the complexity of user demands in not implemented correctly.

Miko puts these complexity factors in a 2 x 2 grid. Organizations tend to start in the simple supply and demand quadrant. The ideal situation would be a simply IT supply that can meet complexity users needs. However, most organizations have developed a complex IT supply before all of their complex user needs had emerged. So, lacking a green field, this approach becomes difficult. If there is already a complex IT supply, the cloud can add to complexity, rather than simplifying it.

Now I asked Miko how can you be successful in this typical situation. He replied that several factors need to be present. First you need a mature understanding of how the behavior of the organization connects to the mission. This requires strong leadership. Then you need an enterprise IT architect that reflects this understanding. Unfortunately, most IT architectures are limited to IT issues and not business issues. It is not about optimizing IT, but optimizing the business.

This lead us to a discussion of process. Miko said that processes are done at the micro level. Part of the challenge for an organization is to become best in class in the many niches that their processes inhabit. Processes are often done in a silo and not at the enterprise level. The goal should be to align these silos but not to tear them down. Miko said that the goal of enterprise 2.0 is not to break down silos but to align them allow for cross-silo communication and collaboration.

This makes a lot of sense to me. It reminded me of some work I was involved within the early 90s that was done in the spirit of enterprise 2.0 but with the tools of the day. In a property casualty insurance company we created new processes for underwriting, claims and sales. The best practices of the organization where embed in individual applications. Then these applications were aligned and connected. We were trying to break down silos of communication but not silos of processes and applications. These latter two types of silos were essential for efficient processes and should not be destroyed. Now alignment of silos along a value chain is an enterprise level task and can benefit from enterprise 2.0 approaches.

This line of thought took us back to the question of cloud computing. To be successful it needs to recognize and deal with the complexity of user needs and the alignment of silos, but not the destruction of necessary silos. I am sold.


About the Author:
Dr. Bill Ives is an independent consultant and writer who has worked with Fortune 100 companies in business uses of emerging technologies for over 20 years. For several years he led the Knowledge Management Practice for a large consulting firm.. Now he primarily helps companies with their business blogs. He is also the VP of Social Media and blogger for TVissimo, a new TV schedule search engine. Prior to consulting, Dr. Ives was a Research Associate at Harvard University exploring the effects of media on cognition. He obtained his Ph. D. in Educational Psychology from the University of Toronto. Bill can be reached at his blog: Portals and KM. He also writes for the FastForward blog and the AppGap blog.
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