Recently I’ve seen a couple of comments about customers feeling like they don’t know how to “approach” Cloud Computing. Jay Fry, VP of Strategy at CA recently remarked that a customer felt like they were behind the curve when it comes to Cloud Computing adoption. (The power of market hype at work.) Scott Sanchez, author of a great blog on Cloud Security called CloudNod recently provided some advice on where to start with Cloud Adoption (take some non-essential intranet images and store them at S3, Rackspace or another cloud storage provider).
I think these comments point towards the need for a framework that allows enterprise technology and development organizations determine where they are on the spectrum of Cloud capabilities — a Cloud Computing Maturity Model (CCMM). And once they have an understanding of where they are, what are the next steps to build a world-class Cloud Computing capability? A clear Cloud Computing Maturity Model would help large development organizations provide a talent development ladder that is visible throughout the organization.
A well-developed CCMM would also marry market best practices with an organization’s particular development needs and create a clear roadmap for organizational IT transformation. Having a clear understanding of how to develop organizational using this framework would give CIOs of large enterprise companies comfort that they are incorporating this fundamental IT shift in a conscious, prudent manner.
The concept of a Cloud Computing Maturity Model has already been raised in the market and great discussion has already been started:
- James Urquhart addressed this issue in a great blog post in late 2008. He proposes a five-stage model along the lines of: Consolidation > Abstraction > Automation > Utility > Market. I would argue his proposed model appears to be heavily weighted towards the infrastructure side of the Cloud Computing equation.
- Jake Sorofman offers a slightly different version that seems more “middleware/glue” oriented in this post. His stages are: Virtualization > Experimentation > Foundations > Advancement > Actualization.
I would note that a pure maturity model really focuses on whatever processes you are currently doing and drives them towards optimization, but these two discussions are good places to start. Regardless, as the market begins to catch up with the Clouderati discussion, it may be time to dust this concept off again and continue to develop it.
As early adopters share their use cases with benefits gained and lessons learned, models for organizational adoption of Cloud Computing will begin to emerge. These models will help larger, more deliberate organizations put together concrete adoption strategies and provide confidence to the entire organization that they won’t be left behind by the shift to Cloud architectures.