On the face of it the move to the Cloud is a straight forward business decision; in one fell swoop the business is better served by agile IT services, costs are spectacularly reduced and the organisation streamlined.

So what’s the catch?

Well for a start it is highly unlikely, nay improbable, that a business’s IT service requirements can be fully met by purely Cloud based solutions. So a combination of Cloud and conventional services is inevitable, unavoidable, for the immediate future. 

But the major catch is this; the CIO has instantly to figure out how to cost effectively provision these new, diversely supplied, and highly flexible low cost Cloud services the business wants. What is more, this has to be done at the same time as efficiently running the traditional services the business depends upon.

The big challenge is how to ensure this all works together coherently end-to-end, how to ensure the service providers are held to account for the performance commitments they have made, and how to make all of this agile in practice.

Why is this so tricky?

The primary reason is complexity, specifically the growth in complexity Cloud ushers in, it fundamentally challenges the traditional ways of doing things. As the number of service providers increases, say from 3-4 to 15-20, so the challenge of performing the routine activities of governing and managing these arrangements explodes, and so do the costs. Different commercial agreements, different performance management regimes, different ways of working all collide to produce a tsunami of operational issues that makes achieving the smooth and effective coexistence of Cloud and conventional service nearly impossible unless a different approach it taken.

So how to fix this problem? What needs to happen and when?

Recognition that the current way of working requires a fundamental re-think needs to happen first. In short, understanding that a major transformation in how IT serves the organisation needs to be embraced and acted upon. Tinkering at the edge, buying a new tool, won’t do it; this is open heart surgery…

The good news is there is a new model that is established and readily available which addresses most of these challenges. Service Integration, or in Gartner parlance, Multisourcing Service Integration (MSI).

Service Integration/MSI impressively addresses head-on the operational dissonance, organisational misalignment and resource challenges faced. The model describes highly structured new ways of working which all parties are bound to adhere to. Based on industry best practice, it unambiguously defines the functional boundaries and operational accountabilities and responsibilities between the CIO, service providers and business customers. The model standardises how things are done, how performance is measured and ensures service are integrated end-to-end, consequently control and order can be established, change speeded up, and waste squeezed out of the system.

Once established, Service Integration provides the CIO with the means to smoothly govern and manage the new complexity whilst, at the same time, providing the opportunity and resources needed to build an ever more intimate relationship with the business in collaboration with the CDO.