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Software Change Management Industrial Case Study: Utility Moving to the Clouds

Options, recommendations, and reactions

The team gets together to assess the options with the transition in mind. They identify the following four main transition scenarios to cloud computing that everyone agrees make sense:

  • Option 1: General Application-Only Transition Transition most general applications to a private cloud, retain IS facilities and staff to run general applications, and continue servicing customers on a fee-for-service basis.
  • Option 2: Partial Facilities Transition + Option 1 Perform Option 1, and shut down unneeded facilities within IS. Sell off equipment, and reduce staff proportionately as private cloud services and applications become operational. Upgrade equipment as needed to address reliability issues.
  • Option 3: Transition to Upgraded Facilities + Fuller Set of Applications During the transition to the private cloud, upgrade facilities to provide core processing and backup. Address current equipment reliability issues that are occurring as gear ages and failures increase, thus jeopardizing 24/7 operations. Sell off equipment, and adjust staff proportionately as facilities and cloud services and applications become operational.
  • Option 4: Operate IS As-Is Upgrade IS equipment to address reliability problems, and continue to operate as-is. Perform some streamlining to cut costs and improve service to consumers.

Table 6-3 summarizes the results of the team’s analyses after considerable debate. It identifies the major strengths and weaknesses of each option, along with the estimated costs and projected benefits. The table seems to highlight the overall conclusion that movement to one of the three private cloud-computing options is the right thing to do even though IS remains reluctant to support such a recommendation (that is, the two people assigned to your team neither concurred with this analysis nor agreed to put their names on the results).

Table 6-3 Strengths and weaknesses of cloud-computing options.

Options

Strength

Weakness

Cost

Benefits

General Applications Only in Clouds

  • Big gains, little effort

  • Can handle increased workloads

  • Minimal disturbance

  • Does not address the reliability issue

  • Transition cost of $25 million

  • Two to three years before benefits accrue

  • Cost avoidance of $40 million a year

  • Increased flexibility

  • Can handle a larger workload

Partial Facilities + Partial Applications in Clouds

  • Improve ability to respond quickly as business conditions change via the cloud

  • Addresses reliability issues

  • Transition is hard and takes time

  • New jobs must be found for displaced staff

  • Business processes must be updated

  • Transition cost of $50 million

  • Three to five years before benefits accrue

  • Cost avoidance of $50 million a year

  • Better business processes

  • Reliability issues handled

  • Less equipment and staff to worry about

Upgrade Facilities + Fuller Set of Applications in Clouds

  • Same strengths as Option 2 plus company can back up clouds with its own facilities

  • Same weaknesses of Option 2 plus more turmoil during transition

  • Transition cost of $65 million

  • Three to five years before benefits accrue

  • Cost avoidance of $65 million a year

  • All the benefits listed previously

Operate IS As-Is

  • Minimum pain

  • Minimum gain

  • Minimum cost

  • Reliability issue is addressed