Five Steps to Improve Cloud Computing Financial Management
Cloud computing requires IT to match “free and unlimited” cloud offerings.
A key benefit of cloud computing is on-demand self-service. Successful IT leaders know that usage-based IT can quickly become more expensive than what it replaces. This brief explains five key steps you can take to ensure cloud computing costs don’t exceed expectations.
Cloud computing is a usage-based service delivery model. By design, cloud computing makes it easy to find and use services, and this ease of access is becoming a threat to IT. For example, business users have access to cloud services (i.e., web-based mail) with free and unlimited storage, and they expect the same from IT. Business users increasingly find that the services on which they’ve become dependent won’t integrate with other cloud or private services or systems. Business users often don’t understand integration, security, and support issues, nor do they understand why IT cannot provide the same services. You can’t fight these issues, but you can act as a broker of cloud services for your business. To do so, adapt or create an internal charging capability for cloud computing services. Share the total cost of cloud computing, including integration, data migration and support. This will help your business users make better decisions as it improves your relationship with the business.
What You Need to Know:
You can use IT financial management practices to become a cloud service broker within your firm. Act as the information source for cloud services, and offer assistance with service acquisition and management. There are five primary ideas taken from the financial management for IT services process area of ITIL® Service Strategy that you can use to empower business users to make better decisions.
- Adapt your services catalog and charging system to what your business users see outside of work. If web-based mail offers unlimited storage, try to come as close as you can.
- Tie cloud capacity planning to your billing process to provide transparency and improve business forecasting.
- Simplify and automate your charging system as the number of services will increase dramatically with cloud computing.
- Be sure to include all costs in your charging system, including those related to integrating cloud computing services with legacy and non-cloud systems.
- Avoid pricing that fluctuates within a fiscal year, as it can cause budgeting problems for business units.
What You Need to Do:
Like it or not, your customers will compare you to public cloud computing services. If you resist efforts to match cloud computing services, business users can and will work around you. Instead, develop a plan to assist business users in making informed cloud computing selections.
- Review your existing IT charging or billing systems. Keep an eye out for complexity and how automated it is currently.
- Assume that your existing system will require changes to support cloud computing.
- Understand what it will take to tie capacity forecasting to billing in order to match consumption volumes to those with which business users are already familiar.
- Decide how your charging and billing system should work, and include business users in the process.
- Start creating a cross-functional team that includes business users as equal stakeholders. Announce your plans to become a cloud broker and provide assistance to ensure business success with cloud computing.