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Private Clouds: Put Business Outcomes First, Study Says

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What’s the secret to a successful private cloud deployment?

New research from the IT Process Institute (ITPI) indicates that IT departments should prepare to put as much thought into the business side of the project as the hardware and software that’s going into it. As Kurt Milne, Managing Director of ITPI, told, “Cloud projects are dependent on business outcomes.”

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ITPI surveyed 143 companies for its study, “Private and Hybrid Cloud IaaS: Project Success Factors.” And the pendulum swung into pinstripe territory for many top performers and organizations that reported a “significant improvement” in areas like service quality, operational efficiency and business outcomes. Successful cloud projects generally enjoyed high visibility among C-level or line-of-business executives.

Keeping users in the loop was also an indicator of a successful cloud project. “Users having a strong experience strongly correlates with project success,” said Milne.

Top performers consistently focused on business agility versus the cloud’s often-touted perks like operational efficiency and cost savings. Those businesses that employed cloud technologies for self-service development and testing, as a self-service resource or for workload scaling, were among those that derived the most benefit from their IT investments.

Milne noted that the greatest predictor of cloud success is an “external first” strategy. External first describes workloads that are tested or prototyped on a public cloud and then brought back in-house.

And companies that are thinking about floating private clouds may want to think twice about completely closing the door on public cloud services. Over half of top performers allow users to access and self-provision across both private and public clouds, according to ITPI. Only 13 percent of low performers that stick to one environment empower their users with self-service capabilities.

On the IT management front, a common theme surfaced among the majority of successful cloud projects. Over 70 percent of top performers reported having experience with lifecycle management tools or had dev/test resources that mimicked their production setups. Only 40 percent of low performers could say the same.

What should IT managers watch out for? Many cloud projects sail over deadlines and incur big costs, warns ITPI.

Over 60 percent of those surveyed reported having trouble sticking to the schedule while over 40 percent said that they went over budget. Another familiar gremlin, namely scope creep, haunted over 30 percent of respondents.

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

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