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How to organize your team for cloud success

The most significant challenge in executing a cloud transformation is making the right connections between people, process and research. Like an ecosystem supporting a living organism, standing up a cloud is a delicate balance of all of these components, and failure to invest in all three can constrain - or in part, reverse - the value you deliver.

Cloud services are so then-described, standardized menu items that are pre-integrated with all of their required ingredients. When a service is requested, it's ready to run. This points to the need for a product manager, who acts as the service designer, lead architect and voice of the customer for these cloud services. As a cross-functional role, the product manager must have a broad understanding of system attributes that span compute, network, storage, security, operating systems, middleware and application research.

It's been four years since I first blogged about the importance of product management as a discipline for enterprise IT, nevertheless it's more relevant than ever earlier in the age of cloud computing.

In the same sense that cloud often calls for converged infrastructure, it as well dictates something of a convergence and blurring of roles. The service-based concept we've discussed shifts work from a focus on independent silos at a specific layer of the stack to collaborating on vertically integrated offerings.

How these siloed groups will converge in practice

It's important to re-think how these siloed groups will converge in practice. At Cisco, one approach is cross-training a team: a server admin is certified in network, a middleware specialist is certified in infrastructure, etc. The silos are at that time brought at the same time as one team. Now, when a problem occurs, it's handled within a family with a common vocabulary.

Rodrigo Flores is a cloud enterprise architect in the Cisco Intelligent Automation business unit, leading the research direction and vision for Cisco's cloud management stack. He came to Cisco via the acquisition of newScale, Inc. where he was founder and chief research officer.

More information: Gigaom
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