Moving to public cloud increases project complexity: Study

The next two years will show a 13 per cent increase among enterprises for project and portfolio management (PPM) as they plan and deploy cloud initiatives, according to new research by Ovum.

The study,The PPM Cloud Accelerator Report 2011, commissioned by Islandia, N.Y.-based software vendor CA Technologies Inc., polled 530 companies in Canada, Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, U.K. and U.S.

Barry Cousins, senior research analyst with London, Ont.-based Info-Tech Research Group Inc., who is currently working on two PPM research projects, says the estimate is heading in the right direction. However, he predicts it will be even higher at about 25 per cent across the next two years.

“It’s under where I would have put it,” said Cousins.

The survey finds that the estimated 13 per cent rise in demand for PPM is the highest increase across all types of software used to manage public cloud projects.

That ranking doesn’t surprise Cousins. The runner-ups behind PPM, he said, would likely be monitoring software for measuring performance and utilization of resources because the cost for cloud offerings can vary so much that enterprises need a plan to know when those costs will change.

The other runner-up behind PPM, said Cousins, is data integration tools, because moving to the cloud results in a “real degradation” of data due to a lack of strategies to harmonize information housed in the cloud. He added it’s much like the harmonization that’s done on on-premise data dispersed across an enterprise.

Overall, the study suggests cloud initiatives require an extra level of management. Specifically, 41.5 per cent of respondents expect public cloud deployments to increase IT project complexity.

Cousins said IT departments may be a bit surprised that cloud projects are harder to manage. Every part of the project lifecycle is impacted when in the cloud. “Think of it as more project control … All of a sudden, you’re doing things you don’t do before,” said Cousins.

What used to be departmental roles among IT staff for infrastructure provisioning is now a contract established with an external service provider, said Cousins.

And, he added, what used to be capacity planning by the IT department within the confines of the enterprise is now “about a legal agreement and pricing you must determine up front” with the provider.

Helge Scheil, senior vice-president with CA Technologies, said the study illustrates the role of PPM software in helping IT departments manage cloud deployments, in particular with app migration and governance.

IT leaders must keep an eye on cloud costs, said Scheil, and “need to retain visibility and control to ensure the transformative value of cloud computing does not come at a high cost.”

The study also found North American organizations will allocate 17 per cent of IT budgets to public cloud initiatives by end of 2013.

Just last February, Palo Alto, Calif.-based Hewlett-Packard Co. expanded the scope of its PPM portfolio with HP PPM 9.1 to cover all organizational projects, not just IT projects.

The goal was that the new software version would attract end users beyond the IT department to any group managing an enterprise project.

Follow Kathleen Lau on Twitter: @KathleenLau

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