Thursday, July 31, 2014

Cloud Service Automation Eases Application Delivery for Global Service Provider NNIT

Transcript of a BriefingsDirect podcast on how cloud service automation can improve deployment of IT applications and delivery for higher efficiency.

Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes. Download the transcript. Sponsor: HP.

Dana Gardner: Hello, and welcome to the next edition of the HP Discover Podcast Series. I’m Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, your host and moderator for this ongoing sponsored discussion on IT innovation and how it’s making an impact on people’s lives.

Gardner
Once again, we’re focusing on how companies are adapting to the new style of IT to improve IT performance and deliver better user experiences, and business results. This time, we’re coming to you directly from the recent HP Discover Conference in Barcelona.

Our next innovation case study interview highlights how NNIT uses HP Cloud Service Automation (CSA) to improve their deployment of IT applications and data, and to provide higher overall efficiency. To learn more, we’re joined by Jesper Bagh, IT Architect and cloud expert at NNIT, based in Copenhagen. Welcome, Jesper.

Jesper Bagh: Thank you very much, Dana.

Gardner: So tell us a little about your company and what you do. Then, we’ll get into some of the problems and solutions that you've been tasked with resolving.

Bagh: NNIT is a service provider located in Denmark. We have offices around the world, China, Philippines, Czech Republic, and the United States. We’re 2,200 employees globally and we're a subsidiary of Novo Nordisk, the pharmaceutical company known for making insulin.

Bagh
Gardner: IT Architect, that’s an interesting title. Tell us what you do and what you were doing before you achieved that rank. What are your job responsibilities?

Bagh: My responsibility is to ensure for the company that business goals can be delivered through functional requirements, and in turning the functional requirements into projects that can be delivered by the organization.

Gardner: I know that the IT architect and cloud architect individuals are in high demand in a lot of companies. Tell us how you’ve evolved your thinking toward a cloud deployment, and explain how you are using HP CSA to accomplish that.

Full suite

Bagh: We embarked on CSA together with HP back in 2010. Back then, CSA consisted of many different software applications. It wasn't really complete software back then. Now, it’s a full suite of software.

It has helped us to show to our internal groups -- and our customers -- that we have services in the cloud. For us it has been a tremendous journey to show that you can deliver these services fully automatically, and by running them well, we can gain great efficiency.

Gardner: And has the ability to be more service-oriented in your cloud activities filtered back into more of IT? Are you extending this thinking about service, catalog, and delivery into other aspects of IT, in addition to cloud?

Bagh: We’re a wall-to-wall, full-service provider. So we provide both application development management and infrastructure outsourcing. Cloud is just one aspect that we’re delivering services on. Before we did the cloud project, we started off by doing service-portfolio management and cataloging of our services, trying to standardize the services that we have on the shelf ready for our customers.

That allowed us to put offerings into a cloud, and to show the process of standardizing of services, doing cloud well, and of focusing on the dedicated customers. We still have customers using our facility management who are not able to leverage cloud services because of compliance or regulatory demands.

We have roughly over 10,000 services in our data centers. We’re trying now to broaden the capabilities of cloud delivery to the rest of the infrastructure so that we get a more competitive edge. We’re able to deliver better quality, and the end users -- at the end of the day -- get their services faster.
Back in the good old days, developers were in one silo and operations were in another silo. Now, we see a mix of resources, both in operations and in development.

Gardner: Has this clearly benefited your speed-to-value when it comes to new applications. How do your developer and test and automation individuals react to this?

Bagh: The adaption of automation is an ongoing journey. I imagine other companies have also had the opportunity of adapting to a new breed of software, and a new life in automation and orchestration. What we see is that the traditional operations divisions now suddenly get developers trying to comprehend what they mean, and trying to have them work together to deliver operations automatically.

Back in the good old days, developers were in one silo, and operations were in another silo. Now, we see a mix of resources -- both in operations and in development. So the organizational change management derived from automation projects is key. We started up, when we did service cataloging and service portfolio management, by doing organizational change to see if this could fit into our vision.

Gardner:  Now, a lot of people these days like to measure things. It’s a very data-driven era. Have you been able to develop any metrics of how your service automation and cloud-infrastructure developments have shown results, whether it’s productivity benefits or speeds and feeds? Have you measured this as a time-to-value or a time-to-delivery benefit? What have you come up with?

Value-add

Bagh: As part of the cloud project, we did two things. We did infrastructure as a service (IaaS), but we also did a value add on IaaS. We were able to deliver qualified IaaS to the life science industry fully compliant. That alone, in the traditional infrastructure, would have taken us weeks or months to deliver servers because of all the process work involved. When we did the CSA and the GxP Cloud, we were able to deliver the same server within a matter of hours. So that’s a measurable efficiency that is highly recognized.

Gardner:  For other organizations that are also grappling with these issues and trying to go over organization and silo boundaries for improvement in collaboration, do you have any words of advice? Now that you've been doing this for some time and at that key architect level, which I think is really important, what thoughts do you have that you could share with others, lessons learned perhaps?

Bagh: The lesson learned is that having senior management focus on the entire process is key. Having the organization recognized is a matter of change management. So communication is key. Standardization before automation is key.

You need to start out by doing your standardization of your services, doing the real architectural work, identifying which components you have and which components you don't have, and matching them up. It’s trying to do all the Lego blocks in order to build the house. That’s key. The parallel that I always use is there is nothing different for me as an architect than there is for an architect building a house.
The next step for us is to be more proactive than reactive in our monitoring and reporting capabilities, because we want to be more transparent to our customers.

Gardner:  Looking to the future, are there other aspects of service delivery, perhaps ways in which you could gather insights into what's happening across your infrastructure and the results, that end users are seeing through the applications? Do you have any thoughts about where the next steps might be?

Bagh: The next step for us is to be more transparent to our customers. So the vision is now we can deliver services fully automatically. We can run them semi-automatically. We will still do funny stuff from time to time that you need to keep your eyes on. But in order for us to show the value, we need to report on it.

The next step for us is to be more proactive than reactive in our monitoring and reporting capabilities, because we want to be more transparent to our customers. We have a policy called Open and Honest Value-Adding. From that, we want to show our customers that if we can deliver a service fully automatically and standardized, they know what they get because they see it in a catalog. Then, we should be able to report on it live for the users.

Gardner: Very good. I’m afraid we will have to leave it there. We’ve been learning about how NNIT is improving their delivery and performance of applications through the use of an important cloud-service automation technologies.

Gardner: So a big thank you to our guest, Jesper Bagh, IT Architect and Cloud Expert at NNIT, based in Copenhagen. Thank you so much.

Bagh: Thank you, Dana.

Gardner: And thank you too to our audience for joining this special new style of IT discussion coming to you directly from the HP Discover 2013 Conference in Barcelona.

I’m Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, your host for this ongoing series of HP Sponsored Discussions. Thanks again for listening, and come back next time.

Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes. Download the transcript. Sponsor: HP.

Transcript of a BriefingsDirect podcast on how cloud service automation can improve deployment of IT applications and delivery for higher efficiency. Copyright Interarbor Solutions, LLC, 2005-2014. All rights reserved.

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