Migration to the Cloud-First Model
Shaown Nandi is Chief Information Officer for Dow Jones. He is responsible for Cloud, DevOps, End-User Support, Networks, Infrastructure, and SaaS applications. Shaown has a deep focus on Cloud Services and has led the relationships with Amazon and Google and driven Dow Jones adoption of public cloud
What are some of the major challenges and trends that have been impacting the IT Service Management space lately?
I think the migration or moment on the digital and infrastructure to a cloud-first and a software as a service model is both a challenge and an opportunity for the IT service management space these days. Every organization is grappling to adopt cloud, especially the public cloud, and SaaS, thinking about the impact their business metrics, to be moved from a capital model to an operational model. Companies are worried about handing over such a critical responsibility scale to third-party providers, its governance, and security in the new model. We have been very focused on all these issues as we are a cloud-first and SaaS company, working in this business for a long time to start taking on technologies such as AI and big data, making them work for our business.
Do not be overfocused on how you operate and on how ITFM works today. Think about how it is going to work after 6, 12, or 18 months
What are the technological trends that are helping tackle these challenges?
Everybody talks about the advent of AI, ML, and big data, and at first, I tried to elude this, but then I realized the importance of data-driven business. We are a data-driven business at Dow Jones, which is the result of migration to a public cloud model. That means that you now have unlimited capacity and ability to hold your data and also use prebuilt algorithms, models, and operations, or allow major cloud providers to work with your data. You don’t have to go through the massive expense or capital expense as we are not going to reinvent but use your toolsets to reinvent your work which would require a small investment. So it is a fundamental shift away from making these big one-stop decisions to implement things like analysts rather than just ongoing innovation-led investment that you can do.
What keeps you up at night when it comes to some of the significant predicaments in the IT Service Management space?
The thing that keeps us awake at night is security, specifically in ITFM. One of the necessary things to think about as you move to the public cloud model is how to manage change— taking care of cutting tickets for everything or have highly planned change windows or enabling engineers and developers to really build things quickly and enhance the production. While managing and finding ways to enable all these things, we have to make sure that the adoption and transformation process is safe and secure for our clients still covering the midway. We have cost management controls and what troubles me at night is if I don’t give my clients a simple SaaS path they are going to look for some third party path. We constantly find the right tension and balance, making it easy for clients to make a change and deploy new technologies such as AI, Ml, big data or digitalization in the way that doesn’t compromise the security landscape.
Could you shed light on some of the projects that you are working on? What are the technological and process elements that you have leveraged to make these initiatives successful?
We have adopted a new toolset for our service desk, including micro calls for our business with our call centers. We adopted Amazon connect for our service desk to manage their telephony over a modern model i.e., voice-based. They manage their ticketing with a high degree of integration with our existing toolset, but it doesn't require building and deploying new platform like it is in public cloud-hosted model. The huge trend that is currently prevailing in the market is moving to a self-service model that is cloud-hosted. Most company networks ask for help and request assistance. We head a whole bunch of key trend and areas with implementation which is freeing our users from being on the network—enabling our service i.e., SaaS team to unlock advanced technologies moving to a public cloud model for a key underlying technology.
What are the future trends that you see in IT service management?
Things that we are struggling with and wondering trend-wise as we move to serverless technologies and container-based technologies, are tracking and managing change in that space. How do you deal with immobile containers and divert changes in the space? How do you bring some of the service management principles and interlink them in finance? For instance, earlier, you used to think about cutting change tickets to have control and governance, but now we are building our new infrastructure and launching new products that are financial and business case complications. How to measure the actual dollar value as part of the deployment and building process? So the trend is shift ITFM from being just about governing it and having a move into somebody's adjacent spaces like financial operations. From the business side and tech side, the adoption of next-gen technology to go well beyond to disrupts the service which classic IT service struggle with that space as well.
Would you like to give a piece of advice for the CIO community as to how should they approach this industry?
I want to say that do not be overfocused on how you operate and ITFM works today. Think about how it is going to work after 6, 12, or 18 months as a landscape shift is going to impact your service management from on-premise, license software-based, SaaS-based, or public cloud-based. You need to make decisions based on future conditions and not present. You have to fulfill the demand of engineers for nimbleness to maintain and attract them.