The Cloud Intelligence Agency

Bob Ivkovic, Principal of IT Architects

January 26, 2021

When I think of intelligence, I think of the CIA – short for the Central Intelligence Agency. The CIA gathers, processes, and analyzes national security information in order to protect the US from danger such as terrorism and military attacks. The CIA’s purpose is to prevent or divert danger before it happens. Organizations also collect data to prevent their systems and applications from crashing or being taken over by enemy forces. They constantly evaluate information to keep their systems well-integrated and performing optimally. However, this is becoming more complicated as organizations manage their business applications and processes in the cloud. Organizations must now engage a CIA of their own – a Cloud Intelligence Agency, or what is more commonly referred to, a Cloud Center of Excellence (CCoE) – to help manage and align cloud platforms to business requirements. 

The challenges of cloud implementations include the lack of IT visibility, cost management, increased security, and compliance violations. The list goes on. This requires cloud tools and services to manage their cloud ecosystem. This has become a daunting exercise for organizations as they spend time, money, and resources implementing the right cloud platform to support their business. We at IT Architects have come across LeanIX Cloud Intelligence which supports organizations in aligning their business requirement with cloud, managing their public and private cloud platforms, and sustaining accelerated rates of cloud adoption. Backed by a team of dedicated implementation agents and on-call support staff, LeanIX customers are never stranded on their cloud journey. 

LeanIX Cloud Intelligence

LeanIX Cloud Intelligence is part of the LeanIX Cloud-Native Suite. The SaaS solution automatically discovers and catalogs cloud components from AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud Platform. Using dashboards and reports, organizations can quickly visualize the status quo of their multi-cloud environment and assess its compliance, risk, and cloud spending posture. These features form a baseline for implementing effective governance atop used cloud services by identifying deviations and addressing them to relevant stakeholders.

Unlike cloud management platforms, this approach enables organizations to increase agility without limiting developers or setting up rigid governance processes. Rather, the CCoE oversees the current multi-cloud environment and monitors and addresses the adherence to desired policies. Implementing standardized tags, or allocating cloud services to the right cost center and business context can become a collaborative and aligned endeavor using LeanIX. Further, data from the Cloud Intelligence workspace can be aggregated, distilled, and automatically synchronized into a LeanIX Enterprise Architecture workspace to better equip Enterprise Architects to plan and execute cloud migrations and enable them to manage technology risk comprehensive by including up-to-date lifecycle information of IT components sitting in the cloud.

No matter how complex and mature an organization’s cloud footprint is, LeanIX presents a scalable solution to support the adoption of cloud-native technologies in a fast, efficient, and compliant manner.   The following LeanIX Cloud Intelligence capabilities are provided by LeanIX to its cloud customers.

    1. Automated multi-cloud service discovery and catalog

LeanIX Cloud Intelligence offers the CCoE and infrastructure teams an aggregation layer to easily digest and assess an organization’s multi-cloud landscape. The data is automatically captured directly from the hyperscalers Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform.  For daily use, the CCoE can customize their LeanIX Cloud Intelligence dashboards and reports for quick views on compliance and risk violations, cloud spends show back, and adherence to desired tagging policies. This allows them to better understand their multi-cloud environment and answer questions such as the following:

• Which cloud services are used and where?

• Who is responsible for the cloud service and how much do we spend?

• Is our cloud environment compliant with regulatory requirements (e.g., data residency)?

• What business-related applications already run in the cloud?

This baseline helps you to continuously evolve your cloud footprint by addressing and mitigating violations (e.g., availability, best practices, security, performance and billing), optimizing cloud spend, and setting up smart governance. Overall, the CCoE can facilitate and ensure that the organization’s cloud footprint is in line with a cloud strategy.

    1. Showback cloud spend

With cloud services used across hyperscalers and in different accounts, creating a holistic overview on cloud spend is complex. Organizations struggle with increasing cloud spend when they do know where spending occurs and how it supports the business create value. With LeanIX Cloud Intelligence you can visualize cloud spend over time across all accounts and regions and track its evolution. All information arrives directly from hyperscalers and is guaranteed for accuracy.

Also, by knowing what you spend where and who is responsible for it you can easily grasp the business context of your investment and better assess whether cloud spend and value delivered is balanced. Further, instantly identify unused cloud services and free up budget to continuously optimize your cloud spend. Organized alongside the TBM framework, the CCoE provides IT controlling with a baseline to thoroughly manage IT spend.

    1. Manage cloud tagging

Assigning consistent metadata to cloud services is crucial to understand your cloud resources in the context of your business. To make the most use of tagging, organizations need to: (1) establish tagging policies and conventions, (2) align them with all involved stakeholders (e.g., from the account owner to development teams), and (3) monitor their implementation. LeanIX Cloud Intelligence tagging management capabilities provide you with exactly that. By reading out all used cloud services and their assigned tags, you can create a baseline to assess the status quo of your tagging practice. This also makes it possible to identify which tags are being used and how to agree on a set of standard tags and values to build a system of record for desired tagging policies. Moving forward, you can then address untagged cloud services and used tags that deviate from your standards. Over time, you can closely track the adherence to tags, and as your tagging practice matures, enable the use of tags for automation (e.g., to embed infrastructure-as-code processes).

As IT infrastructure progressively moves toward the cloud, enterprises need to understand not only the business value of developing and deploying cloud-native applications but also how to deal with the strategic IT management challenges of cloud deployments. This becomes more important for organizations that support hybrid and multi-cloud environments and becomes exacerbated by integrating both public and private cloud environments. LeanIX Cloud Intelligence provides solutions for effectively governing multi-cloud infrastructures and accelerating the adoption of cloud-native technologies.

Mr. Bob Ivkovic is a Principal with IT Architects in Calgary, Alberta.  IT Architects (www.itarchitects.ca) is an information consulting firm specializing in business process optimization, system evolution planning, and the deployment of leading-edge technologies.  If you require further information, Bob can be reached at ivkovic@itarchitects.ca or 403-630-1126.

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