Complete IT from the cloud

By Joost van Lier

Daring. That was PostNL's consideration in becoming the first listed Dutch company to source its entire IT from the cloud. Until three years ago, PostNL - like the majority of large companies - had its IT in its own data center, where it was largely managed by itself. Marcel Krom, Chief Information Officer of PostNL, cites cost savings as the main reason for choosing a "cloud-only strategy. "If the IT is sourced from the cloud, it is cheaper than having the IT in-house. Moreover, the market in which PostNL operates is turbulent: the number of parcels grows by over ten percent a year, while the number of letters shrinks by about ten percent. As a result, the organization is constantly on the move. Ideally, IT moves with it, both in terms of service and cost. You can't do that if you manage IT yourself; you can if you do it from the cloud."

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Rules of the Game

In 2013, the knot was finally tied: PostNL was going to move its IT to the cloud. "The risk of this, is that your IT stuff is not with you anymore, but somewhere else," says Marc Gill'ard of Highberg who worked out the policy, governance and compliance for PostNL's cloud-only strategy. "That means you have to make agreements with your suppliers about how they handle your facilities, what happens if your IT is not available, what options there are if you do want to move to another cloud supplier. We have created a policy in which we describe the ground rules that everyone at PostNL must meet in order to use the cloud. The policy provides direction on issues such as: how do we prevent proliferation of cloud services, how do we ensure consistency and integration of cloud services, how do we deal with new risks, how do we select our cloud suppliers responsibly? Especially with a far-reaching change such as a cloud-only strategy, it is essential to manage these issues from a single overarching vision. That is quite complex within large companies."

Example

The results Highberg achieved in 2013 and 2014 ranged from a cloud policy and governance model established by the board to the ground rules and work processes to carefully select cloud suppliers. This enabled PostNL to realize its cloud-only strategy within a relatively short time frame, maximizing the business benefits from the use of cloud services while at the same time managing the risks posed by cloud services. Gill'ard: "This project helps PostNL to effectively respond to the need of consumers to send more parcels. In addition, the costs of the ICT for sending mail move better with the shrinking market and thus turnover. We at Highberg are proud to have been involved in the realization of this innovative cloud strategy, which continues to set the example for many other companies and governments." 

Want to know more about this assignment or the topic of cloud strategy? If so, please contact Joost van Lier

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