Voices on Project Management

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Voices on Project Management offers insights, tips, advice and personal stories from project managers in different regions and industries. The goal is to get you thinking, and spark a discussion. So, if you read something that you agree with - or even disagree with - leave a comment.

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9 Challenges in Project Management Clouds

Categories: Cloud Computing

In my previous blog, I discussed the emergence of different project management clouds. Now I'd like to dive deeper into the challenges of those clouds.

Project managers may find themselves operating in two broad types of clouds:

• Private: Private project management clouds are generally controlled, managed and hosted by an organization within a private data center. Restricted access to the cloud is for employees, customers or partners.

• Public: Public project management clouds are made available in a data center on pay per usage model to the public, organizations, etc. The IT infrastructure and project management applications in the public cloud are usually shared across multiple customers.

Some issues and challenges that project managers must be cautious of with these project management clouds:

1. Vulnerability to cyber attacks

To avoid cyber attacks and privacy issues, make sure any project management cloud applications, technologies and infrastructures include built-in security features.

Compliance with security standards and policies is a must, but is also expensive. Factor this security cost into your budgets.

2. Software and interface application programming risks

Project management application software and APIs developed to work with other applications expose clouds to malware attacks..

Lack of security in project management applications and databases are vulnerable to cyber attacks and may cause leakage of confidential information. That leads to heavy penalties and loss of image or credibility of the cloud provider.

Additionally, network bandwidth issues and failure to meet service level agreements also lead to penalties and loss of credibility.

3. Disaster recovery and business continuity

Customers will face serious issues if cloud providers don't have strong disaster recovery and business continuity procedures in place. Cloud providers should have regular dry runs for these risks.

4. Legal issues and penalties  

Lack of knowledge of regulatory policies of various countries might lead to long legal battles. For example, some parts of the world consider it illegal if certain data is stored outside national borders.

For example, the European Union prohibits export of personal data unless the importing country "ensures an adequate level of protection," as certified by the EU Commission. Project managers have to understand the legal and regulatory policies of each country while using clouds.

5. Financial viability and stability of cloud providers

If a cloud provider is not financially sound, it could close its business or be acquired by another organization. Identify all the risks beforehand and be prepared with a mitigation plan.

6. Terms and conditions

Be completely aware of the terms and conditions mentioned in your contract with a cloud provider. Pay attention to security, data protection, IP protection, outages and business continuity.

If a cloud provider doesn't commit on these areas in the contract, find one who will.

7. Network incompatibility

Cloud computing networks built by customers may not be compatible with existing IT infrastructures of project management cloud providers. If networks aren't designed based on open standards, organizations will have integration challenges, so determine this beforehand.

8. Data security challenges

Review a cloud provider's data security measures to make sure project data is secure while transferring to/from cloud servers. The same goes for storing project data on cloud servers. Then perform regular audits on data security compliance.

9. Lack of standards

Cloud computing is an emerging area, thus the standards are also developing to have more interoperability.

Make sure a cloud provider has regular compliance checks for technology, service and security standards to upgrade their services.

What challenges have you faced within the cloud?

Read more from VSR.

Posted by V. Srinivasa Rao on: June 07, 2012 11:36 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Cloud Computing Helps Project Management

Projects act as catalysts that play a vital role in building "a better tomorrow." But without a sophisticated project management platform, it's difficult to be successful.

A project management platform includes policies, procedures, standards, guidelines, integrated project management processes, tools, techniques, templates, project assets library, best practices, learning assets, lessons learned or next practices.

Many micro and small organizations, governments or those in emerging economies frequently don't have the enough money to invest on sophisticated information technology in building and maintaining a project management platform of their own.

This major divide in the profession could be reduced through cloud computing -- providing businesses, governments and individuals with access to a reliable project management platform over internet at an affordable price as per usage (on rental basis). This is called Project Management Cloud (PM Cloud).

Following are a few indicative PM clouds:

• Engineering & Construction PM Cloud
• Information Technology PM Cloud
• Research & Development PM Cloud
• Government PM Cloud
• Education PM Cloud

Those using cloud computing can avoid not only major capital investments, but also the ongoing complexity of managing the technology challenges.

When project management clouds (PM Clouds) are available at an affordable price, as and when needed, they can impact project management in the following ways:

• Provides leapfrog opportunities to emerging economies and small enterprises able to compete globally by leveraging "best-in-class" PM clouds

• Fosters innovation as companies leverage more affordable PM cloud options to experiment

• Minimizes the divide between small and large enterprises. Provides equal opportunities as project management clouds become available at an affordable price

• Allows for global collaboration with project talent around the world

• Facilitates global and interactive learning at an affordable price

We're still in the nascent stage of providing sophisticated integrated project management platforms in the cloud, but eventually, cloud computing will impact the way the project management is done in the future.

How do you think cloud computing is impacting project management?

Posted by V. Srinivasa Rao on: November 23, 2011 03:02 PM | Permalink | Comments (11)
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