In this four-part series, we offer practical advice as to how organisations can successfully implement cloud by running through the detail of our eight-layer cloud operating model.
Modern organisations are competing to be the first to market with a compelling digital product. This forces organisations to seek opportunities to be adaptive to changing demands, drive value, and improve customer experience whilst reducing the cost to serve.
These demands see organisations taking on large, complex cloud transformation programmes to reap the benefits of pay-as-you-go models and on-demand, highly configurable infrastructure services.
The right approach
Organisations need to take a holistic approach to implementing cloud in the organisation. It is not enough to simply focus on the technical implementation, the design of the organisation across multiple layers should also be considered. This is needed to support and enable the adoption of cloud across the firm. Organisations also need to agree upon the drivers for change at the beginning of the programme, recognising that cloud adoption is not just centred on financial benefits and needs to consider what is important to the organisation.
There is often a need to adopt new ways of working in order to deliver the optimal results. This includes implementing Agile and product-based thinking, creating new processes to obtain funding or request change, and establishing teams across traditional organisational boundaries.
Our eight-layer cloud operating model has been useful in helping organisations ensure they have covered all bases when designing a new cloud operating model.
As part of this series, we will go through each layer in detail in order to explain what should be done at each step.
Understand the organisation, roles, and responsibilities
Operating models need to start by being designed around people and the way they communicate, from employees through to end customers. Organisations are building structures that enable seamless access to people, processes, and systems from anywhere in the world.
Key challenges when re-designing an organisation’s structure are centred on the level of change required to move from the current to the future operating model.
Organisations’ IT departments are commonly built with a hierarchical structure; we find that matrix organisation structures become common with the adoption of cloud. Changing structures is challenging if the current and future operating models and change impacts are not defined. The matrix structures, together with agile ways of working, enable the organisation to be more adaptive to changing demands.
The current organisational structure and its future state need to be based on an in-depth understanding of the organisation. Operating model iterations will increase should an organisation have a limited understanding of how their business works. Organisation structures need to be designed to provide people with a focus to work on delivering the outcomes prioritised by the organisation.
As is to be expected, employees can be resistant to change where new roles, responsibilities, and skillsets are required and where some manual tasks are automated. Organisations need to start communication and engagement at the earliest opportunity, establishing the vision and the 'why,' as well as communicating what the impact will be for staff. New training plans and involvement should be highlighted to drive enthusiasm in the change.
Understand the behaviours and values that make up the culture of the organisation
Identifying and changing the culture of an organisation is challenging to achieve and maintain. Organisations need to develop the case for change and articulate the initial vision of what the future state and high-level benefits will be with their staff. To support engagement, organisations need to set up change champion networks and drop-in sessions, as well as utilising newsletters, town halls, and messaging channels (such as Teams).
An organisational focus on operating model design and implementation done without key stakeholder participation and buy-in will negatively impact cloud delivery and adoption. Organisations need to get staff and stakeholder buy-in, as well as understanding what and how the staff are thinking and feeling about the transformation. It is only by developing an understanding of this that issues can be addressed as and when they arise.
Employees at all levels will need to have at least a basic understanding of what the move to a cloud operating model means. Rolling out training across the firm that levels employees' knowledge of Cloud will help them develop an understanding of what the move really means for them.
With teams empowered to work from anywhere in the world, fostering a culture that embraces change will improve productivity and accelerate the pace of the change.
These benefits also translate into prospective employees. Modern technical and engineering professionals are seeking to work with cutting-edge technology in modern-structured organisations. Having a compelling offer in this area will give your organisation a competitive advantage by attracting the best new talent in a competitive market.
What to expect in Part Two
In our second instalment, we address the third and fourth layer of our operating model: ‘Products and Services’ and ‘Governance and Performance.’ We will delve into key challenges such as how to establish a product-centric mindset and governance challenges around managing consumption against budgets.