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.
In the first instalment of this series, we discussed the first two layers of our eight-layer Cloud operating model: 'Organisation' and 'People & Culture.'
In this instalment, we address the third and fourth layers: ‘Products and Services’ and ‘Governance and Performance.’ We will provide an overview of the challenges faced in these areas and explain why they are important factors to consider when designing and implementing your Cloud operating model.
Understand customer needs and make them your priority
Product-centric organisations create and improve digital products by putting their customers' needs and wants at the centre of everything they do. These organisations seek to develop new products by adopting innovative technology and by introducing design thinking and prototyping processes. Gartner’s research states that 85% of organisations have either adopted, or plan to adopt, a product-centric application delivery model.
The move towards digitised customer journeys and self-service is re-shaping customer expectations. This shift needs to be reflected internally and requires an integrated operating model based on business outcomes and customer value. Failure to achieve this leaves an organisation at risk of falling into the following pitfalls:
1. Siloed and misaligned processes
Relying on legacy, application-based IT operations can lead to siloed and misaligned processes, jeopardising the transformation and success of Cloud models. This requires a shift in mindset to one which champions business value at its centre and cuts across varying levels of the organisation.
2. BAU focus
An internal focus on BAU and defect monitoring distracts from creating outputs that deliver greater value. BAU issues are important but need to be prioritised against new features or existing work.
3. Disjointed KPIs
Driving disjointed KPIs and objectives that do not match up with customers' expectations is a problem that must be untangled if organisations are truly committed to becoming a product-centric company.
Establishing the product and service mindset early on in a Cloud transformation is necessary in order to allow an organisation to maintain a certain level of pace with the providers. Cloud does not stand still, meaning applications hosted in the Cloud cannot either, so embedding this shift early-on will help you on your Cloud adoption journey. Some early steps that you can take include:
- Identifying core products in the organisation and the potential owners who can represent the business and technical requirements;
- Running smaller projects in a scrum-oriented fashion in preparation for larger projects later on in the transformation.
Understand the pivoting priorities for Cloud
Governance and security requirements fundamentally change with the move to Cloud. With data centres, the governance processes are based around planning for large CAPEX expenditure and long wait times for infrastructure deployment. Security is based around the physical security of the data centre and an advantage exists in owning a private network which you have complete control over.
These processes and priorities need to change when moving to the Cloud. To ensure success in these areas, engagement across the business is key. Establishing these processes up-front and agreeing the criteria with your stakeholders will be essential to maintaining stakeholder engagement and buy-in. Here are some of the areas that need consideration:
OPEX vs CAPEX
The project will need to establish governance functions for budget consumption and report on the benefits achieved against expenditure. Decisions need to be made around the parts of the Cloud infrastructure that can be earmarked as OPEX vs. CAPEX, and cost strategies should be considered (such as reserved instances discounting).
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Legal, regulatory and compliance
One of the major benefits of Cloud is that the providers are actively striving for their infrastructure and services to be pre-packaged with legal and regulatory accreditations, such as ISO and SOC2/3. Organisations moving to the Cloud on a global level must also consider geographical nuances in the legal requirements.
Whilst having a network security element, Cloud architectures have to rely on the physical security of the Cloud data centres or regions. Security investment will also pivot more to zero trust architectures where the identity of the application requesting access is more valuable than the network it is coming from.
The governance forums will need to report on the progress against established business KPIs. Ensuring that there is a project management office function in place to manage KPIs and track them accurately is fundamental to measuring the success of the investment.
Establish a Cloud design council
Your Cloud programme is likely to unearth a large number of new architecture patterns and it is important that these are identified, designed, and matured over time. The Cloud design council, made up of business and technical designers, will help to establish and communicate these.
Configuration management is an item commonly left unaddressed. In light of the significant change in infrastructure and application, this a prime opportunity to rethink your approach to configuration management and your configuration management database.
What to expect in part three
In the third section, we address layers five and six: ‘Partners and Locations’ and ‘Processes of the DMW Operating Model.’