Recent headlines document numerous companies’ about-face in their pursuit of a cloud-focused existence. After enthusiastically embracing the cloud, akin to the charge of the light brigade, some organizations are aggressively retreating to the relative security and familiarity of on-premises data centers that offer a greater sense of infrastructure control. Without judging any business pursuing this course of action, I can offer my own perspective which I liken to a challenging, and at times treacherous, journey to the summit of Mount Everest.
For many organizations, increased cost is a primary factor cited for withdrawing from the cloud. All too often, businesses take their initial steps into the cloud, launch their first cloud application, and progressively scale up their cloud infrastructure without consideration for controls, governance, and appreciation of costs. The cloud may promise the proverbial pot of gold at the end of the rainbow but successfully finding that pot requires the navigational skills of a seasoned Mount Everest climber. Every cloud journey comes with hard work, time, upskilling, and the inevitability of errors. And I believe it’s these very errors that serve as crucial learning experiences to be better positioned and more flexible for future endeavors in the cloud. As Mount Everest climbers experience the dangers of falling, altitude sickness, and avalanches, you too may experience serious pitfalls in the form of insufficient expertise, a shortage of control, and unforeseen expenses as you journey towards realizing the benefits of the cloud. To be successful, one must ensure that the proper level of governance and guidelines are defined, and followed, as early as possible. A mountain of challenges will hinder progress, but a well thought-out and documented process can ensure your cloud journey remains on track and under control.
To achieve this, the Cloud Centre of Excellence (CCoE) is an extensive framework encompassing the personnel, workflows, and technological tools required to execute cloud-enabled transformation. As per Gartner’s report “How to Deploy a Cloud Center of Excellence” by Lydia Leong, a successful CCoE is built upon three pillars:
- Governance – the CCOE leads and governs the adoption of cloud computing so that the organization adopts good practices and manages risks appropriately. This includes guidelines, protocols for security, cost management, cloud network infrastructure.
- Brokerage – the CCOE helps to match business needs with high-quality cloud solutions and strives to maximize the business value of cloud computing. This includes solutioning, reference architecture and vendor selection.
- Transformation: the CCOE drives change leadership around cloud computing and facilitates the spread of cloud expertise throughout the organization. This includes best practices, training, collaboration, and knowledge sharing between teams to leverage strengths from each team member.
Development and Dev Ops teams working in the cloud are sometimes like children in a candy shop, overwhelmed by the exciting variety of resources, tools and options available to make their lives better. Yet, it can be difficult to determine where to begin, and which appealing choices to select. By opting for Enterprise Support, you can leverage the expertise of Technical Account Managers, Solution Architects, and top-notch training resources. In Mount Everest journey terms, this is like having a ski lift take you to the next camp! It more than recovers the support cost. The cloud provider’s team should offer comprehensive guidance to understand and execute best practices, governance, and costs within their ecosystem.
As the adage goes, knowledge is indeed power. Hence, it is imperative for teams to possess adequate training to implement, operate, and govern the cloud environment. A wise climber wouldn’t charge up a formidable mountain without proper equipment and first having trained on smaller treks. Knowledge, practice and training is critical. Achieve smaller successes to ensure larger victories.
In conclusion, every journey is unique to the traveler; therefore, the cloud journey needs to be tailored to your particular business needs. Just as climbing Mount Everest has several stages — such as basecamp, basecamp 2, and summit — so does any cloud journey. And success for your business might start with reaching basecamp. Ultimately, preparation is fundamental to success. Set goals to be achieved, coupled with a plan on how to achieve them. Start by understanding the role the cloud can play in your ecosystem. Determine what benefits you desire, and what constitutes success, and then progress from there by ensuring all teams required to implement, operate, and govern the cloud environment are adequately trained.
Moving to the cloud is not solely the Technology department’s challenge. All departments will be affected: Business Operations, Legal, HR, and Finance, to name a few. Make sure everyone is represented and participating. Whatever stage you’re in with your cloud journey, remember to collaborate with colleagues, partners and vendors, keep an open mind, and be prepared to make mistakes and most important learn from them.