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Cloud Journey Success for CIOs –Challenges- Roadmap ... Cloud Center of Excellence... Cloud First to Cloud Smart

CIOs plays vital role in adapting new technologies in the organizations with technical know-how, keeping organizations’ goals and customer’s requirements in mind. Many surveys have revealed that 65% of CEOs, in their strategies, prefer CIO/ CTO as the most dynamic role in strategic management and technology adoption. 

Implementation of cloud or cloud migration is an uphill task and CIOs takeaway from the constant drumbeat of cloud migration have many challenges, thus require a strategy and road map to make it successful. 

Key Challenges 

  • Nonalignment of cloud and business expectations embark substantial challenge to I&O leaders making it difficult to design a strategy to meet business goals. 
  • Security and compliance issues with existing IT governance and foundational practices, which I&O leaders to address. 
  • Decision makers have different perception that a cloud-first approach maximizes speed, limiting I&O 
  • Capability of leaders to adapt successful cloud journey. 

Cloud Strategy Planning 

Enterprise architecture and technology innovation leaders accountable for devising a cloud strategy should:  

  • Maximize the effectiveness of cloud strategy by involving the business and functional areas in its formation. For example, leverage expertise of those in the actual business units as well as the HR, legal and finance business units.  
  • Devise an exit strategy that will give agility, enabling to respond to the implications of unforeseen events. Make it wide-ranging and reasonable, covering issues such as backup, data ownership, portability and lock-in, as well as legal and contractual issues. 
  • Separate cloud strategy from implementation plan, making strategy in the decision phase. Move discussion of how to select providers, migrate workloads to the cloud and manage the use of cloud computing to cloud implementation plan. 

Roadmap 

Many organizations fail to differentiate a cloud strategy with a cloud implementation plan (also known as a cloud adoption plan or cloud migration plan). However, a cloud strategy must come first. It's the decision phase in which organizations must decide the role that cloud computing will play - if any - in their organization. A cloud implementation plan comes next, putting the cloud strategy into effect. 

Strategic planning starts at the top of the organization (from the CEO and board of directors) and describes the organization's vision. A cloud strategy is part of the next level down in the organization's three-layer strategic planning architecture with other strategic plans, such as the data center strategy, security strategy and architecture strategy. Below is a plethora of activities as part of cloud roadmap that leaders initiate: 

  • Identification of organization’s vision and need for cloud; and align cloud strategy with business goal 
  • Excavate dependencies among applications, infrastructure, and operations; and research and evaluate cloud strategy 
  • Create an agile and automated data center to modernize on-premises infrastructure 
  • Make sure on-premises compatibility with available infrastructure from public cloud providers 
  • Evaluate cloud migration and deployment models, priorities, resources, and service providers 
  • Collaborate with skilled and professional cloud vendor to support technological, cultural and organizational changes 
  • Track cost, security, access, usage and governance by deploying enterprise monitoring software 
  • Leverage automation to manage the capacity and performance of infrastructure 
  • Run the testing using non-critical workloads to understand the timeframe, and utilization of resources; and recruit the resources expertise in cloud and cloud migration 
  • Support the team with sufficient tools and resources 

Cloud Center of Excellence (CCoE) 

Gartner defines CCoE as a “centralized enterprise architecture function that leads and governs cloud computing adoption within an organization”, through which CIOs communicate what their vision is. It’s a team with responsibility to develop a framework for the organization’s cloud operations. CCoE governs the IT infrastructure and builds out best practices throughout the business.  

In IT parlance, a CCoE is as similar to the DevOps team of an organization. CCoE ensures IT teams compliant with cloud optimization practices. A CCoE is responsible for developing and managing the cloud strategy, governance, and best practices that the rest of the organization can leverage to transform the business using the cloud. Key principles of CCoE are: 

  • Building a team of resources expertise in cloud practice to balance tools and teamwork (and culture) for DevOps practices to succeed 
  • Defining team’s responsibilities for cloud optimization 
  • Enabling the team to share and uphold best cloud practices across the organization 

Three pillars of CCoE 

Gartner unveils three pillars, as the most vital, for establishing a CCoE: 

  • Brokerage- Helps user to identify right vendors, architectures, and cloud solutions to collaborate with the teams for contract negotiations and vendor management 
  • Community- Develops knowledge base, code repository, cloud community of practice councils and training events, as well as through outreach and company collaboration  
  • Governance –It requires policies to be created in collaboration with cross functional teams using a set of defined governance tools to provide financial and risk management.  

Objectives of CCoE: 

Key objectives include:  

  • Develop a modern IT organization through agile approaches to capture and implement business requirements. 
  • Use reusable deployment packages that align with security, compliance, and management policies. 
  • Maintain a functional cloud platform in alignment with operational procedures.  
  • Review and approve the use of cloud-native tools.  
  • Regiment and automate commonly needed platform components and solutions over time 

CCoE Benefits: 

According to a survey conducted by AWS, 83% of organizations reveled that CCoE is effective; and 96 % believe they would benefit from a CCoE. Key benefits include: 

  • Reducing security risks (56 %) 
  • Reducing costs (50 %) 
  • Improving the ability to be agile and innovative (44 %) 

Cloud First to Cloud Smart 

Adoption of cloud first lowered the burden of managing infrastructure off of the hands of employees and freed them up to focus on essential tasks. It’s more resilient compared to on-prem. Organizations can easily spin up new environments to meet a global customer base, versus setting up a whole new datacenter.  

However, many organizations have realized that Cloud-First is not enough as it’s hard to resist putting all your applications in the public cloud because of heavy workload, which are suitable for on-prem or private cloud infrastructure. It is evident that Cloud-First approach helps organizations to migrate all applications to the cloud, starting with the easiest ones first. However, a Cloud-Smart strategy allows to get into the cloud irrespective of complexity of the application.  

Instead of migrating all applications to cloud, a cloud-smart approach allows organizations to take a strategic look at what infrastructure will best serve each workload. 60% of organizations show interest towards replacing their existing cloud strategy with Cloud Smart, according to Gartner report. 

Cloud Smart strategy is developed on three components i.e. Security, Procurement and Workforce, which collectively, exemplify the interdisciplinary approach to IT modernization that the enterprise needs in order to provide improved return on investments, enhanced security, and higher quality services to its customers.  

Best practices for Cloud Smart 

  • Address gap between cloud expectations and reality: I & O leaders must address the issues persisted from the gap between the existing cloud strategy to required strategy, gap between the existing and required operating model, and gap between existing practices to required practices such as governance, policy and security. This enables organizations to set realistic goals and transparent business outcomes. 
  • Automated governance strategy: I&O leaders should emphasize on creating and automating a governance strategy to reduce the risk of losing control of their cloud environment. Establishing a CCOE enables central information technology organizations to express the CIO’s cloud strategy and the business to choose the best solutions. 
  • Cloud Smart FEVER (Faster, Easier, Valuable, Efficient, Repeat): Replacing Cloud First with Cloud Smart delivers quick results such as agility, innovation and cost-efficiency with the attributes and goals of the overall organization. Gartner proposed that I&O leaders can achieve this and prioritize the workloads through a cyclic approach which is faster, easier, valuable, efficient, and repeat, or “FEVER”.