With the build phase complete, companies can begin carrying out tests and learn the value of using the cloud through pilot projects and initial implementation. The next step is to expand the approach to achieve their cloud transformation goals.
The scope and timing of this transformation will vary depending on the current technology landscape and industry-specific factors, but the main enablers remain the same.
On the technical side, there are four pillars for this phase:
1. Establish clear principles and guidelines for which technologies, services, and tools will be part of the target ecosystem, and which ones will be decommissioned or only used in specific cases. Having a sharp vision with consistent principles will speed up the design phase of new and updated applications.
2. Develop standard templates, configurations, security policies, and integration mechanisms. It also ensures architectural coherence, a reduction in operational complexity, and cost optimization. This will facilitate the definition of infrastructure requirements and ease validation processes when introducing modern technology stacks. A strong baseline for security and monitoring must also be factored in as a priority.
3. Implement automation to eliminate bottlenecks in repetitive tasks and support a high volume of service and component requests.
This can be done using the standards and toolkits provided by cloud service providers (CSPs) and third parties.
4. Define key performance indicators (KPIs) for modern technology and ensure that standard configurations enable monitoring by design (e.g., monitor spending, usage, downtimes, and enforce tags for granularity) to optimize cloud resources.
In addition to technical scaling, the IT operating model should also evolve to support the transformation, with four key focuses:
- The Cloud Centre of Excellence (CCoE) roles should evolve to have a clear corporate mandate, becoming fully accountable for their responsibilities within the transformation, and providing a single point of contact for each aspect of the pipeline (e.g., deployment, security, monitoring, continuity, and economics).
- Organizational structures and processes should be redesigned to take advantage of automation opportunities provided by the cloud, with strong standardization in terms of requests and input to limit ad-hoc solutions that slow down process execution.
- Proactive cloud cost management and FinOps (Financial Operations), including strong ownership of a CCoE resource with (at least) weekly procedures to identify cost optimization opportunities that can lead up to 20% to 40% savings on monthly cloud costs. This is described in greater detail in the BCG article: “Harnessing the Power of Cloud FinOps.” Business should also be an aware of this process, leveraging granular resource tagging to track the cost of initiatives, applications, and business lines. These should be considered accountable for the cost and be included in the business case.
- Bold upskilling and insourcing plans should be developed to ensure the key skills required to execute the strategy are in place, such as FinOps, Site Reliability Engineering (SRE), cloud architects, and cloud developers.
The phase should take 12-36 weeks to achieve a stable situation. This estimate depends on the aggressiveness of the cloud strategy and the benefits of cloud-based solutions versus on-premises solutions for the specific company.
A high-trust environment is essential during the scaling phase. Empowered teams must be able to make decisions independently, without requiring centralized approvals. Minimal risk decisions can also be pre-defined and pre-approved, so that only the most urgent decisions are handled by senior management, streamlining the governance process.
Recognizing the need for new, different skills is the first step in addressing this challenge. Hiring more experienced staff is one option, but it is not always sufficient as they may lack in-depth knowledge of the company’s specific environment. To overcome this challenge, it is essential to develop detailed upskilling and insourcing plans to ensure that the necessary skills are acquired and retained within the organization.
Many organisations that successfully build and scale their cloud migration make the mistake of becoming too conservative.
They slow their progress and settle for incremental optimisation, rather than taking a truly innovative approach that will set them apart from the competition.
Avoiding “cloud rigidity” calls for innovation, and in the third and final part of this series, we will explore how to take cloud migrations to the next level.
Find out how to master Cloud Success in our article series.