Your entry pass to the cloud world – a Cloud Operating Model

Your entry pass to the cloud world – a Cloud Operating Model

Planning your migration to cloud? Looking to adopt Microsoft Azure cloud services for your enterprise and hybrid infrastructure? One of the first steps you need take is to set up a Cloud Operating Model well before moving the first server/resource to cloud.

A Cloud Operating Model defines the way in which people, process and platform should work together in a cloud environment to ensure agility in technology development and business and achieve the desired organizational goals. The right Cloud Operating Model offers assurance that you’ve got the right team and culture to take decisions, drive changes, evolve, innovate and grow while your organization adopts cloud.

An important point to note is that no one team has responsibility for setting up Cloud Operating Model principles. Rather, it is the collaborative responsibility of all teams – IT Operations, IT Project and even Business. But there will definitely be a need for a central governing body like a Cloud Center of Excellence (Cloud CoE) to ensure set up of the principles and to drive them through. Some companies set up their own Cloud CoE team, while other establish it in partnership with service companies, such as Capgemini/Sogeti.

Getting it right is important. So, at Sogeti, we have drawn up the following guidelines to setting up and operating with a Cloud Operating Model:

  • Define Goals: A crucial step is to define your business goals and map them with IT – and vice versa. Whether it’s establishing a new value chain, faster release to market, more collaboration, new channels to market, or increasing your geographical footprint, operating in the cloud can play a critical role in enabling your business goals. Cloud gives the flexibility to explore new initiatives, which can be dismantled easily if they’re not working. It offers the opportunity to set up new geographies pretty fast, implement DevOps pipelines, and set up machine learning platforms rapidly and cost-effectively. All the goals need to be associated with RoI (Return on Investment) analysis and tracked accordingly.
  • Set up of Multi-Modal IT: In a transforming IT landscape, it is important that traditional and modern IT working practices exist both for a single large monolithic application and across different applications. So, while part of a monolithic application continues to work in a traditional way, you can break it down part-by-part into microservices and deploy them in a modern way, working closely with the remaining monolithic component. This will ensure that your existing IT environment continues to run smoothly while adapting to a cloud way of working.
  • Aim for Software Defined Everything: Defining everything through software is essential. Why? Because it brings automation, configuration management and agility to the environment by providing fully virtualized systems.
  • Set up an API Platform: A platform for APIs and microservices will ensure ease of maintenance, scalability, reusability, and accountability.
  • Balance Portability vs Flexibility: This argument is going to continue forever. On the one hand you can opt for a platform that gives flexibility and the agility to evolve, yet ties you to the platform. While it is good to engage with multiple vendors, it makes the management of multiple vendors/technologies complex. As long as that complexity is in proportion with the width and depth of your application portfolio and there is clear roadmap (at least for the next 3-5 years) behind technology decisions, this latter choice should not be a problem.
  • No compromise on Security: Security is a shared responsibility in the cloud. While a cloud provider takes care of the security of the physical data center, hardware and platform (if using a PaaS), users are responsible for non-supported layers like OS (if using an IaaS), middleware and applications.
  • Data: Data governance, storage, and usage are among the most important aspects of your IT landscape, alongside security and compliance. Cloud provides a robust and cost-efficient platform for data storage, as well as on-demand large compute power to process data at scale, with strong support for security and compliance. Data is definitely a relatively easy business case for cloud adoption.
  • Collaboration: A culture of collaboration will encourage the exchange of ideas, sharing knowledge, and the establishment of DevOps, leading to a positive and innovative organization.
  • Factory Set Up: If you are running big tasks with a lot of repetitive and automation elements, such as rehosting/refactoring a large number of cloud migrations, setting up Factory Teams (comprising the appropriate skills, enabled by relevant tools and processes) will make the process cost efficient and easier to maintain.
  • Continuous Process: A Cloud Operating Model is not a one-time process. Rather, it should continually evolve to keep pace with changing business situations.

This blog is part of a series that I am writing around the practicalities of cloud adoption. If you’d like to find out more about Sogeti’s Enterprise Portfolio Modernization solutions, please get in touch.