VII. Cloud-First strategy is the theme of the day

Benefit from economies of scale with hybrid and multi-cloud infrastructure

Everyone, and everything, is moving into the cloud, which for some organisations is a relatively easy task to undertake, for others the journey becomes riddled with humps & bumps due to lack of direction, relevant skills and engagement.

Cloud computing goes hand-in-hand with another concept that organisations engage themselves in called - Digital transformation.

Digital transformation initiatives tend to provide a catalyst towards cloud adoption which is often seen when organisations embark on a Product delivery model. And, what’s the best way to deliver your product than on the cloud?

Product-oriented delivery model stems from the desire to deliver fast, frequently and only what your clients need - concept referred to as Minimum viable product (MVP).

Approach cloud via Product delivery

The journey needs to be a joint venture of Business and Technology teams working together towards a shared goal. For the business team the goal is Product that customers use and love. For the technology team the goal is the cloud to allow fast and efficient delivery of the product. And so, we have the Product-oriented delivery model and Minimum viable product now in the mix as a result.

Digital transformation tends to encapsulate these concepts where a high-level strategy is formed as to what it means for an organisation to become digital. And, from technology standpoint what benefits this will bring to the business.

Product requirements will often dictate the minimum set of features and functionalities, the MVP, that it needs to provide to clients to bring value back to the business. On the back of these MVP features, the technology teams will then make choices as to how to architect the infrastructure and software so that MVP is achieved. For example:

  1. Pick the low hanging fruit requirement - call it a Product
  2. List a set of minimum features for the Product - call it MVP
  3. Adopt an approach to deliver the Product with its MVP features - call it Product-oriented model
  4. Design infrastructure and software architecture - this is where the cloud and its features will be considered
  5. Choose tech stack to deliver it all - this is where you make choices as to which resources in the cloud to adopt

The Product-oriented delivery model presents you with a great opportunity to start small, start quick, react fast and iterate on your progress until you get your MVP in the right shape. And you just keep the business teams frequently updated on the progress - that’s neat!

Approach cloud from within the Technology

Oftentimes, however, cloud adoption will stem from within the technology team itself. Developers and programmers will normally be the first group to realise the potential of the cloud and they will want to deliver their software on the new cloud platform as soon as that is possible. This often creates potentially damaging situation for many organisations - which is known as Shadow IT.

In many cases the development community bypasses the well-established organisational central controls that govern security and standards. The shadow IT practices, either intentionally or unintentionally, will eventually expose organisation to threat or cyberattack due to lack of knowledge and security around the cloud infrastructure.

If cloud adoption is to be driven from technology side, then probably best way is to adopt the MVP idea as in the Product example.

  1. Pick the low hanging fruit, piece of current tech to be replaced - call it debt
  2. Choose an owner or owners for the debt repayment work - call them early adopters
  3. Engage with your chosen cloud provider and ask for training or resources to assist with adoption
  4. Architect the solution so that it builds solid foundations for further could implementations - i.e., it’s strategic
  5. Share knowledge and establish cloud governance policies and standards going forward

Final thoughts as either way you do this it’ll be a game changer…

In either approach to cloud adoption, an organisational tech restructure is probably unavoidable. Make sure you upskill or re-deploy people to do jobs that are relevant in the new ways of delivering technology to the business. The shift towards virtualisation and containers will also create brand new avenues for tech savvy individuals in the space of platform management - also known as PlatformOps.

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