Business Impact – Chaos From Cloud Transformation

Introduction

From my consulting and advisory discussions with the C-Suite and mid-management across customers from various verticals, certain patterns are discernible. It is increasingly evident that cloud transformation is beset with chaos – piecemeal initiatives, black holes that create a lack of enterprise wide vision, costly migrations, and a disconnect with enterprise goals and objectives.  Multi-cloud is adding to this noise and destroying enterprise value. A mechanism is missing to orchestrate and seamlessly integrate cloud transformation with visibility on risks, controls and accountability to achieve desired value.

Business Impact of Chaos From Cloud Transformation

To cite an example, a major global auto manufacturer had multiple business units (BU’s) independently embarking on cloud initiatives. Individual BU’s had their own roadmaps, pipelines, priorities, and metrics at various stages of maturity. Independently, they seemed to be on the right path. However, competing dependencies between different teams, duplication of efforts from piecemeal, siloed initiatives created a lack of integrated vision for the enterprise cloud transformation. My consulting engagement lead to an integrated enterprise wide cloud strategy that was aligned with the business goals and customer objectives resulting in US$ 2.2 million annual savings, speeding Go-To-Market strategy and providing anticipated benefits.

Collating from experiences across verticals such as home goods, toys, oil and gas, and banking revealed a spectrum of symptoms impeding migration. Most prominent amongst these were – lack of shared visibility on enterprise cloud transformation, disparate maturity of different BU’s, under or over provisioning of resources, double bubble from out of control spinning of instances, cultural and organizational inertia, improper adoption of agile structure, vendor risk and resource optimization, issues from data, security and inadequate standardization of compliance framework and challenges with technical debt.

What Lands A Cloud Transformation Into Chaos?

A cause analysis revealed that the above symptoms are associated with several underlying factors. Foremost amongst them is the lack of cloud strategy that aligns with unified vision and business objectives, lack of systemic approach and methodology towards enterprise cloud operating state, apprehension on autonomy within a federated centralized structure, inadequate ownership and accountability, inadequate threshold for risk management, operational governance constrained to automation and visualization of logs, monitoring and dashboards, etc.

Current Solutions to Control Chaos with Cloud

To deal with these challenges, a supporting ecosystem sprung up with services and offering such as function specific vendor products or services (Apptio’s Cost TBM Management), Agile (mindset) development, operational governance tools, Enterprise GRC, IT and Security Governance, etc.

Proposed Approach

A holistic, integrated, life cycle view was lacking. Also, sustaining migration requires creating robust processes and enabling a mechanism for visibility, accountability, and establishing controls. Realizing this, I conceptualized and envisioned the idea of integrated cloud governance that leveraged existing enterprise capital, its current state and objectives, and its future operating state and risks. Integrated cloud governance with a holistic lifecycle approach was a new idea in 2018, with my employer and within the industry. I evangelized it internally to get the buy-in to build the competencies and cross-pollinated the idea within the industry to have a common vocabulary and framework. Industry collaboration with peers and end users was important to mature and make it robust.

Building Internal and Industry Collaborations

I collaborated internally and externally to expound this offering. I cited two prominent advantages to my executive leadership – an enhanced potential for value realization for the customer and an opportunity to better understand the customer footprint. I proposed this idea at the Object Management Group (OMG), an industry consortium focused on developing vendor agnostic standards, with whom I had previously worked in updating the cloud migration standards. Our proposal won overwhelming support at the OMG’s plenary session. In June 2019, a ‘Practice Guide to Cloud Governance’ was published.

Solution Details and Benefits

I developed a comprehensive framework that identifies the risks associated with the different facets of an enterprise cloud journey. I proposed an end to end (E2E) enterprise wide approach, framework, and methodology that would integrate the existing tools to offer a visualization of the E2E metrics and KPIs. It also provides accountability and controls as well as offer a federated policy engine and offer enough autonomy to BU’s without stunting their individual goals and objectives. The benefits are both tangible (cost saving, faster GTM, greater realization of benefits from cloud) and intangible (customer satisfaction, faster ability to align with business, etc.).

Systems Integrators (such as Wipro, IBM) and end customers such as T-Mobile, Thomson Reuters, and several others adopted the guidelines and methodology as a best practice. This guideline turned out to be a high impact publication with over 200 downloads per week across the globe. This innovation provides a framework for the industry to evolve cloud transformation.

Conclusion:

Integrated Cloud Governance offers significant tangible and intangible value for the customer, the industry, and the shareholders.My objective was to provide the highest quality of service to our customers. This is an example of how I identified a gap, built an innovative solution, and collaborated across the industry to advocate the customer interests. 

References: A new Practical Guide to Cloud Governance

https://www.omg.org/cloud/deliverables/practical-guide-to-cloud-governance.pdf (June 2019)

https://www.omg.org/cloud/deliverables/CSCC-Migrating-Applications-to-Public-Cloud-Services-Roadmap-for-Success.pdf (Feb 2018)

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