Strategic Leadership in Times of Digital Disruption

Strategic Leadership in Times of Digital Disruption

Often our clients tell us they are moving to Cloud to save money – and in many cases that will be the outcome. However, Cloud will not be cheaper if you are underutilising your virtual environments or putting workloads in the Cloud that shouldn’t be there. Successful Cloud strategies begin with careful assessment and planning.

The assumptions you make at the start of your Cloud project – about people, processes and costs – are critical to your organisation’s successful move to the Cloud. Based on our extensive and varied Cloud experience, two absolutes have become crystal clear:

1  Do not assume Cloud will be cheaper
2  Assume Cloud will disrupt people and processes

Is The Cloud Cheaper?

To get the best value out of Cloud, we advise you start by assessing how you are using your current technology and by identifying the skills and technologies that are still delivering value to your business. In some cases, if you optimise your existing virtual environment you may not need to consider Cloud until you reach capacity and / or are ready to replace your ageing technology.

A common pitfall we see is organisations translating their on-premises specs to the Cloud and keeping things running 24/7, which can lead to unnecessary costs. Remember, a key benefit of Cloud is the ability to spin up and tear down environments and only pay for what you use. Be guided by your usage requirements. Look to migrate workloads that do not need to run 24/7. Rigorous specification and requirements analysis up front will ensure you avoid paying for more capacity in the Cloud than you need.

And you must also anticipate the costs associated with people and process changes.

Cloud will definitely be disruptive to your IT team  

Disruption is inevitable. We’ve seen it time and time again. It’s not a question of when or if, but how much? Before you begin deployment, take time to identify who is most likely to be affected and plan how you will communicate, support and manage their response to change.

When integrating Legacy and Cloud services, here are some things you can expect:

  • The infrastructure teams may feel vulnerable and worried about their roles in a Cloud environment. Some will need to learn new skills.
  • Changes in personnel, with a focus on cloud analysts, will be required.
  • There is bound to be pushback from your legacy teams. Consider how you will bring them into the transition. (We have helped some clients identify Cloud Champions and others create Cloud Services Teams.)
  • As you shift from managing CAPEX agreements to managing service based /use based OPEX commitments, you will need new vendor and contract management skills. Outsourcing and Service Level Agreements (SLAs) will become more important.

 Cloud will shift your current processes

As your organisation settles into the Cloud, you will need to examine your processes, from Service Management and Architecture to Security, Integration and beyond. Some will change, some will become unnecessary and new processes will be created. For example, Configuration Management Database (CMDB) will become much less rigid. Virtual machines are fluid, with the emphasis on cost management and applications availability rather than infrastructure. Consider your business objectives when designing new governance processes and consider user experience when setting up your monitoring protocols. Another key process goal is to find a way to standardise the interconnectivity between your apps.

Successfully leading through digital disruption requires informed analysis and strategic planning. The effective combination of evaluating your business objectives and requirements, plus identifying the people and processes changes, will determine the scope and costs of the transition.