Cloud transformations face challenges across multiple areas leading to risks and unplanned delays.
Cloud transformation challenges based on cloud industry research:
According to the 2023 State of the Cloud report conducted by Flexera1, the top 5 challenges organizations are trying to solve are high cloud cost, security risks and compliance issues, lack of cloud fluency, and governance.
The statistics above are a macro view of cloud transformation challenges, and although “Governance” is listed as a stand-alone challenge in cloud industry research, it’s the culprit of all issues.
At the micro-level, when unpacking cloud migration success, a new set of challenges are present. Based on research, understanding application dependencies is the top challenge2 impeding migrations and creating post implementation nightmares. Although many challenges were addressed in the study, we’ll only highlight a few issues seen early in the migration or transformation journey. A percentage of the respondents indicated major migration planning roadblocks3 attributed to the following:
From our experience leading migration programs, these are indeed impediments that could lead to “hard stops.” Yet, when looking through a strategic lens, there are five larger themes worthy of discussion.
Cost factors are avoidable with a proper migration operating and governance structure in place: another use-case underscoring the importance of “governance” when undertaking transformational change such as cloud.
How does implementing a Cloud Transformation Office help?
A Cloud Transformation Office (CTO) is where innovation meets strategy and seamless transformation happens. It’s a central governance structure that oversees the entire cloud transformation program – strategy through execution and hand-over to operations – ensuring a successful cloud transformation. Through strategic planning and a scrupulous program, common cloud transformation challenges seen at the macro and micro levels are proactively controlled. A clear path to the cloud and program transparency is evident.
Five principles guiding how CTO operates to unlock successful transformations.
A command-and-control CTO structure (Figure 1) is ideal for larger programs requiring significant capital investment, where complexities are apparent and timelines are unwavering.
(Figure 1: Illustrative program op model for a large financial services company)
This central model is typically sponsored and funded by IT and is set up, ran, and operated by consulting partners strategically organized and staffed to oversee every aspect of the transformation end-to-end, or handed off to a designated team to carry the torch to the finish line. Features of a centralized CTO:
- The central IT team migrates all enterprise apps in a factory model.
- Business portfolio teams collaborate for planning, alignment, testing, acceptance and hand-over.
- Factories enable economies of scale and lower the hurdle cost to move to cloud.
- Centralized governance ensures good control on scope and schedule adherence.
A key directive of the CTO is integration for precise program planning, execution, and management. As such, standards and controls are implemented across the program, and roles and responsibilities are clearly defined enabling collaboration autonomous project teams and dependency management.
The CTO is not another PMO function; it offers critical capabilities (Figure 2) spanning across the lifecycle of the transformation, and when not present could lead to costly program disruptions.
(Figure 2: Cloud Transformation Office Framework)
Key outcomes delivered by the Cloud Transformation Office:
- Strategic alignment: Proactive alignment with ongoing engagement and communications ensures buy-in and migration readiness; a process for cloud demand management is vital.
- Tight integration: Cross-stream collaboration to ensure solution dependencies and integration points are properly planned and managed.
- Well-architected solution: Solution is designed with best practices aligning with application requirements and AWS compatible for a seamless transition and optimal performance.
- Accelerated decision making: Rigorous governance and controls ensure solution adherence and integration, expedited decision-making, and issue resolution for timely migration.
- Greater financial adherence: Continuous financial, cloud solution and performance management for business case and key objectives adherence.
- On-time migrations and downtime minimization.
Largely, the Cloud Transformation Office provides strategic leadership avoiding transformation cost overruns, debilitating business-impacting delays, and allows organizations to do it right the first time while relieving downstream impacts seen post-migration and at the macro transformation level.
Reference: 1,2,32023 State of the cloud report conducted by Flexera