To fully succeed with the transition to the cloud, it is not only necessary to have knowledge of how the actual transition will be performed but also how it will affect the various parts of the organization.

Create a Cloud Center of Excellence, with participants from different areas of the organization. This forum of cloud experts can drive the development forwards and implement the required framework and guidelines. In this article we will explain six steps that are critical for success.

Why a Cloud Center of Excellence is important

Your Cloud Center of Excellence will enable faster innovation by promoting rapid management of challenges and questions. This can be made even easier by establishing best practices and guidelines. As a result there will be readily available paths to follow and things will be done in the same way, again and again. This results in greater competitiveness, by being more relevant and more innovative than your peers, as well as an environment that is more secure and more resilient to accidental changes.

According to Vanix, companies that have an established Cloud Center of Excellence report that they, among others, have seen the following benefits: 

  • 59% improved operational efficiency
  • 51% improved control
  • 49% increased confidence in the cloud security
  • 39% increased understanding for what is paid for in the cloud

6 steps to build your cloud team

#1 Shape the team

Start small and then expand as the need grows. For success, it is important the team has the right skillset from the start. 

  • Make sure that the team members are willing to experiment and are inquisitive about testing new things and can see what works and what doesn't work. 
  • They must be daring to challenge the current situation and willing to think about how things could be done better. Why do we do things this way? How can it be improved? 
  • To do this requires members who are focused on desired outcomes and have the drive to implement a change from idea to final implementation.
  • Another important aspect is to have an individual, or individuals, who are inspiring and motivating to others, while they inspire great trust within the organization. This spreads the message easier.

#2 Fix a few quick wins

Carry out a relatively small but successful project that creates a success story that can be shared with the organization and inspire others to do the same or something similar. The project to choose to implement as the first successful project will vary from organization to organization.

#3 The management's support

It is important that the team has the management's support and that the management makes it crystal clear that the Cloud Center of Excellence is the forum where these issues have to be managed and solved. This gives the team a mandate and shows the rest of the organization where to turn regarding these types of issues and that it is not possible to bypass the Cloud Center of Excellence by talking with the management.

Having the management's support is critical for success. For this reason, the Cloud Center of Excellence must have an exclusive sponsor from the management. The management's support is just as important as having committed employees who want to utilize the technology and the platform.

#4 Reuse processes

As more and more companies migrate to the cloud, and transitions are made, the knowledge and experience increases. At this stage, it is easy to identify patterns in processes and ways of working that are used frequently. These should be turned into reference architectures and blueprints that can be reused in future transitions and migrations. For example, this could be a certain type of workload or a certain type of system or architecture.

It is also important to identify the tools that are used regularly and, accordingly, build a toolbox that is available for automations and cloud operations. The toolbox should be adapted to the reference architectures that have been created to make the work easier for the application teams. Teams will quickly be able to find and use these available tools.

#5 Involve and assimilate

To succeed with the transformation into the cloud, and the creation of a Cloud Center of Excellence, creating commitment in the organization is important.
For organizations at the start of their journey to the cloud, using inspirational activities, such as success stories, general theme days and workshops works best. 

In organizations that have travelled some way along their journey, or are already mainly in the cloud, there is a greater degree of maturity. For these organizations specific workshops and theme days on a specific area or technology are better, as these help them to take their next steps forward in understanding how they work with their environment in the cloud.

An effective way is to involve external architects and evangelists who can organise seminars or inspirational talks. Perhaps from a partner like AWS or Microsoft for example. By involving external resources, you show the organization that this is something important.

#6 Scale up and reorganize

As the Cloud Center of Excellence becomes more well-known throughout the organization, the greater the number of people who will want to use it and the pressure will increase. When the pressure increases, you have to prevent the Cloud Center of Excellence from becoming a bottleneck. To prevent this, it is important to scale up the work in the team. There are two different ways of doing this, either segmentation or federate and delegate. 

With segmentation the Cloud Center of Excellence is split up into interest areas where specific issues are discussed, which can then be decided upon by the whole team. 

Another way to scale up is to federate and delegate by involving members from the Cloud Center of Excellence in each application team, and giving these members a mandate to act as the team's representative and to respond to and decide upon certain needs and requests coming from the application team. This way the application team does not need to wait for a decision from the Cloud Center of Excellence.

Published: May 30, 2022

Updated: September 2, 2022

Cloud