Operating Model Considerations for Cloud Governance Success

Sumit Patel
Aug 9 · 4 min read

For many enterprises utilizing Cloud, cultural and organizational change is often one of the last elements to be considered. For many initial Cloud implementations (i.e. Cloud 1.0), most conversations are focused on technical capabilities, such as software defined computing and development toolchains, with the logic being there is already an existing team and way of work in place; it’s the tools that are impeding success with Cloud. For single environment or sandbox Cloud implementations, this thinking can be true, especially when there are limited teams that actively manage and interact with Cloud. However, as more teams within an enterprise use cloud and deployments become more complex, the tools-only focus no longer applies.

The scenario above is becoming increasingly common, and it reflects the growing interest in Cloud Adoption and Transformation projects focused on people and processes as part of a Functional Operating Model. Within this operating model, there are 3 considerations that our team assesses:

· Technical Maturity: Tooling and automation

· Cultural Maturity: Roles, responsibilities, and enablement

· Governance Maturity: Processes, controls, and metrics

These three areas form something akin to the Scope Triangle except it’s an Operating Model Triangle where Cloud success requires equal focus to all areas. As an example, most Cloud 1.0 implementations address Technical and Cultural Maturity in the form of cloud architectures and adoption of an agile framework such as SAFe or Scrum. For smaller enterprises this may be enough to influence operations and realize value from Cloud, but for larger enterprises, this model is difficult to scale out since larger investments are needed and more teams will now be impacted by a new way of working. Governance in the form of rules of conduct and meaningful metrics are required to assess the progress of a Cloud implementation.

However, it is also important to not lose sight of the value of tooling and technology as it is also required to be successful. As an example, a Digital Transformation initiative may focus on the implementation of a new organization model and processes for completing some tasks such as maintaining an IT environment, but details about the technical capabilities are left vague. This will either cause the teams to pursue their own capabilities or reuse legacy technology, which makes the new processes ineffective.

A client example of the interconnected nature of operating models comes from a recently completed project with a Media and Entertainment Company based in North America. As part of a current state assessment, our team analyzed 8 specific areas for Technical, Cultural, and Governance maturity.

The results were interesting since it validated areas where the client was doing relatively well and areas where the client could improve. The key trend was that areas which were believed to be successful such as Incident Management had little variance between the three considerations. This meant that for Incident Management, the team had established governance in the form of processes for incident resolution, root cause analysis, and escalations; modified roles and appropriate training for each team member; and the right tools for monitoring and logging. In contrast, for areas such as Service Request Management and Financial Management, there was a large degree of variance between Governance, Technical, and Cultural Maturity which correlated to the challenges the client was facing.

· For Service Request Management, the client had invested in the right tooling to enable self-service IT operations as seen by the higher score in Technical Maturity, but processes were not codified nor verified (since they were never published and reviewed), and there was a lack of cultural understanding in terms of what it takes to shift to a self-service model (i.e. teams did not realize that they were producing services that had consumers).

· For Financial Management, the IT teams had studied the concepts of chargeback and showback as indicated by higher Cultural Maturity score, but they were unable to collaborate with delegates from the finance teams to figure out how to implement the concepts. Additionally, there was no tooling to gain visibility into who had requested and consumed an IT resource.

In summary, as Cloud implementations start to scale out and/or become increasingly complex due to advanced capabilities and multi-cloud operations, a Functional Operating Model is needed to ensure holistic consideration of all perspectives required for Cloud success. This includes Technical Maturity of the right tools, Cultural Maturity for the appropriate skills and practices, and finally Governance Maturity to ensure the proper rules of working are in place. For more information about how to address these aspects within a Cloud journey, schedule time with a cloud transformation expert or complete a Cloud Adoption and Transformation self-assessment.

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Sumit Patel

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