The Cloud is Not Just About Technology
Dan Coleby, IT Lab's Director of Business Performance, challenges some of the conventional approaches to cloud migration and says a profound organisational shift is required.
The cloud involves technology of course, but if you’re approaching it from a purely technical perspective, you’re thinking about the cloud in the wrong way. Ten or fifteen years ago, people talked about jettisoning some tin from their offices. It would still exist, just not where they could touch or see it.
Today, the narrative is deeper and more mature. Moreover, common concerns - such as a loss of control or that the cloud replaces people, are diminishing. Some old-fashioned thinking persists however. For example, the ‘lift and shift’ approach – merely moving your applications to the cloud, is not the path to innovation. Nor is trying to manage everything just as you did before.
The cloud is evergreen – an up-to-the-minute environment delivering modern user-experiences. Acres are written on its benefits; unlocking them means devolving responsibility for some elements of your IT to third parties. But subcontracting has a profound effect on an organisation’s operating model, which can’t be overstated. The mistake many seasoned professionals make is not to fully recognise or adapt to this. Old-world concepts of IT don’t apply in the dynamic, cloud-first world; for them, the road is steep.
Fundamentally, the cloud frees you and your team to focus on adding business value; someone else is keeping the lights on for you now. It’s an opportunity to reimagine your business model and support your users in fresh ways - empowering them by remodelling how they work.
THE CLOUD MIGRATION OPTIONS: microsoft's five R'S
Microsoft has a neat way of setting out the options for migrating your workloads or applications to the cloud. I touched on one of them above; lift and shift is termed ‘rehost’. Microsoft lists five
migration choices: alongside rehost, we have refactor, revise, rebuild and replace. Where migration isn’t feasible for whatever reason, Microsoft suggests retiring those applications or retaining them on-premise. We describe them in this blog: The 5 Ways to Migrate to the Cloud and the Pros and Cons.
R IS FOR RESET
At IT Lab, we believe there’s another ‘R’ – reset - and it’s vital for your success in the cloud. What do we mean by reset? By thinking afresh about how to deliver what the business needs from you. By intense engagement with your stakeholders and supporting them holistically, e.g. by addressing training, end-user adoption and consumption.
What will your operating model look like and how will you govern it? Practically, what components will you put in the cloud and where? What management wrappers or security do you need around them? How will you evaluate and optimise your new environment?
WHY YOU NEED TO PRESS THE RESET BUTTON
And now to the crux of why you need to press the reset button: to evolve and elevate the roles of your team. You’re moving from a world where you were fixing things and developing user requirements to managing how cloud technologies land in your business. Consider the opportunities: strategy, governance, change management, application developer/tester, collaboration architect, data scientist, risk manager, systems integrator, contract administrator – doubtless many of the skills in your team are transferrable.
Where there’s a talent gap, partner with subject-matter experts to upskill your people or outsource the elements that represent the most hassle. Keep energy vs return top of mind. Your craft lies in leveraging your investment so that as the cloud delivers new things, you’re realising the benefits while containing disruption.
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