April 1, 2019 By David Callies 4 min read

Managing change during your cloud transformation journey

Defining a cloud transformation framework is the most important part of starting any cloud transformation journey.

Mission accomplished! Your organization has successfully defined a cloud transformation strategy based on industry best practices that aligns with the organization’s mission and strategic initiatives.

You’ve also gained agreement and full consensus with key stakeholders across your enterprise. As your organization prepares to start the cloud transformation journey, your processes will continue to mature to ensure return on investment (ROI). Thus, there are key elements that must be considered.

Have all the boxes that encompass your cloud journey been checked?

  1. Establish a cloud governance committee to ensure the defined cloud standards are implemented and socialized across the enterprise.

  2. Develop a cloud journey roadmap outlining the key objectives for implementing a cloud strategy.

  3. Define key performance indicators (KPIs) to baseline the organization’s cloud maturity metrics to measure against achieved outcomes.

  4. Develop a targeted operation model (TOM) to account for the culture shift (i.e., roles/responsibilities (RACI), new skills training, new technologies).

  5. Adopt an agile development strategy to leverage a 12-factor microservices methodology.

  6. Adapt to industry open standards and open source technologies (e.g., Cloud Foundry (CF), Kubernetes, and databases such as PostgreSQL, MongoDB).

Your organization has successfully implemented several iterations of the cloud strategy. The cloud journey roadmap that was defined shows alignment with the organizational strategic objectives. All is good!

 . . . or is it?

Several iterations into your cloud transformation journey, the cloud governance committee reviews industry market reports, analysis industry projections, and trending disruptive technologies that are starting to emerge in the marketplace. The cloud governance committee evaluates the existing cloud strategy and has determined that leveraging the emerging disruptive technologies will give the organization a strategic advantage in the marketplace.

Managing the change

Now, you are faced with the need to re-evaluate your cloud strategy and determine the best approach to proceed. The cloud governance committee discusses if the existing strategy should be deprecated to account for changes in the industry.

The simple answer is NO, so don’t panic.

In cloud, change is imminent; therefore, change must always be assumed and expected. By defining your initial cloud transformation strategy based on industry best practices and open standards, you have the ability to pivot, adapt, and adjust your strategic direction to embrace change.

Cloud Transformation Strategy 2.0

A defined cloud strategy should be considered as an evolving journey roadmap, with the flexibility to make changes and adapt to industry disruptors without compromising the integrity of the expected outcome. From experience, I have come to realize that the ability to adapt to change, if executed correctly, can potentially accelerate the cloud transformation with better-than-projected results.

Consider this as your “Cloud Transformation Strategy 2.0”—embracing the change while continuing to transform the organization. In fact, the concept of pivoting doesn’t necessarily mean expensive. Leveraging modern technologies with increased operational efficiencies may yield better ROI with reduced total cost of ownership (TCO).

Adhere to the six important elements

To truly be successful and manage disruptive changes, your organization must adopt and embrace the six points I outlined earlier. Point 1 ensures cloud standards are established, Point 2 maps out the journey and transformation approach, and Point 3 serves as a reference to assess your organization’s current cloud maturity.

Points 4, 5, and 6 are critical and essential components to successfully manage change.

Point 4: The targeted operation model (TOM) is a critical component to manage changes in the defined cloud strategy. If your organization has aligned its culture by developing a RACI to support cloud (i.e., realigned organizational roles and responsibilities), training and enabling teams with new skills, and extending ITIL DevOps processes (i.e., new tooling and modified support requirements for cloud), high performance teams that can embrace shifts will develop within your organization.

Point 5: Your organization must adopt agile development principles and leverage a 12-factor microservices methodology based on patterns learned during previous cloud transformation iterations. Once monolithic workloads have been refactored by leveraging a 12-factor microservices strategy, your organization will gain the ability to integrate emerging technologies one microservice at a time without the need to refactor each component of the workload.

Point 6: Be sure to have your organization leverage open standards and open source technologies. As an example, by using Kubernetes as one of many open source offerings, your organization will develop a workload that is portable. This gives you the advantage of developing a cloud strategy to support a multicloud environment whether hybrid, public, or public isolated. Now that open source technologies are becoming the defacto standard for most large enterprise organizations, several organizations are beginning to embrace open source technologies acore supported services to support their enterprise and decrease IT operational costs.

From the many conversations that I’ve had over the past few years, I see enterprise organizations that leverage these open source technologies continue to grow and accelerate. The value of adhering to these six key elements will allow your organization to pivot, adapt, and adjust as newer technologies become available.

A continually evolving and changing journey

Remember these words: Defining a cloud transformation is a continually evolving journey.  The most important part of defining a cloud transformation journey is to define the desired end state and guarantee that the cloud accounts for change.

While there are a desired outcome and targeted completion date with any cloud transformation, does the cloud journey really end or just continue to iterate as improvements in technologies continue to emerge?

Learn more

Learn more about IBM Cloud Adoption and Transformation by scheduling a four-hour, free, no-strings-attached digital briefing with our IBM experts, where we can discuss how your organization can utilize cloud adoption and digital transformation to realize significant business outcomes.

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