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Architects design houses

(But there’s a lot more work before they can be built)

Imagine yourself as a real estate developer. You just bought a large piece of land and eventually want to use it to build and sell houses. These sales will earn you money.  But there’s a problem.  Your new land is not ready to just start building houses.  There’s no plan, there’s no utilities, there’s even no road to get access to the land. So, what are you going to do?

Architects design houses, ours make sure they can be build digitally

We call ourselves a club of architects. Apart from a few slight differences,  you can say our people have one thing in common with architects in the physical world: they design and build houses. When you construct something, you normally start with the foundation. Our approach, however, takes one step back. We actually build bigger structures, such as allotments, holiday resorts, residential areas, … Whatever comparison comes to mind: we’re concerned about the bigger picture.

Whatever comparison comes to mind: we’re concerned about the bigger picture.

Diederik Wyffels, Managing Partner 45 Degrees

According to plan

Our customers adopt a cloud environment, such as Microsoft Azure for instance, although they’re actually not interested in investing specifically in Azure. They want applications that work on Azure in order for their business to be as productive and efficient as possible. Those applications are the houses within the allotment. Before you build these houses you need to build a sewer system, think of electricity, gas pipes, a street plan, … and so on. In other words, you need a larger infrastructure in order for your houses to become liveable. This goes according to a plan. Without this plan, you won’t be able to sell your houses because they won’t be liveable or live up to certain standards.

Setting up the landingzone

Before these allotments or residential areas can fully start functioning or exercise their core business, there’s a preparatory phase in which we carefully think about what we’ll be doing with a (digital) piece of land and which connections are important. In terms of digital construction and cloud journeys, we’re talking about what kind of permits you need, how to set up security, GDPR. We call this phase ‘setting up the landingzone’.

When we look at the house of our cloud center of excellence, the implementation of the landingzone is the right side: 

  • Platform: Setting up the platform in terms of reference architectures, defining which services are being provisioned, setting up the DevOps approach,…
  • Security: Implementing the security setup
  • Operations: Preparing everything for cloud operations

When you set up your design, but forget how you got there, what it’s based on or how to operate it, your business will never work or cost tons of money. That’s why you need this preparatory phase to provide structure and support. 

Once you have your initial landingzone, you can start building houses. In IT terms this means you start to onboard cloud workloads or solutions.  Leaving the real world construction behind for a minute.  In a cloud environment the cloud will keep evolving.  As such, your landing zone will need to do the same thing.  And of course, you might already have a couple of workloads that were up and running before the landing zone was finished.  These will need a check and potentially some re-work to make them run smoother or more efficiently in your new landingzone.

In a cloud environment the cloud will keep evolving.  As such, your landing zone will need to do the same thing.

Diederik Wyffels, Managing Partner 45 Degrees

The foundation

As you noticed, we’ve skipped a step, because we went directly to a few ‘rooms’ in the cloud center of excellence house. However, every house needs a foundation. In this case, your base is your ‘model situation’. Every concept or product needs a model to show potential clients what you’re offering. We also use this model to look at what needs to be adjusted to the needs of our customers. These models are for instance proof of concepts, ideation and experimentation. We run tests on what does the trick and what certainly doesn’t, or we think out and test new ideas or concepts.

The left side

The left side of our house is concerned with strategy, people and governance. In our business it’s incredibly important to implement change and cultural management in your plans.

  • Strategy: how many houses are we building on the entire allotment? What are our costs? What do these costs cover? You need to think about your cloud setup, the landingzone, operations, … How do we make that profitable?
  • People: who are your construction workers? Who do I need and what skills do they bring to the table? Where do I find these experts? Do I hire them or do I work with contractors? Do I offer them a career plan or do I stall them externally? Shortly, how do I handle my employees?
  • Governance: what are the conditions? For instance, what am I allowed to do legally? How do I organize evaluation and succession planning? You need to know that a plan for 1 or 2 houses isn’t the same as one for 4 or 5. How do I judge my employees and their work?

The roof

Finally, the roof of our house of cloud center of excellence is program management. The program manager oversees the entire allotment instead of managing house per house. He or she manages every aspect of the cloud center of excellence from a helicopter point of view.

So, we make sure you can build houses

We consider this analogy as a fun way to visualize our core business, but it actually makes a lot of sense as well. You need to look at a single house as a project or a lead: this can be a data project, CRM, ERP, customer software development, logistics, IoT, … Every business has its own projects with its own needs. Compare it to the suburbs in big cities: large areas, with all kinds of different houses. They have the same infrastructure on which they’re built, but different requirements. We deliver custom work, but within the confinements of your cloud center of excellence.  Or we help you get a Cloud Center of Excellence if it’s not already there. 

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Part of the Cronos Group

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