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Building a Modern Services Oriented Organization – Part 1

Introducing cloud technology in a large enterprise environment is much more than a technology challenge.  In a series of 3 blog posts we will share our experiences and explore some models and ideas on one of the key opportunities our customers see:  How do I make most of my cloud investment by setting up an organization and an operating model that works for the complex reality of their business?

Cloud technology drives new approach with fast innovation

Cloud technology has inherent capabilities that allow innovation to happen much faster and cheaper.  Call it more agile.  Even more so, it allows business innovation that was not possible before.  You can enter markets that historically were closed due to very high initial investment costs.  But it works both ways, others can also enter your markets in very much the same way.

Get closer to the business

The key strategy expressed in the most simple terms is: get IT closer to the business.  Getting closer can take various shapes and forms.  The first way to get closer is to take a look at how you are organized today. With a specific focus on how the organization helps or hinders the IT people working closely together with the business side.  Do you have roles like product owners, solution owners, … ? Having a good setup is one thing, driving more collaboration is a different story.  What processes and procedures do you have in place to facilitate the collaboration? Last but not least, involving the business in innovation is only going to happen if ideation is encouraged and embedded in the day to day business.  The business side of the house understands their market and their customers.  But often lack the insight in what new technology would allow them to achieve. 

Avoid the credit card

If none of this is happening, there’s a significant chance the business people will “help themselves”.  In the “old days” of mainframes it was very unlikely a business division would be able to purchase, let alone operate a mainframe without the involvement of IT.  As we saw the adoption of smaller servers increasing, we saw “server” appearing under a desk.  In the cloud age, it’s easier than ever before. All you need is a credit card.  Some companies on the market are offering IT services  specifically to business units with the aim to bypass the “traditional” IT departments.

Tear down the historic walls

The interface with the world outside the IT department is one way of looking at the opportunity.  While that’s indeed important, also the internal setup of the IT department needs to be put against the light.  In large enterprises you will typically find a silo organization: development, infrastructure, networking, operations with or with a specific flavor of a separate security team.  Or any variation to this theme.  This type of setup is not ideal to drive cloud adoption and innovation.

The key question is how to achieve all of the above in a large, complex enterprise environment?  Copy the models of the likes of Spotify or Netflix?  Introduce self organizing product teams?  Remove the silos and set up the ultimate BizDevSecOps approach?  We’ll explore what customers are doing in the next 2 episodes of this blog.

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