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Cloud Centre of Excellence v3 : what did we change in the summer of 2022?

Three years ago we designed the first  45 Degrees version of our ‘Cloud Centre of Excellence’ approach.  We looked at AWS, Microsoft and Google, spoke with our customers and came up with a framework to drive the transformation to a modern service oriented IT organisation.  Where cloud technology is the catalyst in the story. Since then, we’ve been learning, evolving and adapting. So, what did we change in the summer of 2022?

What we didn’t change?

Let’s start with that part. We kept the framework and its structure.  The foundation layer of innovation, the 6 pillars (strategy, people, governance, platform, security and operations) and on top of that the CCoE program structure.  We didn’t change anything in the approach and thinking around innovation and we also didn’t change our program approach towards a CCoE.  All changes are within the capabilities, within the 6 pillars.  This framework works well with several of our customers. So why change a winning team?

The Cloud Centre of Excellence Program v3 by 45 Degrees

The Operations Pillar

One of the alterations we did has to do with an evolving environment. The big change in the market is that we see more and more business critical workloads that need to be operated in the Cloud.  The Cloud bible of course says: operations shall be done in a DevOps way, with CI/CD by autonomous product teams.  Well, reality in enterprise environments is ‘slightly different’.  More and more enterprises are looking in the direction of ‘managed cloud operations’, very similar to traditional managed services and executed by an outsourced managed service provider.  Given the Cloud reality of CI/CD, this is however not just a straight forward technology change.  The definition of the service management processes, with the associated RACI is quite complex.  More about that in accountability modelling.  What we did with the capabilities in the Operations pillar is align them with ITIL v4 service management practices. This serves as a starting point for the conversation on how the Cloud or hybrid operations will look like.

The Security Pillar

We didn’t do any content changes in the security pillar.  All we did is a small reshuffle by putting the capability security architect on top, because everything else starts from there. We see in large enterprises the global security team taking ownership.  Often by setting up a global security control framework, to which all architecture should adhere.

The Platform Pillar

The changes we made to the capabilities of the platform pillar reflect the way more and more enterprises are driving the platform work in a Cloud/hybrid landscape.  The way reference architectures are managed is not changing.  But the way the underlying building blocks are being managed is more and more aligned to the following capabilities:

  • Cloud Core Management: the team looking after the Cloud foundation building blocks.
  • Automation Management: the team looking to automate the usage of these building blocks, but basically the automation of ‘everything cloud’.
  • Application Development Management: the team looking after application development guardrails.
  • Data Management: the team designing and implementing the data strategy..
  • Workplace Management: the team driving a modern workplace strategy and implementation.
  • SaaS Management (including ERP): the team managing SaaS implementation, which can be a smaller SaaS solution, but also enterprise scale ERP (like SAP …).

The way all these different capabilities work together and provide value to the project teams, that are part of the operating modelling and the organisation structure capabilities.

The Strategy Pillar

The big change in the strategy pillar is that we have formally added the capability operating modelling.  We see that the speed of Cloud adoption in enterprise level organisations is most impacted by having a working operating model or not.  It’s not the technical challenges that are the biggest hurdle…  In the previous version of the framework, the operating model work was split over different other capabilities.  We see however customers are struggling to get this change done and decided it makes more sense to put it under a separate capability.  The Cloud transformation is an opportunity that comes with quite challenging changes in the way things have always been done:

  • The silo approach to IT (infra, network, security, application,…) doesn’t work when using Cloud technology.
  • Application life cycles are transforming into shorter, agile iterations based on a CI/CD approach.
  • Product Teams are supposed to become autonomous, self-regulating teams, close to the business.
  • Operations and the associate service management processes cannot just be copied from the on-premise world.
  • The reality is all enterprise customers are in a hybrid model.  Which is something different from an ideal Cloud only model. And it looks like that will be the case for quite some time moving forward.
  • A lot of enterprise customers are having systems like SAP to cater to a large percentage of their vital business processes.  Of course SAP has a “cloud version”, but that is a totally different story from a Cloud native application.  Not just from an architecture point of view, but also from the way teams are organised.

And this list goes on and on…  Each topic in itself is often a workshop, or even multiple workshops of work.

The People Pillar

Here we have put the biggest change on top as a separate capability: Organisation Structure.  Once the operating model has been designed, it still needs to be translated into an organisation structure.  Putting a Cloud organisation next to the existing one or making a blend in a hybrid structure?  Just one of the many questions to answer.

Another new capability we added to the People pillar is supplier management.  Cloud resources are hard to find.  External consultants will be needed, but just sending out a request in the market no longer suffices.  Having a structured approach towards supplier management has become a key necessity to facilitate the transformation journey.

The Governance Pillar

The first change in this pillar is the addition of the capability accountability modelling.  When the question is asked: how will you do the operations of your Cloud environment? The mandatory answer “in the DevOps way” is not what works in an enterprise environment.  An anecdote to support this claim: a customer that is moving towards a product team organisation was about to air and shift an application in an IaaS configuration.  The traditional operations teams said to their colleagues: right, so once you are in the Cloud, you are a product team, you do the patch management of the windows servers in your IaaS setup.  No, not really, that’s not a very efficient proposal.  A full blown DevOps setup works perfectly for re-architectured, Cloud native applications.  But it doesn’t work for IaaS scenarios.  The reality is we have different types of setups for different types of rationalisation scenarios.  Accountability modelling is the capability that makes that work, taking care of all relevant service management practices and the associated roles and responsibilities.

A second change is that we moved the services catalogue management from the operations pillar to the governance pillar.  In a modern services oriented organisation, the services catalogue becomes the centre of how the orchestration between all different teams is done.  Everybody has a responsibility to add things to the catalogue and use them.  But it’s a governance function to keep this machine well oiled.

This blog is really just a brief summary of the changes we made to our CCoE framework.  Each topic has a rich content behind it and came from real life customer situations we encountered.  If you are interested in having a conversation on one of these topics, feel free to reach-out!

Read the previous blog

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