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The chicken or the egg in a cloud journey

The major cloud service providers have been preaching for years that the way to get started on a cloud journey is to start experimenting.  Start with proof-of- concepts, pilots, …  The cloud model perfectly lends itself to this approach.  You have virtually no cloud investment costs.  A lot of cloud services can be tried out for free.  If the proof of concepts works you can scale it up.  If it doesn’t, you don’t lose money on hardware or software.  You just stop it and only the time used for the proof of concept makes up your cost.  Which at the same time can be seen as a readiness investment.  All sounds great. And it is true, this is how it works.

This approach does however lead to some other challenges.  This type of approach often leads to very fast results.  Call it “quick and dirty”.  The quick part is great.  Cloud computing allow real fast solution development.  But those solutions are most often also “dirty” …  Which is fine in a proof-of-concept mode.  But not sustainable in the long run.  Think of topics like consumption cost, security, reliability, …  Often these are not properly covered.  The last thing you want to do as a CIO is to slow down the innovation.  So, what is the alternative?  You can build a central program that captures best practices in various domains.  Technical and non-technical.  This is what is called a “cloud center of excellence” (CCoE).  What you don’t want to do is first setup a “fully functional CCoE”, whatever that would even mean.

This brings us to the following image:

The road to the cloud is a maze with 2 entries.  One entry is start doing cloud projects, the other one is start setting up the structure in the form of a CCoE.  The question which one to do first is the famous chicken and egg comparison.  We recommend doing both at the same time.  That is why we designed our “Cloud Enterprise Engine“.  A combination of a CCoE and the Well Architected Framework will give you the best of both worlds.

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