The day has come! Your company decided that you are moving to cloud.
So far, your whole company was using mainframes (on-premises) only. After much discussion, IT department began leaning towards a cloud migration.
To start with, you had to nominate the first team for moving to cloud. The choice was easy: BI Team has been struggling with overload for already quite some time. More and more requests from internal stakeholders and customers were coming in, with more users asking for more data.
Everything went fine until you have reached the point where you cannot quickly throw in capacity anymore. Consequently, those multiple problems with the on-premises tools made the BI Team a perfect candidate for a first migration to the cloud.
TIME TO ORGANIZE THINGS
So it is: you have moved all the front-end and back-end workloads of the BI Team to cloud. The whole process went smoothly, and you can bring out the champagne to celebrate this great success!
Now, time has come to bring in administration and governance on top of your newly created cloud environment.
Let’s evaluate what are the different options at hand.
The first and most intuitive option that comes to mind immediately is to centralize the whole responsibility in the hands of an IT board called the Cloud Center of Excellence (CCoE).
The CCoE shall be responsible for carving out the migration plan for whole company. This unit will attract special attention in the organization as it will not only migrate, but also administer, support, and train all the other domains.
Such approach has obvious advantages:
- One central unit has everything under their control. It is easy to identify the right stakeholder in case of any cloud-related request, just go to CCoE.
- The CCoE has full visibility on all cloud projects. They can enforce a standardized approach to cloud governance and environment management. Every expert and IT owner is in the same team, so they can easily coordinate their actions as the communication path is straightforward.
On the other hand, the centralized approach will result in multiple organizational risks, such as:
Potential CCoE overload. If all the requests are directed to the central team, their backlog risks to grow quickly. Then, it is the CCoE that becomes the bottleneck in the process. This could result in significant delays to delivery and time-to-market.
The CCoE will impose rigidity in the delivery process. Therefore, your company will lose the agility and the capacity to rapidly respond to changing needs (which is, besides, one of the biggest advantages that the cloud offers). Imagine that one of the teams has a very highly prioritized project that could bring millions of additional revenues if only it was implemented within one quarter. Going through the usual process with the CCoE involvement could delay project start (depending on their roadmap) by, say, six months. By this time, the opportunity could be lost. For example, your biggest competitor will be faster than you in release a similar service, and it is often the first one who takes it all.
There is little chance that the CCoE will be able to make strategic planning. Handling incidents might distract their attention from organizational mid- and long-term objectives.
Depending on the case, it could result in higher operational costs and technological debt. Imagine CCoE did not have enough bandwidth to migrate the workloads of Team X to cloud. Team X had to ensure business continuity of their services and there had to buy servers for €400k (due to a required commitment of 5 years). Now, you will need to wait until this investment is written off before you can make any other move. In other words, you are blocked for another couple of years.
As you can see, it could be really tempting to centralize authority in the hands of one Cloud Center of Excellence. Unfortunately, this results in serious organizational bottlenecks and risks that could be easily overlooked during initial setup.
Alternatively, you could decide not to introduce cloud governance at all.
By this, I like to call it the ‘open bar’ approach. Just like in the bar, where anyone can order whatever drink they like, you provide your teams the unique opportunity to create whatever resources (with whatever configuration) based on your trust and their best judgment.
Needless to say, I do not recommend this option for any company, including yours.
Let me name a couple of reasons why:
- No framework = no standardization in the approach to resource creation, sizing, policies, services etc. translates into administrative chaos and burden
- Everybody will create their own subscription(s) and resources as they see fit
- Costs will surely inflate (you end up with multiple services that do the same and could be pooled)
- You will have no control over the location where the data is stored
- You will certainly violate your company compliance requirements.
You already know two approaches to distributing the responsibility for cloud governance. As you have seen, no matter if you use the fully centralized or the ‘open bar’ approach, you may create either immediate or delayed bottlenecks and technological debt.
In the second part of this article, let me present the golden balance between IT-centric (CCoE) approach and the ‘open bar’ method.