How to build a Cloud-ready operative model achieving agility and resilience?

In .IT Operations, Blogfest-en, Uncategorized by Baufest

The advantages of the Cloud regarding scalability, flexibility, capacity for innovation and transformation of the business model, are no longer subjects of discussion.

Monday 14 - June - 2021
Modelo operativo cloud

And this is reflected in the acceptance figures: according to a report from 2019, for example, 91% of companies were already using the public Cloud, and 72% were using a private one. The majority of companies used both, and 69% opted for a hybrid Cloud solution. On the other hand, 66% of the companies already had central Cloud equipment, or an excellence center in the Cloud; and other 21% planned to have it in a near future.

But beyond this favourable view, there is a reality to be pointed out. And that is the fact that deploying an operative scheme that enables the extraction of all the value within the Cloud environment, without staying muddled in the complexities the migration presents, is not an easy task. Often, companies find some difficulties to transcend the “marsh” of processes, methodologies and legacy technologies and displaying a Cloud operative model which responds to promises, and allows for enhancements of its digital transformation.

Even though the complexity we mention must be seriously taken into account, it should not be discouraging. Going towards a Cloud operative model presents some clear benefits: cost efficiency, elasticity and management ease. Besides, it offers the possibility of keeping up with the latest in technology, effortlessly; and moreover, it lets the business ‘key players focus in their main activity.

As a matter of fact, as it is explained in this article that we´d like to share from McKinsey consulting, when incorporating four changes in the operative model, organizations can accelerate their way to the Cloud, overcome migration difficulties and extract all benefit from the new environment. 

Cloud-ready operative model

 “Even if the majority of organizations need to adopt an IT approach of hybrid Cloud in a foreseeable future, it will be difficult to capture a great portion of the Cloud´s value without reinventing IT infrastructure – which is ground zero for the Cloud operative model. If properly configured, the infrastructure could quickly expand access to new services and products, accelerate commercialization times for application teams and reduce operative costs at the same time, all of which liberates the companies ‘innovation potential”, as reads the article we are summarizing.

To capture these benefits, companies have to begin a holistic transformation of their IT infrastructure, based on four changes which reinforce themselves mutually: adopting a new site dependability engineering model (SER), designing infrastructure services as products, management of results (more than activities) and building an engineering centered talent model. When reuniting these four practices in a same Cloud ready operative model, the achievement will be a powerful combination of capacities which will radically improve the way in which TI operates.

In fact, according to the authors of the abovementioned note, there are companies which simultaneously improved resilience, work productivity and commercialization time a 20% or more, with this combination.

First change

The first challenge is to adopt a site dependability engineering module (SER). SER engineers “are the glue that unites application development with those in charge of operating applications and infrastructure teams. They also improve stability and dependability of applications in production, and reduce or automatize repetitive manual tasks so the development team can focus in product construction”.

Besides SER engineers can help achieve the execution of applications in a coherent and uniform manner, on any Cloud infrastructure, backing the efforts of containment and platform change.

The site dependability engineering model offers quick benefits, as it brings closer the infrastructure experience to the applications, and allows for face to face direct collaboration between developers and experts in infrastructure. It brings in substantial change, as infrastructure resources are grouped so that functional experts attend to the whole applications portfolio.

To portray this change, IT organizations could start by aligning SER teams with applications or application groups. As the maturity of the operative module increases, and operations become automatized, SREs can integrate to the applications development teams.

Second change

The second practice proposed in this changes dynamic for the IT operative module is to design infrastructure services as products. To obtain an agile and Cloud ready infrastructure, Infrastructure & Operations (I&O) must organize themselves focusing on the products it admits, as opposed to role based. In order to do so, companies must create agile product teams formed by people with experience in the relevant areas, including product owners, solution architects, software and infrastructure engineers and safety specialists. These product owners could collaborate with applications teams to understand which services or products are needed. And should as well work with SER teams in order to understand the challenges when consuming such services.

Which is the key advantage this practice proposes? It helps avoid that infrastructure teams develop solutions that nobody needs.

Third change

The third practice proposed is to manage results versus activities. Historically, the majority of organizations centered themselves in following the activities or had different key results (OKR) for different teams, reason why many lost potential value. Even if this type of metric is still in place, infrastructure teams ready for hybrid schemes must be weighed with focus on their commercial results, as adoption by the Customer.

Establishing key objectives and results (OKR) in the beginning of the transformation helps applications development and infrastructure teams to align with what they seek to achieve with their new, agile and automatized IT infrastructure. These metrics also create responsibility in all teams.

Nevertheless, it is important to establish objectives from the top downwards, as well as from the bottom upwards, and to make sure those are ambitious, tangible and specific. And besides, the adequate support and tools to measure results should be counted with.

Fourth change

The last practice proposed is to build an engineering centered talent model, which is, to create an engineering talent bank that can develop automatized infrastructure solutions. Organizations can develop these capacities through formal learning (in the classroom), informal tutoring or learning from superior engineers.

With these four coordinated changes, organizations can optimize their chances of migrating to the Cloud and obtaining the ample benefits the Cloud environment promises. At last, as it is stated in the note we shared, “building an IT infrastructure operative model for the future is a complex effort, but it is essential for the companies that wish to survive and prosper at a digital pace”.

For further insight into these arguments, we recommend reading the complete article.

Is a Cloud ready operative model being profiled in your company? It would be enriching to know how it was organized!