The people and operations challenge: How to enable an evolved, single hybrid cloud operating model
In a year’s time, the average enterprise will have more than 10 clouds, but limited architectural guardrails and implementation pressures will cause the IT landscape to become more complex, costlier and less likely to deliver better business outcomes. As businesses adopt a hybrid cloud approach to help drive digital transformation, leaders recognize the siloed, suboptimal workflows on their public cloud and private and on-prem estates. In fact, 71% of executives see integration across the cloud estate as a problem.
These leaders must overcome many challenges as they work to simplify and bring order to their hybrid IT estate, including talent shortages, operating model confusion and managing the journey from the current operating model to the target operating model.
By taking three practical steps, leaders can empower their teams and design workflows that break down siloed working practices into an evolved, single hybrid cloud operating model.
Three steps on the journey to hybrid cloud mastery
1. Empower a Cloud Center of Excellence (CCoE) to bring the hybrid cloud operating model to life and to accelerate execution
In a talent constrained environment, the CCoE houses cross-disciplinary subject-matter experts who will define and lead the transition to a new operating model and new working practices. These experts must be empowered to work across all of the cloud silos, as the goal is to dissolve silos into an integrated, common way of working that serves customers and employees better than a fragmented approach.
This might be uncomfortable, especially in hardened silos. We recommend that you treat developers and delivery teams as customers on this journey. Help them answer the question of how this new way of working is better than the old way of doing things. Seeing around corners requires investing in a small team of scouts (“Look Ahead Squads”) that stays one or two steps ahead of current implementations. These scouts should be flexible, as implementing this change is a learning experience.
2. Empower your people with the skills and experience they’ll need to thrive in a hybrid cloud operating model
69% of business leaders are lacking teams with the right cloud skills. There aren’t enough cloud architects, microservice developers or data engineers, especially if the pool of specialists is spread across cloud silos. With hybrid cloud, a consistent DevSecOps toolchain and a coherent operating model, you don’t need to train everyone on every silo of technology and practice.
Address the skill gap by prioritizing the specializations required, make learning experiential so people get coaching on how to use new skills in the context of their roles in the new hybrid cloud operating model, and shape new ways of working by conducting training more efficiently and at scale within a garage environment. Drive toward true DevSecOps practices by emphasizing how the skillsets and practices involved need to be applied in an integrated, cross-disciplinary operating model. As a hybrid cloud operating model evolves, it becomes clear that cloud-native teams don’t work in isolation. Organizations must spend more time defining and evolving the proficiency framework that has previously been done in silos.
3. Reframe the talent problem as an operating model design opportunity
Operating model problems are often misread as talent problems. As W. Edwards Deming says, “A bad system will beat a good person every time.” So, design the work required for hybrid cloud operations first, and adjust your organization second.
Be aware of the fact that operating models and organization charts are different animals. To clarify, an operating model is primarily concerned with how the work of service delivery flows from customer request to fulfillment. In contrast, the primary concern of an organization chart is a hierarchy of how power and control are distributed, which should be designed to make very best use of the people you have now.
As leaders navigate the transition to a hybrid cloud environment, well-designed solutions that span business and IT become more valuable than ever. These steps ensure that the IT roadmap moves in lockstep with the business roadmap and enables leaders to consider how each interim state contributes to the evolution from the current operating model to the target operating model. This awareness can be an organization’s superpower for incorporating cloud-native, efficient and connected working practices across the hybrid environment to deliver innovation at speed (as well as alleviating issues with skill, talent and experience).