In modern companies, the simple migration to the cloud is not enough. In fact, business goals are passed on from people and it is therefore necessary to think of them encouraging the adoption of the cloud and eliminating the so-called FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) that the new paradigms can bring.
To do so, it is useful to create a Cloud Business Office (CBO), a unit that ensures effective management to adopt and accelerate the use of the cloud within the company. The CBO establishes and agrees on courageous objectives and principles and acts positively to enable the workforce to adopt the cloud on a large scale, facing any risk or obstacle that may arise.
Jonathan Allen, EMEA Enterprise Strategist and Evangelist of Amazon Web Services, explains in detail what the CBO is and how it works by first illustrating its responsibilities, ranging from the definition of goals and results to the creation of rules that can evolve with time, from the training organization to the implementation of tools adapted to the transformation.
What does a CBO do?
The Cloud Business Office provides effective management to adopt and accelerate the use of public cloud within the company. It does so through the holistic representation of key players of the company that form a dedicated group, with specific training on key differentiators in the areas of security, reliability, availability, costs and time to market.
Fundamentally, the CBO exists to ensure (or identify if necessary) alignment of the objectives of the cloud with those of business , as well as their strategic and tactical execution on elements such as people, processes and technology in a well-managed and inclusive manner.
Responsibility of the CBO
The CBO has a long list of responsibilities. Here are the most important …
- Setting an ambitious goal – You cannot replace an expert executive who sets the goal clearly and unambiguously. In this case, the objective must be directly linked to the objectives of the executive committee, whether it is to increase turnover, increase profitability, and improve the Net Promote Score and so on.
- Defining key objectives and results – Probably all the next responsibilities come from setting goals (where do I want to go?) And key results (how do I get there?). In any case, these are examples of what one should really consider adopting and implementing.
- Identify and eventually answer all the questions – The most experienced executives are consciously curious and this curiosity takes shape through the questions. It is important not to answer these questions only in words, but to really capture the interest of individuals. Each question is important for the person who poses it and if left unanswered it will act as an anchor exerting a negative force on the transformation process. Responding to the end is then extremely important. If the CBO tries to answer each question before doing anything else, it will never get anything. For example, it is natural for a business not to put customer data on the cloud until the CISO and his team did not fully understand the AWS Shared Security Model. But this does not preclude a team from starting to work on the first workload, starting to think about the answers and responding to everything at the end, instead of having to answer before starting. Taking care of and setting the priority of these questions should be the work of the Technical Program Director in charge of managing the CBO.
- Agree the rules – The rules evolve with time, as you discover and learn more. The CBO is the group in charge of discussing (sometimes passionately) which rules apply to the company’s way of working. Single-Threaded Leaders should have the last word, announce it to everyone and trace the future path.
- Eliminate obstacles – The CBO team should meet at least once a week. A rapid elimination of obstacles creates and maintains momentum and neutralizes the ambiguity of the extended team on the commitment to change.
- Agree the first production workload – This is something strategic, which must be imported to colleagues, demonstrate value and define a new route. A simple micro service that works really well is still important for the business.
- Creating the Team dedicated to the Cloud Center of Excellence – This is a particularly crucial step. CCoE is a means, not an end. It is important to be careful that it does not become a bottleneck or that it does not create unnecessary bureaucracy. The aim is to dissolve it once the cloud has become the way of providing Information Technology. And in case, have a small Cloud Ops team that keeps the best practices alive and puts together guides to the use of the Cloud to meet the objectives in terms of costs, reliability, security, compliance and time to market.
- Stipulating a Cloud Contract – The figure of a manager who understands how a Cloud contract differs from traditional heavy contracts in terms of capital expenditure and based on approximate estimates is required. And understanding it in advance can save large amounts of time. This awareness, together with the need to protect each customer from any other, is necessary to better understand the Business Agreement. Addressing these topics directly with the CBO can be extremely helpful.
- Provide the budget – Allocating the budget appropriately, albeit obviously, is an integral part of the role of the CBO, which will become increasingly important as the migration process progresses and will prioritize the movement of some applications rather than others for avoid capital expenditure for upgrades where it can be avoided. This ongoing resource management is a key role of the management team.
- Agree, execute and monitor the migration of applications and data – Ensure congruence, priority and awareness of What, When and How to Migration is another key task of the CBO, as explained here.
- Communicate, communicate, communicate – Yes, it’s worth saying three times. Either you communicate, or the emptiness left will be filled with fear, uncertainty and doubt. Establishing corporate intranets (starting with simple things) that quickly provide updates and templates that inform about the progress of certifications is extremely important. It is appropriate to establish the right communication mechanism with a template. Nothing should be hidden and feedback should be encouraged. But if these must always be heard, the CBO should stay in line with the rules and make sure that they are accepted when the feedback does not contribute to the process of transformation that is being pursued.
- Ensure training and retraining for everyone – Ensure that the right procedure is put in place so that anyone within the company can switch from Cloud Beginner to Cloud Expert is a crucial task of the CBO.
- Create Agile Release Team (if you are using SAFe – Scaled Aglile Framework – or parts of it for Agile) – If you have not yet moved to the Agile methodology, it’s the right time to do it.
- Define a retraining goal – As shown here, the CBO should also focus on the retraining for the cloud of their colleagues. Training is not just for engineers and developers.
- Agree on safety, availability, cost and compliance objectives – This is a continuous process to be conducted together with the CCoE, to establish and agree on objectives in terms of safety, reliability, compliance and time to market. Then publish them on the intranet with links to sample codes and send them via email (even when they are modified!) Is essential. Organizing twice-weekly or daily meetings (even with just a few minutes) to set a pace and push to eliminate obstacles can lead to rapid progress. This will ensure that the first production workloads go live on the cloud and gives way to the redevelopment and migration phases, acting as a catalyst.