Skip to Content

How doing things the ‘right way’ puts your cloud transformation journey on track for success

Oct 10, 2023

In the first and second articles in this three-part series, we argued that getting the value from cloud can be challenging, with success depending on alignment between business and cloud strategies and a focus on the ‘right things’ depending on business priority. In this third article, we explore the ‘right way’ of doing it.

Irrespective of which business outcome you prioritize, utilizing cloud compared to traditional non-cloud IT demands new ways of thinking and new ways of operating. They are commonly described in a cloud target operating model and are associated with a change management program that needs to implement both process and organizational change. Many organizations implement a central cloud center of excellence/competence/office to act as a catalyst for change and to drive common adoption and transformational initiatives.

Creating new processes is easy. Creating landing zones is easy. Configuring new tools is easy. Yet why is it that these actions are often not enough? Put simply, while they are the ‘right things’, they must also be complemented with the ‘right way’ of doing things. The difficulty is spreading the shift in mindset, culture, and continuous eagerness to automate and innovate with new technology, all of which is required to use cloud the right way.  

We recommend a number of actions that – if carried out even partly – will lead to the right way of transforming with cloud.

  • Organize teams by value aligned to business outcomes
  • Create parameters within cloud, enabling teams to act autonomously  
  • Site Reliability Engineering is the way for cloud operations
  • Set up metrics on both business outcomes and key results  
  • Set up the employees for success

Recommended action #1: Organize teams by value aligned to business outcomes

Cloud is an enabler for agile delivery, which requires flexibility to deliver and maintain constantly changing services in a culture of continuous improvement. However, the mere fact of introducing cloud will not immediately yield the benefits in agile development if work continues to be done in siloes. These siloes create dependencies and bottlenecks, ultimately reducing the anticipated benefits from cloud.

A successful way to build the agile organization for cloud is to establish teams across value streams representing a specific end-to-end process that leads to a business outcome. In principle, this gives results in a streamlined delivery with reduced conflict of interest that avoids bottlenecks. These teams can leverage the full scale of cloud native services to build and innovate and attain measurable results. Cost savings can be attributed to the value streams that a product serves. In turn, this enables products to deliver not only more efficiently and with greater velocity but also with lower maintenance costs and downtime.

With value-aligned teams established, the next step is to define parameters within which they should operate.

Recommended action #2: Create parameters within cloud, enabling teams to act autonomously

Early cloud adopters saw cloud as a playground for teams to use cloud in whatever way they wanted. Experience has shown us that there needs to be a balance between empowerment and control. Certain things need to adhere to standards (like security) and certain things need to be governed by enterprise guidelines for reusability, portability and other architectural goals. In essence, we are talking about governance, risk, and responsibility, where adaptive guidelines enable both agility and speed in a safe way.

A successful way to create these parameters for cloud usage is via internal platforms that bootstrap services for teams and have good observability, connectivity and guardrails built in. An organization’s internal platforms should be treated like a product with the end users as the customer. They exist to provide a golden path for developers and users to deliver value to the customer. 

With teams aligned to business outcomes, supported by internal cloud platform products for which they have parameters but can also act autonomously, the next step is to establish the best way to operate and run cloud services.

Recommended action #3: Site Reliability Engineering is the way for cloud operations

Being a completely software-defined IT environment, cloud stresses the need for being handled as a piece of software (as opposed to a physical asset that needs installation).

A successful way to operate cloud is to support the development teams with a Site-Reliability Engineering (SRE) function. This ensures operational standards for production features as well as provides on-call support with the ability to call upon development resources where needed. The SRE function owns similar things to a traditional infrastructure team and focuses on the under-the-covers systems that underlie other, more customer-facing, systems. SREs are often co-located with the Dev teams (at least for periods of time) and assist in changes to application code. They are closely involved in design and typically have a stronger dev background but are interested in operational work. They also advocate for SRE best practices during the design process.

With the organization now set up to design, build and run cloud services, the next step is to measure the progress.

Recommended action #4: Set up metrics on both business outcomes and key results

In this article series, we have talked about business priorities and outcomes, cloud as an enabler, and the need for a focus on aligning activities and actions to the business priorities. Metrics too play a vital role in using the cloud. They form a core aspect of transformation and creating a data-led, outcome-driven enterprise. We have seen cloud transformations where sponsors have asked “Am I really getting the value from my investment in cloud?” and there is no data to support an answer.

Outcomes and key results (OKRs) offer us a modern way to set up metrics when using cloud. OKRs are used to measure the progress of an organization and its value streams. They measure the future and are both forward-looking and aspirational. To clarify, an objective is a statement of intent that describes what your team is trying to accomplish and why it’s important. Key results are specific outcomes that track your team’s progress towards the objective. Each business priority will have an objective that defines where you want to go and a number of objectives to measure.

Having aligned the ‘metrics that matter’ with your key business and technology drivers, the next (and perhaps most important) step is to ensure employees in the organization are set up for success by having the right competence, motivation, and experience to work with cloud.

Recommended action #5: Set up the employees for success

Cloud is not simply a technical skillset that applies solely to people in the IT department – it is an overarching mindset change. And to capitalize on the benefits of cloud, everyone in the organization must be included in the talent management aligned with fostering this new cloud mindset. Successful companies that have disrupted markets are all enabled by cloud. Their mindset, their baseline, and their art-of-the-possible thinking are different. They see shorter lead times, more access to innovation services, and faster go-to-market speeds. How? By their very reliance on cloud technology.

The approach to enabling employees on the cloud needs to be holistic. It cannot only be about people taking a few courses. It requires a rigorous learning and development framework that aligns with existing and future organizational roles. Developing a good culture is about giving your employees the sense that they are working towards something meaningful and that their contributions are valuable. As more and more employees get to grips with the idea of cloud, their need will start a movement and change can become organic. The status quo will begin to be challenged from within.

Cloud done right, for the right things

The cloud journey requires us to do the right things based on our business priorities. At the same time, we must also change ‘how’ we work so that we do these things in the right way. In this third and final article in our series, we have thrown some light on what we mean by the right way. It is all about the people and organization and how to change the way-of-working, mindset and culture to fit with cloud.

At Capgemini, we believe that business transformation is an exhilarating experience. But the real excitement comes when you arrive at your cloud destination and discover a world where you can dream bigger, move faster and fly higher than ever before. To reach this destination and start your journey to adventure, the right building blocks must be in place – cloud used for the right things, done the right way.

Article series

Part 1) Are you using cloud for the right things, done the right way?
Part 2) Why the ‘right things’ for your cloud journey are determined by business priorities
Part 3) How doing things the ‘right way’ puts your cloud transformation journey on track for success

Meet our expert

Ruben Olav Larsen

Head of Nordic Cloud Center of Excellence (CoE)
Ruben is an experience cloud architect and the Head of Nordic Cloud CoE at Capgemini. His primary focus is helping customers with their cloud transformation journey and leveraging cloud services in an optimal and cost-effective way to maximize business value. Ruben has over 15 years of experience as spanning development, cloud engineering, cloud architecture and advisory, including FinOps.

Mattias Persson

Chief Technology Officer, Nordic Cloud CoE
Mattias is the CTO for Cloud in the Nordics with a focus on creating business value from cloud technology. His expertise is defining and driving cloud transformation, including defining an enterprise cloud strategy, cloud-native infrastructure, target operating models, DevSecOps enablement, application modernization and migration. Mattias has 20 years of experience as an Enterprise Architect and IT Strategy Consultant and holds architect certifications in AWS, Azure and Google Cloud.