A move to cloud services is more than a technology refresh. It’s an organisational change programme. Cloud may be the trigger, but fundamentally the senior leadership has seen a challenge or an opportunity to think differently about how they deliver IT services.
It is easy to get tied up with considering what CSP you should use; making sure you really understand your technical requirements, scoring various suppliers, and choosing your preferred supplier. But don’t forget the organisational aspects of the change. Many will tell you that cloud is a technical service or platform change. Don’t be deceived, it really is about your organisation.
Why change the operating model?
Because you are fundamentally changing the way your IT services are delivered to the business.
Whether on-premise or public, the shift in management and consumption changes. Both cost and ownership are thought about in a different way. And, for public/hybrid arrangements, support changes as well. It therefore is axiomatic that the operating model needs to change.
If the scope of your adoption of cloud technology includes application development, the change to the operating model and ways of working can be significant. Leveraging automation and orchestration to underpin better agile practices, test driven development and, with it, continuous integration and deployment not only improves developer efficiency but improves quality and significantly reduces delays, enabling feature from story-board into production in days not weeks.
What you need to consider
In general terms this can be split into three key groupings
What organisational changes need to be made? This covers organisational structure, team responsibilities, capabilities and competencies of staff. You may need to consider a buy, sell, hold model for staff to ensure the right blend of capabilities and competencies.
How do the processes change? In too many cases organisations gloss over the process changes required to align with the operating model changes. Consider how the SDLC may change, what impact it has on the flow of code development. Standard requests for change will likely need to be amended (to reflect changes in ownership of tasks and different approvers). Reporting, such as departmental KPIs will also need to be amended to reflect the changes being delivered. In all, it makes sense to forensically review the processes in place and have a clear view of the change, otherwise many of the benefits will be lost to confusion and building in manual steps to get around out of date processes.
You will be introducing new technologies. How are they going to be integrated into the environment to maximise benefit and align with the people and process changes?
End state and gap analysis
When considering the future operating model (FOM) it is very easy to think about the changes that need to be made to the existing position. We recommend thinking about a “green field” operating model. Taking the current state as a starting point for improvement often compromises the target state, limiting innovation by subconscious application of existing blockers and constraints.
Once you have the agreed FOM, you can then review it against the current operating model (COM) and build a gap analysis that will:
- Highlight the core activities required to move from COM to FOM
- Deliver a plan of action with timelines, dependencies, etc.
#you’ve defined the changes required within the gap analysis and have a plan in place, consider the critical success factors you can use to measure progress, and report against them. This enables measurement of change, and therefore progress against plan.
Perhaps this is an obvious point to make, but it’s often overlooked. You need to ensure that you get buy-in for the changes you need to make. And, not just from senior management (where it should be self evident). It’s important to engage with the whole of the IT organisation, get them to understand why the change is necessary and the positive opportunities it presents, not just for the organisation but also for the individuals and teams involved.
Finally, bring the business along with the changes that are going to happen. Disruptive change always impacts the business to some degree. They need to understand and support the change. Think about the positive effects the change will have for them and relentlessly drive the message home.
Drive the change
All change is tough. But changing organisations has to rank as the toughest of them all, which is why it’s easy to ignore. But is it absolutely critical. The gap analysis plan is key to this activity as it enables you to be able to monitor change and slippages against plan.
Make sure that the goals defined in the gap analysis plan are key deliverables for the senior management team objectives and are suitably incented.
Recognise that this is a cultural change, and therefore will take months and years to effect (depending on the size of the organisation) and not weeks and months. Painful, yes. But, done well, it will transform the business and deliver the benefits promised in the glossy brochures, powerpoints and web sites.
For more information on how to successfully support organisational change in your journey to the cloud, be sure to drop us a line.
- Posted by John Shortt
- On 14/09/2017