Building a Better Cloud Center of Excellence

9 Dec 2021 by Cloud

By leveraging the vast capabilities of today’s cloud, an exciting new era of scalability, agility, and redundancy has emerged for future forward enterprises. The journey to the cloud is exciting but can be daunting. Transitioning hardware and support requirements from your own legacy data center is not a simple task. There are typically many blockers beyond legacy infrastructure. Legacy mindsets can lead to a resistance to change. What about hardware sunk costs and business processes built around on-prem deployments?

Many organizations are considering cloud strategies due to the many advantages available with cloud computing including the following:

  • Be more competitive through more agile and distributed development
  • Infrastructure as Code enhances scalability, elasticity, and future growth
  • Save money by taking advantage of efficient cloud native architectures
  • OPEX model instead of CAPEX
  • Sharper focus on differentiators in the marketplace
  • Latest hardware without having to deal with cycling hardware
  • Disaster recovery solutions

For future forward organizations making the leap from on-prem to the cloud, the most valuable tool to transform is having a cloud center of excellence (CCOE) team backed by company leadership. By building a cross-functional team of people responsible for developing and managing the cloud strategy, the entire organization is vested in a unified cloud strategy, governance, and best practices for cloud adoption, migration, and operations. A CCOE has been proven to be a critical component of a successful digital transformation.

The CCOE team can offer these key advantages to an organization:

  • Allows for a decentralized organization to maintain a common cloud vision
  • Offers centralized shared services that many departments can use without reinventing the wheel
  • Enables innovators to move quickly while creating guard rails that align with the companies' security, regulatory, and budgetary requirements
  • Central evangelists can accelerate use of and benefit from the cloud

A CCOE team will help evangelize and guide the journey to the cloud for an organization. The exact make up of the CCOE team typically varies depending on the company dynamics and organization. At some companies, the CCOE team may just be architects who provide best practices and cloud deployment guidelines while the majority of the work is decentralized across the organization. At other companies, the CCOE team may be the advisors, architects, developers of shared services, and assistants to actual migrations.

Steps to help your company’s cloud initiative succeed with a Cloud Center of Excellence 

Build a team of savvy cloud architects and devops engineers

This team may be only a couple people at a smaller company or could easily be much larger at larger organizations. With a common vision, this team works together to deliver various solutions. At the initial cloud adoption stage, not all company departments agree on the plan to migrate to the cloud. The CCOE team will provide the unified leadership necessary to get buy-in from the larger organization to make cloud migrations successful.

By guiding the organization to a cloud service provider or providers the CCOE can establish a common design and development strategy upfront. This common vision delivered by the CCOE team coupled with a DevOps methodology will drive the success of cloud solutions.

Get a Win!

The hardest part of moving to the cloud or designing infrastructure agnostic applications is typically getting out of the gate. It is always a good strategy to find a smaller workload that can be deployed to the cloud for a quick win. The key here is to show the advantages of the cloud with this workload and use it as a stepping stone for the rest of the cloud migration initiative. Typically, the CCOE team generously helps with all of the steps for the first win to ensure it all goes smoothly.

Evangelize your success

Based upon the particular charter of your organization for cloud usage, evangelize your success and use it as a proof point for how the cloud can help other business units improve their infrastructure. Utilize your executive support to gain support among the other teams if needed. Demonstrate the value of the cloud to business leaders across your organisation. Show them how the cloud and hybrid designs can help the team work smarter and be more effective.

Prepare for future success

Once the team has some traction to move forward, the CCOE team should ensure all the pieces are in place, whether they do it themselves or they assist a more distributed solution. It is important that the cloud strategy is well-documented and reference architectures are built. Preferred tools should be specified. Reusable code should be created to help with deployments and migrations. Foghorn often helps customers accelerate this step by providing our expertise with reference architectures for the cloud providers and access to our deep library of Fogsource℠ terraform modules.

Provide leadership and evangelize the solution

Once the organization is prepared with a strategy, tools, code and executive support, it is time to expand. We have seen this happen in a variety of ways. Sometimes the best strategy is to use your executive sponsor to sell the solution to all of the executives. In other cases, it is better to advertise the cloud initiative with more of a grassroots strategy where you sell the solution to key business units and leverage their authority to sell the solution to their executives. Either way, the goal of the CCOE team is to provide leadership, guidance, and support to ensure the cloud initiative succeeds.

The hardest part of a company's transformation to a cloud-first or infrastructure agnostic strategy can be convincing departments that are resistant to change and are tied to legacy and status quo architectures and processes. The CCOE team must have a well-thought out strategy and be able to explain the advantages of utilizing the public cloud and hybrid architectures. They must be able to explain why the cloud-first strategy will help the organization and their customers.

Utilize your executive sponsor and/or external consultants to sell your solution. From my experience, the hardest part of delivering a solution is convincing all parties involved to work together for a common goal. Once that is achieved, the technology usually falls into place with everyone pitching in to deliver success. Success begets success.

Foghorn, an Evoque company, can help build your CCOE for a better cloud and hybrid cloud

With multi-tenant data centers across the USA, Evoque recently acquired cloud engineering experts Foghorn to help their customers accelerate innovation in the cloud, colocation or both.

Over the past fifteen years, AWS Premier Tier, Azure Gold and GCP partners Foghorn have helped drive cloud initiatives that scale at the pace of business. Their experts have seen first hand that cloud transformations need good leadership to be successful. Foghorn's FogOps Team approach augments internal CloudOps and IT teams and to help build a CCOE to help deliver on the promise of the cloud and hybrid cloud.

Author Cloud provides consulting and engineering support around cloud managed services and solutions and has developed a platform for Datacenter Cloud providers to compete for your business. It takes just 2-3 minutes to create and submit a customized cloud RFP that will automatically engage you and your business with the industry leading datacenter providers in the world.


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