Cloudofobic Companies and How to Help Them

Graphic novel style man running away from a simple cloud graphic. What it means to be Cloudofobic

There are companies today not interested in the cloud, but could greatly benefit from moving to the cloud.  These cloudofobic companies need help with their thinking and how to envision a new world in the cloud.  Building a cloud business case in a cloudofobic environment is a recipe for disaster as they are not ready for organizational change.  The first objective is to get over the major resistance to the cloud, so the organization can create a cloud business case.

Where to Start with a Cloudofobic Company

Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” as Stephen R. Covey stated, is a good approach when dealing with a cloudofobic organization.  By seeking to understand the thoughts and beliefs behind not using the cloud, then one can engage people in the organization about using the cloud.  This is a critical step, as you need to connect with people, which is hard to do if you do not understand them.  Therefore, use conversations, meetings, surveys or anything which may help you get information from the cloudfobic organization.  Once you have this information, then you can begin to engage them about moving to the cloud.

One of the most valid reasons for not using the cloud is regulations.  However, this most likely targets public clouds, specifically public shared clouds.  This is why one needs to understand the reasoning behind decisions to not use the cloud.  People could have made a decision years ago, when shared public cloud was the norm and there were hardly any other options.  Today, there are public shared, public dedicated,  private,  and on-premise cloud solutions available to organizations.  So, it may be a good decision for an organization to reassess the cloud.

When engaging the cloudfobic organization, focus on the key people and their key concerns.  By narrowing the scope, you can create a focused message and benefits.  This will result in more meetings and conversations, but they will begin to see the benefits of the cloud, especially if you can show their competitors are already benefiting from the cloud.  With understanding of the cloudfobic reasoning behind the organization, it is time to seek to be understood.

Show, Don’t Tell

By knowing what is preventing a company from using the cloud, it is easy to show how the cloud can address organizational concerns.  These concerns need to be addressed first before highlighting other cloud benefits.

If there concerns relate to security and compliance, then start with documentation from the cloud provider.  For AWS, they have a section of their site reserved for compliance and security.   Since security is a shared model in the cloud, especially IaaS services, the cloud user part of the equation needs to be addressed.  This were infrastructure automation, infrastructure as code and other best practices can help along with common OS and cloud security guidelines.

If the concern is around costs, then calculate the costs.  AWS has a number of tools to help with cost, like TCO Calculator and Simple Monthly Calculator.  If the calculator just does not create a strong argument, then use AWS Trusted Advisor with a PoC based on an organization’s Tier 1 app in the cloud.  There are many concerns of why an organization is not using the cloud, it is your responsibility to show them their fears can be mitigated. Once the primary concerns are put to rest, then highlight other key benefits of the cloud.

Depending on the cloud used, there are a number of benefits available to an organization.  In the process of seeking to understand an organization’s aversion to the cloud, one understands which cloud benefits are likely to resonate with organization’s decision makers.  Therefore, show them a future with the cloud at the center and the benefits it brings.  This includes infrastructure automation and infrastructure as code, as these are very powerful in the cloud.  To deliver this to the organization requires new roles and skills in the organization.

New Cloud-Friendly IT Roles

In the cloud, the organization is going to need people skilled to get the most from the cloud.  This means people with cloud skills from the top to bottom of the IT organization.  A large company should have someone responsible for the cloud(s) within an organization.

A company should have a head of cloud.  This person should own the vision of the cloud within the organization and ensure its utilization is inline with the business goals.  This means they own the cloud:

  • Business case
  • Center of Excellence
  • Provider partnerships
  • Personnel

Besides owning the organization’s cloud, they need to influence development in the cloud.  This means the head of cloud uses cloud solution architects to influence development.

Cloud solution architects are people who understand systems architecture and the services available from their cloud provider(s).  They will are heavily involved in the migration factory used to move projects to the cloud.  This means they are comfortable with the six strategies of migrating an application to the cloud.  The cloud solution architect works with other architects along with development teams and the cloud engineers.

The new cloud engineer is responsible for automating the cloud and helping development teams to get the most out of the cloud.  The cloud engineers delivers the cloud benefits.   So, they need to understand what are the key goals of the organizational’s cloud are, so they turn them into reality.  To maximize the benefit of these new roles they need to reside in a new organizational structure.

New Organizational Structure

Anyway you slice it, there will be two IT environments, legacy and the new cloud.  If a hybrid solution is the target, then these two environments may coexist into the foreseeable future.  The cloud solution will determine the end state from an organizational perspective.  The head of cloud is the owner of the cloud estate and they need to organize people under them to best support the business.  They need to plugin into existing IT processes, so they can ensure cloud resources are being utilized correctly.  This means the cloud is another resource to IT, but the head of cloud ensure it is utilized correctly.  First step to using the cloud correctly is training.

First step into the cloud is eduction, this means the cloud center of excellence (CCOE) is one of the first entities to exist.  The CCOE needs to be operational well before the cloud is used.  This entity provides training and guidance on the cloud within the organization. This must be the goto place for all things cloud.  This center identifies people ready to work on the cloud-side of the house.  So, this will help fill the new cloud solutions architect and cloud engineer positions with existing employees.

Cloud solution architects must work with other architects to influence projects early on.  This ensures applications work well in the cloud and if possible, make them cloud native applications.  In addition, the cloud solution architects will evolve existing/future system and frameworks architectures created in-house, so they benefit from the cloud.  For this reason, they will report to the head of cloud.

Cloud engineers work primarily with the development teams and cloud solution architects to deliver the cloud to IT projects.  They can reside on a cross-functional development team, but should have some type of reporting back to the head of cloud.  This ensures cloud engineers are doing cloud work most of the time.

Beyond Cloudofobic

Once a cloudofobic organization makes the decision to move to the cloud, it is time to begin work on a cloud business case.  This will help flush out the key areas the business needs to focus on, so they can achieve success in their move to the cloud.