Skip to main content

Getting cloud right: Transforming with momentum

This is the second blog in a two-part series. Click here to read the first blog, 'Getting cloud right: How to prepare for a successful transformation'.
A year has passed since your cloud transformation began. It’s been going well, with over 50% of applications now running on the cloud. But momentum has recently slowed, as has the rate of workloads being transformed. More concerningly, several new workloads have been deployed into the data centre despite a cloud-first policy – and spend is rising quickly.

Even when organisations make the best of starts to cloud transformation , this scenario is all too common and can happen for many reasons. Unlike migration programs of the past, cloud transformation touches every part of the organisation and can’t be put on autopilot. It requires continuous and coordinated focus across the organisation to combat the resistance of change at scale. 

Through our experience in cloud transformation, we’ve identified several important factors that commonly impact momentum.

1. Show me the value: Securing continued funding

Cost savings do not equal value. Value includes aligning with strategy, mitigating risk, accelerating innovation and product development, and even achieving sustainability goals.  When looking to secure funding for subsequent phases of transformation, focus on quantifying the value it will deliver now and into the future. Cost savings are a point-in-time benefit, but value can be persistent, recurring and a source of differentiation.

2. People move: Document and automate

One of the biggest impacts to momentum comes from turnover in core project or BAU resources. Retaining staff in today’s climate is a topic in itself, but when it comes to limiting the impact of turnover on cloud transformation, there are two key focus areas. Firstly, you should rigorously capture and document transformation methodology, decisions, lessons learnt and other important details to ensure they can be used and executed independently of the author. Secondly, you should automate as much of the transformation process as possible, using software to further mitigate the risks of people change.

3. Know your customer: Providing equal opportunity access

The many benefits of cloud include the choices of how services can be consumed, from a web interface to an API and everything in between. Don’t settle on a single channel for consumption – instead, strive to pass as many of these choices through to your internal customers as possible. Importantly, by providing your internal cloud advocates the ability to consume in line with the way they work, you will ensure the broadest uptake of services across the organisation. 

4. The tale of two worlds: Running legacy and cloud environments simultaneously

The skills, tools and processes required to optimally run a cloud environment are quite different than those of its on-premises legacy counterpart. Organisational investment (both financial and non-financial) needs to be prioritised towards the transformation, with a line drawn in the sand to prevent any new workloads or applications being deployed into the legacy environment – essentially placing it in maintenance mode.

5. New service disruption: Building an agile architecture

The speed at which new services are introduced across cloud providers is both a significant advantage, but can also slow momentum as new services are onboarded. Your cloud architecture must be agile enough to support the inclusion of new services as they become available. With hundreds of new cloud services every year, a typical six-month+ architecture creation cycle is far too slow. Instead, focus on a Minimum Viable Architecture (MVA) to get started. Aim for agility, not perfection.

6. Lead from the front: Executive cloud advocates

Cloud has a broad impact across the organisation. That’s why all members of the C-Suite need to understand why the transformation is important and how it enables business value.  The momentum must come from both the business, driven by leaders pushing IT towards the cloud, and from IT enabling the new services to pull the business towards cloud.

7. What’s old is not new again: Cloud shouldn’t look like the existing architecture

We’re often asked how to extend an existing architecture or security pattern from on-premises to the cloud. This undermines cloud’s very value proposition. Look to transformation as an opportunity to transform not just your workloads, but also the ecosystem of software and patterns that support them. Anything remaining on-premises should look like cloud, not the other way around.
Cloud transformation has the potential to uplift businesses in remarkable ways, but it can face resistance from the status quo. Once transformation is underway, your organisation’s focus should shift to removing points of friction whilst maintaining appropriate governance.

With the right guard rails in place, a choice of consumption mechanisms and a license to innovate, internal customers will be your biggest advocates in maintaining momentum.

If you would like to learn more about digital transformation in government, visit our AFR Government Services Summit 2022 page.