Organisational change and the implementation of the cloud

Charlie Spargo's picture

Last night in London, tech firm CloudStratex had its official launch, setting out its plans to streamline cloud migration for organisations.

Research has shown that increasing numbers of businesses are in the process of adopting the cloud or are looking to do so within the next three years - yet the process can take an average of 15 months to complete.

CloudStratex is committed to highlighting and addressing the gaps in the cloud sector, using its proprietary model to improve the situation, and was founded by IT specialists Adrian Overall, Brad Day, Tony Irving and Adam O’Hare.

But why is it so important? Adrian Overall, CloudStratex Co-founder, explains the foundations of the platform.

The importance of the cloud, by Adrian Overall, CloudStratex

Cloud migration and its challenges

The challenge is that for the last 40 years, we've been building native capability in our data centres where we owned the architecture, equipment and the service it provides. 

Now with the advent of the Public Cloud, the skills that have served us so well need to be repurposed to manage the providers of similar and enhanced capability but with the proviso that we rent it on a consumption basis.

Much of the legacy world doesn’t fit in the cloud, so it is actually very hard to engineer it to fit while maintaining acceptable service to the business. For the last three years or so, people have been migrating to the cloud with varying levels of success.

We talk about workloads - these can be off-the-shelf applications with little or no modification, to large, monolithic, highly customised ERP implementations. The latter, of course, is extremely difficult to land in the Public Cloud.

Once you have a workload hosted in the cloud, the necessity turns to managing it and ensuring it remains under corporate governance, meets the specific security needs of the organisation and stays under control; while also ensuring we benefit from the agility, flexibility and the functionality that the cloud platform offers. In my experience, this is where the market lacks the maturity and operational savvy to genuinely solve for this challenge.  

We are due a correction in the IT services market. For a significant period of time, we've been beholden to exceptionally large IT services organisations. These organisations have fulfilled a role that is somewhat akin to the “do it to me” mantra. They provide capability and take control of an organisation's assets, both intellectual and physical - and take over.

But the sentiment in the market is changing, and the impact of handing over significant capital in this way isn’t as simple or compelling as it once was.

Firstly, as with anything, there's a trade-off between ceding control, and the benefit of DIY. Smaller companies are popping up every day to help clients leverage the platforms they are investing in, and the advent of the cloud has dramatically accelerated this by offering a publicly consumable, open for all, capability that simply wasn’t available in the past.

This means that a lot of the services previously underpinning these large organisations are simply not relevant anymore.

Secondly, it is not so easy to disintermediate the service. In the past, we could take a specific portion of a service and outsource it. For example, a company would provide storage managed services; essentially taking control of a company’s storage assets and the service, while another organisation would run another complementary portion of the service.

The Cloud is so much more integrated now from top to bottom, with everything highly functionally aligned - and so it is almost impossible to break the connection between the front-end and the back-end. This of course, has the knock-on effect that companies will need to become self sufficient.

Organisational change

Organisational change is tough. Many companies are simply not yet aware - or at such an early stage of cloud adoption - so they aren’t as conscious that things need to change. It isn’t a negative; actually it's very positive, as it gives key personnel the opportunity to retrain and refocus careers in areas that are in their infancy in the context of the organisation.

It is a great opportunity for the trailblazers to forge new, exciting and dynamic skillsets that are in high demand, so we see that the opportunities for people are very much in play. The issue really comes to the fore in the context of the model in which they operate, and here companies will likely want to incubate capability and operating models seeded with next-gen talent alongside the key subject matter experts in their organisation.

Companies like CloudStratex will be asked to facilitate incubators with highly gifted practitioners that can teach people to fish and know when to leave the building once the service is sustaining.

Advice for new companies

It’s actually a lot easier to adopt services based in the cloud if you are a greenfield company. You aren’t carrying the legacy of the past, and so you don’t have to migrate anything in order to leverage these services.

You may need to be aware of how data is managed in the cloud, and what your obligations are in relation to the security of that data. In terms of the advantage this gives them; one of the key barriers to entrepreneurship in the past has been the adoption of platforms and services that they need to implement in order to actually start run their business.

This has become virtually frictionless now and so the barriers to entry and acumen required are not as prevalent. There are also significant numbers of vendor lead programmes that help aspiring young businesses by offering training, mentoring and coaching to people interested in leveraging their platform.