Most organizations would agree that the cloud is the place to be. It can offer greater flexibility, scalability and agility. But many enterprise efforts to adopt and scale to the cloud fall short of expectations. Some organizations get too caught up with the hype of new technologies they can implement—the WHAT of the cloud—without ever making a clear business case for them—the more important WHY. Others get stuck in an experimental mire without having started with the work of clearly envisioning where they want their cloud journey to take them. And the list goes on.
Of course, you intend your cloud journey to move your organization to new capabilities, innovations, and new opportunities. However, like any journey, you may run into wrong turns, roadblocks, and detours – maybe even get a little lost. You may find yourself a little frustrated when it doesn’t move the needle as much as you thought it would. Even worse, your customers don’t see much difference. To avoid frustration and disappointment, it’s important to set goals and expectations carefully. In this post, we’ll share a little practical “travel guidance” to turn your cloud journey from a big “meh” to a big deal.
The Path Forward
How can you plan and execute a modernization implementation that reaps the sizable rewards the cloud can offer, ensuring delivery of the expected value? To help take the guesswork out of realizing predictable business value in the cloud, Onix has identified six-foundational guideposts that will give you a framework for creating a business case that’s stronger than “it’s what everyone is doing.”
Gather everyone around a consistent goal
Teams may think they are pursuing the same goal and objectives, but once everyone gets to work, they can get off track; their interpretations of the goal become misaligned with the organization as a whole. The resulting solution does not come together in a cohesive, easy-to-understand and easy-to-use system. The expected value is not realized.
From the C-suite to the development team to the front desk, each person should know the difference and experience the value of having modernized with the cloud. To keep everyone aligned, periodically take a moment to ask each member of your team what the business purpose of their work is. if they stumble, this may be an area that needs further attention.
Paint a clear, measurable and irresistible vision
It’s important for business owners, stakeholders and employees to have a visceral understanding of and desire to achieve your organizational goals and how your modernization will get you there. So from the outset, define the success criteria you want to see from the cloud. You’ve heard what the cloud can do; now apply it to your business—and include the numbers.
Quantify the business metrics you want to see and how you’ll assess qualitative results. Then, as you progress through your modernization journey, evaluate results and pivot as required. The only way to accomplish your aims within your timeframe is to understand how you’re tracking against those goals and gauging your velocity.
Chart your course
Just as no journey is done with one step, the cloud journey will continue to open up your organization to new goals, capabilities and opportunities. That means things can change as you travel—customer needs evolve faster than ever, business strategies change, competitive landscape shifts and even your internal capabilities may alter. So think in increments that allow for mid-course corrections without throwing you into chaos. With every stage and change, keep your end goals in mind. What are the capabilities you’ll need to achieve them?
As you proceed, think and talk in terms of People, Process, Technology and Information. When Onix delivers this design, we call it a high-level “Solution Blueprint.” Make yours a complete, end-to-end picture that the entire team can refer back to as a north star. And remember: Don’t grab cool technology just for its own sake. Always have a direct connection from plan design to business objectives.
Make your milestones manageable
Every plan begins with an overall big-picture vision in mind, and that’s great. But you need to break that master plan down into milestones, or sprints. Identifying the most important areas to modernize first is an important step in gaining the most value quickly. Breaking larger efforts into smaller parts will also allow multiple teams to tackle different pieces of the business objectives.
Think in terms of Agile sprints where you go for a series of minimum viable products (MVP), each delivering on a business outcome. This can be a mindset change in itself, helping each team member shift their thinking to a more business-forward approach.
Invite the right people on the journey
More often than not, multiple teams will need to coordinate on a given project, as each section of the larger solution will need to interface with others. In Agile methods, there are established best practices of how to do this coordination without disrupting agility or speed. Onix can help you identify and implement these key techniques to ensure teams stay aligned while working with relative independence.
As part of Agile, scrum can be scaled across multiple teams while maintaining the central Agile philosophy of autonomous teams. Using well-proven Agile scaling methods such as the Scaled Agile Framework (or SAFe) and Large Scale Scrum (or LeSS) you can boost the value of Agile thinking across your organization and accelerate sprints to your goal. The Onix team can help you transform your processes with these.
Pack everything you’ll need for the journey—but not too much
Some of your legacy systems may not need to be completely replaced or recreated, they’ll just need to be improved on or leveraged in a new context. Therefore, it’s important to identify what systems you can get maximum value from with minimal modernization. This will leave you more resources with which to tackle applications and systems that are critical but require extensive modification to be maintainable and make use of new capabilities in the cloud. Remember, you’re going for maximum measurable business value, not change for change’s sake. Onix can help with that through tools like Google’s “Modernization Fit” which assesses application readiness for containerization.
Best advice: one step at a time
Clarifying and planning for increased business value is just one principle of a successful modernization journey. We’ll be following up with the other six in this space, so stay tuned. But don’t feel overwhelmed. No journey is completed in one step—nor is any step made without the broader context of the why, where and what behind the journey. We’ll be right here, continuing to help to keep it manageable.
Just drop us a line to request a free consultation to clarify, design and implement the right cloud plan for better business value and more.