Companies moving to cloud should approach the endeavor like any major IT project: follow a governance framework to achieve best results. An effective cloud governance framework will make sure all stakeholders are included, all derivative issues are identified and addressed, and adoption risks are mitigated. Embark on a cloud journey without one, and companies take many risks: wasted resources, increased costs, non-standardized technology, security challenges, vendor lock-in, and ultimately poor cloud adoption. So, how can companies setup a cloud governance framework that drives effective cloud adoption and keeps the enterprise’s goals and strategies at the center of the project?
The emphasis should be focused on business, technology, and the overall organizational goals. A framework’s key guiding principles should help the organization meet the objectives of all stakeholders while making sure cloud service objectives are also met. The framework should mitigate, track and manage all organizational risks associated with cloud services. And, along with risk management, it should define data security protocols for all data stored in the cloud.
Accountability should be included in the guiding principles for a governance framework. Certify that the identifiable groups within the organization -- for example, governance boards -- are empowered to take action and are authorized and accountable for their actions. Verify that all involved parties adhere to procedures, processes, and authority structures, and enable individuals to be effective in their new roles, applying innovative learning techniques to minimize the impact on organization business models.
Elements of Cloud Governance
An effective framework includes a cloud business office, policies, governance processes, standards and guidelines, cloud metrics, and tools as shown below.
Fig 1: Cloud governance framework elements
Cloud Business Office
The Cloud Business Office (CBO) plays a key role in creating consistent oversight across the enterprise. It enables agility, innovation, and scalability. The CBO defines and publishes a set of reusable assets, standards, and metrics; promotes adoption of cloud services; applies cloud best practices; promotes collaboration across cloud governance, compliance, data privacy, and architecture; provides guiding principles that enable regulatory compliance; and gives clarity around “rules of engagement” for both old and new ways of working.
A CBO should consist of the cloud steering committee, IT executive team, cloud operations team, and the cloud transformation working group. The steering committee formalizes cloud governance across the enterprise, approves cloud policies, and provides an overall direction for cloud adoption.
Cloud Governance Policies
The policies should include strategic guidance, enterprise architecture, technology policies, acquisition, contracts and legal, vendor management, security, privacy, and compliance.
Cloud Governance Processes
Cater to the stakeholder governance objectives; for example, value delivery and risk optimization. Include practices to evaluate strategic options, providing direction to cloud service initiatives and monitoring the outcomes.
Standards and Guidelines
Develop a set of principles, standards, and guidelines to help the organization align functions and processes for optimized effectiveness.
Cloud governance includes metrics that estimate the adoption progress and ensures that business value is delivered. Scorecards or dashboards can effectively communicate cloud adoption progress throughout the project.
Cloud Governance Tools
These tools standardize the execution of policies, processes, and procedures.
Measure to Prove Success
There are a variety of ways to measure the success of cloud adoption. Common factors include productivity, savings, and efficiency. But other important metrics should be included: delivering business value through velocity, time from ideation to rollout, and the satisfaction index of all teams involved. A well-planned cloud governance framework identifies all of the metrics that drive a successful cloud adoption, ensures that the enterprise’s goals and objectives for the project are achieved, and that the investment decisions align with the enterprise and deliver timely business value.
Dr. Gopala Krishna Behara
Lead Enterprise Architect, Wipro
Dr. Gopala Krishna Behara is a Distinguished Member of Technical Staff and Lead Enterprise Architect at Wipro Digital. He has 24 years of IT experience covering emerging technologies. He is a certified AWS Solution Architect, Open Group TOGAF.
Chief Architect, Wipro
Raju Myadam is a Distinguished Member of Technical Staff and Chief Architect with Wipro Digital. With more than 24 years of experience, Raju specializes in digital business architecture covering omnichannel, emerging architecture patterns like micro-services, service style and reactive, API management, and PaaS, Big Data, NOSQL, DevOps, and Cloud integration. He is a certified AWS Solution Architect, Open Group TOGAF.