Setting up Cloud transformation initiatives in an organization takes work. It is even tougher to get it going and growing. Delivering a successful Cloud transformation needs to focus on value. There is a need for standardized value delivery with quicker prioritization (and de-prioritization) of Cloud workstreams. Often, some workstreams begin in multiple pockets and in different orders of magnitude, all of which need to be transparent to each other and must orchestrate together. Employee and customer experiences through incremental and consumable changes in action become crucial to building on the momentum. The progress serves to propagate value and awareness across the larger organization. Throughout the adoption path, an alignment to business and IT objectives is required for better benchmarking, traceability, and value realization
This paper delves into how an organization can increase Cloud maturity, scale, and responsiveness to the expected business objectives. A key element of adaptive governance is a scaled agile framework (SAFe) that helps the CCoE scale the organization’s cloud transformation journey. A CCoE aligned to an adaptive governance model needs an underlying agile framework to transform the Cloud agenda from the individual team level to portfolio and then to the program level. SAFe combines agile and lean system thinking practices, delivers enterprise Cloud programs of value, helps align business and customer context, and widens the scope of functional planning and value delivery1.
The Adaptive governance operating model
The operating model for adaptive governance is structured around quickly understanding and navigating through decisions that impact business outcomes. Business environments undergo constant changes due to external forces, which include newer industry regulations, competition entering newer markets at a faster pace, advisors with newer projections for the overall industry, and some industries taking a bigger hit than others during a crisis (the travel and hospitality industry, for instance, during a pandemic). Organizations need to be open to changes, able to strategize and modify directions, and accelerate on demand to ensure that their market advantage is sustained. Adaptive governance provides the framework and the models that can align to internal and external changes. It can also identify areas needing a change in strategy and execution to ensure that business outcomes are met and exceeded and modify the transformation charter accordingly for the future. Some governing elements of the framework are listed below:
The scaled agile framework provides stability and structure. Another critical constituent is the availability of current and accurate organizational data – interconnected with business and IT – in the form of business and IT dashboards. The data’s recency and accuracy are paramount to ensuring that every milestone is measured, captured, and understood. There is a need for robust data architecture to convert data into information and then to insights. The four types of analytical categories listed below provide details:
The next part of the model is the information correlation plane. Data from the business processes, applications, infrastructure, security, and cost dimensions are captured using automated tools and systems and correlated further. The integrated information feeds into the adaptive governance maturity assessment model and helps provide recommendations to revise the business and technology charter as needed. This process helps in driving business outcomes and ensures that the required business value is provided.
Adaptive governance maturity assessment and the journey toward actionable results
Evolving and driving business values and outcomes need synergies across businesses and the application-infrastructure layers. These synergies need to manifest across both the strategy and operations phases. Defining the expected business value helps determine the proper business outcomes for the organization. These business outcomes then translate into organization-wide metrics that track and measure the outcomes and position them for success.
The metrics / key performance indicators (KPIs) that are thus created are more aligned to the business and help measure vital factors impacting the business. It is important to note that metrics are not outputs and are only a means to an end. The validity of the metrics is vital, and they must be made actionable, leveraging the adaptive governance maturity assessment.
Adaptive governance maturity assessment
The adaptive governance maturity assessment helps drive the metrics into action. Across the entire cloud organization, through a series of contextualized questionnaire responses, the maturity of the organization is classified into the following maturity levels:
Each level determines a step toward keeping up with and ahead of changes. As the organization’s maturity improves, it becomes more adept at navigating the change. The first two levels – Aligned and Optimized – constitute a discrete governance maturity for the organization, where it is competent to tackle standard scoped deliveries. The next three levels – Integrated, Enterprise, and Ecosystem – bring in the adaptive color to the organization to scale and grow with the Cloud. The Cloud Center of Excellence is typically in a nascent/rudimentary stage during the Aligned and Optimized governance levels.
The measurement model also includes tool-led insights and qualitative assessments through comprehensive questions and ratings to deliver scorecards that check for hits and misses. Ratings and predictive analytics help tune the metrics from the bottom up. The operating and assessment models help the organization scale seamlessly between discrete and adaptive governance and encourage further steps to tune and redefine the Cloud charter when needed.
Measurement to action
Through the metrics-based assessment, there is a clear baseline indicating where the organization stands, and the recommended actions are based on the measurement-to-action principles:
Delivering the actions
The Cloud Center of Excellence owns the actions prescribed by the maturity assessment model. The group orchestrates the actions through its core and extended functions across the business and tech realms. These could be around a Cloud cost optimization exercise from the cost and economics function, driving business ideation to tech translation through the enterprise architecture group, or moving batches of mission-critical workloads to the Cloud by the migration and transformation office.
Scaling Cloud adoption with the adaptive governance framework
Scalable Cloud delivery is understandably a huge mountain to climb. However, with adaptive governance by its side, a CCoE can help align and refine its Cloud vision and implement an agile strategy that achieves optimum business outcomes. It is essential to keep the governance function always staffed and not look at it like a SWAT team in a crisis. Retaining an active focus on integrating objectives, metrics, and actions brings a higher chance of success in Cloud transformations.
Cloud Consulting Partner
Nikhil Warrier is a Cloud Consulting Partner with Wipro’s iCORE Consulting group and advises customers in their cloud strategy, governance, and operating model transformation journeys. He is in continued pursuit of creating value across the business and technology continuum by converging business strategy with technology enablers. He can be reached at email@example.com