Enterprise cloud adoption strategies – Role of Central IT

By 2020, a corporate ‘’no cloud” policy is as rare as a “no internet” policy is today – Gartner.

Available data clearly indicates the direction of Cloud infrastructure market forecast.

Adopting cloud at enterprises require some additional considerations on the following topics

  • Compliance
  • Security
  • Governance
  • Auditability / traceability
  • Operating models
  • Responsibility model
  • Way of work

Irrespective of the size of the organization, there are certain common areas of focus during cloud adoption such as

  • Cloud(native) first approach
  • Buy vs build
  • T-shaped skilled people
  • Application architecture and technology landscape
  • Culture of safety and experimentation
  • End to end value chains with minimal handoffs

What is Central IT?

Central IT is IT function of an enterprise which provides its Data center services / infrastructure services. Central IT (also known as Central CIO, IT for IT etc based on the organization lingo) provides various services to business units such as network, Databases, servers, application platforms (e.g. api platforms) etc.

So, will this function be relevant after an enterprise adopts cloud? Yes, but not in the same way as pre-cloud era. The role of Central IT depends on the cloud vision of the organization. An organization cloud vision can be broadly put on a below spectrum.

Trust no one: Central IT function decides on the infra requirements. This is almost like using cloud as another data center. This doesn’t really make the best out of cloud. However, gives total control to central IT

Trust the decentral process:  Business Units are free to specify their infra needs. For e.g. using Elastic Beanstalk or Lamda etc. can be driven by BU’s but ultimately executed by Central IT

Trust only specialists in teams: Only certain people in BU’s can create / manage cloud resources. These are the people with special privileges who not necessarily come from central IT

Trust the teams but verify: Teams are allowed to take total responsibility of their infrastructure. However, Central IT provides an automated way to enforce policy requirements on all the resources teams create.

Central IT as “Cloud Evangelists” during cloud adoption:

There are clear benefits in having a “Cloud Evangelists” model (can also be known as “Cloud center of expertise”, “Cloud competency center” etc based on organization lingo) during cloud adoption. Adopting cloud at an enterprise has an impact on its people, process and technology. To enable, facilitate and fasten the change process, “Cloud Evangelists” will define standards, advise on cloud technology and its usage and coach BU’s to adopt cloud.

This “Cloud Evangelists” team(s) will also ensure that common concerns such as compliance, security etc are enforced automatically so that each BU’s need not to spend any additional effort on it. Below diagram depicts a possible role a “Cloud Evangelists” team can play in an enterprise.

I plan to express my views in detail on each topic of cloud adoption in my next series of blogs. Do let me know what you think about the role of a central cloud team? Do you recognize the aspects I mentioned in this blog? Agree or disagree, do let me know via comments.

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Hi, I’m Phani Bhushan. I work as a Technical Consultant and a Scrum.org trainer at DevOn, helping organizations to make the transition to the Agile way of working. I personally believe that successful software development starts with good collaboration between business and IT people. Success starts with people who are willing to cooperate with other professions. Indeed, individuals and interactions. Agile methods like Scrum help people to understand each other’s challenges and figure out how they can help one another in order to come up with winning solutions. As a Scrum.org trainer, I teach the Professional Scrum Master and the Professional Scrum Product Owner classes. I’m a technologist at heart, I’m passionate about Continuous Delivery, DevOps, automated testing and Application Lifecycle Management. I love to help organizations implementing Continuous Delivery practices such as: Infrastructure automation, DevOps, deployment pipelines etc.

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