The right mindset for the cloud

By 2024, Gartner predicts that 45% of IT spending within organizations will shift from traditional solutions to the cloud — all in an effort to enable digital transformation.

This is what Gartner refers to as “cloud-shift”, and cloud adoption is further accelerating due to the COVID-19 crisis.

However, undergoing this shift is easier said than done.

Mike Kavis, a pioneer in cloud computing and author of the book “Accelerating Cloud Adoption: Optimizing the Enterprise for Speed and Agility”, says that a lot of cloud adoption and digital transformation is pure mindset, making “people” and “process” the first priorities, rather than the technology.

“Too often, the focus is purely on technology, but we need to change the supporting organization structure of the operating model and supporting business processes at the same speed that we’re changing to technology.” Kavis says during an episode of Coding Over Cocktails, a podcast by Toro Cloud.

Kavis is the Chief Cloud Architect in Deloitte Consulting LLP’s Cloud Practice, responsible for allowing organizations to implement their cloud strategy.

He shares that most clients have the wrong mindset when it comes to the cloud.

“The problem is there’s a lot of old thinking. There is this fear that this cloud is just a big, unsecure place. But, reality is, with the right rigor, it can actually be more secure than what you have on-premise.”

He also argues that anytime you hear someone say the cloud is “someone else’s data center”, they’re on the path to failure, as the cloud is much more than that.

The value of cloud computing

“The value in the cloud is when you start moving up the stack. You use databases as servers. Now all of a sudden you have a fully managed database that auto-scales process zones and regions. Instead of implementing my own Kafka queue, I can use queue-as-a-service. I don’t have to worry about scaling, managing these third-party solutions. The value is going up that food chain.” he explains.

Proof of this is how cloud vendors are increasingly creating APIs for healthcare, finance, and even business-services-as-a-service.

“When you’re allowed to go up the stack like that, the speed at which you can deliver software is incredible. And what you focus on are your specific requirements, instead of all the plumbing and commoditized business processes.” Kavis states.

The right cloud adoption mindset

Prior to cloud adoption, an organization must first adopt the right mindset before applying a new operating model.

The reason for this, Kavis maintains, are the new ways we’re building software today. In terms of organizational structure for instance, it no longer makes sense to create server, storage, or network teams, or any other teams which are based on domain expertise.

But this doesn’t necessarily mean that we get rid of these teams and employees entirely.

“What we need is brains from the storage people, network people, to sit in a room with us and help architect virtual private clouds and figure out what’s the right storage unit. We don’t need them turning screw drivers and patching devices anymore. We still need those people, probably more than ever before — but we need their engineering minds and not their administrative minds.” Kavis explains.

He further states that work has to be more collaborative and more engaged, and that teams become more focused and more product-oriented.

Embracing change

People can be resistant to change, but in order to achieve success in cloud adoption, it is something that needs to be embraced.

Kavis says that, while it is easy to say, “it’s incredibly hard to change the hearts and souls of the corporations to get them to move that way”.

“A big part of it is the operating model… It has to be more collaborative and more engaged. We really recommend teams are focused — more product-oriented.” he advises.

“You can still have your center of excellence, but you pull from there and you have security engineers on your product. That way, you don’t need 58 meetings, you have someone with that expertise and they can go back to the security wall when they need to to get the answers. But, you have a full stack team there with shared goals. Those shared goals are goals of the product. That’s the formula that works.”

Coding Over Cocktails is a podcast created by Toro Cloud, a company that offers a low-code, API centric platform for application development & integration.

This podcast series tackles issues faced by enterprises as they manage the process of digital transformation, application integration, low-code application development, data management, and business process automation. It’s available for streaming in most major podcast platforms, including Spotify, Apple, Google Podcasts, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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