Cloud Operating Models – What are they for?

This article will briefly touch on the trend to rethink and restructure IT teams around the concept of a “Cloud Operating Model”. The cloud represented by fluffy pictograms and icons has become familiar to all manner of human beings today.  IT professionals, ordinary users and consumers and certainly technology sponsors and stakeholders understand it is symbolic of a powerful shift that holds many promises and sometimes many mysteries. In some solution designs, this familiar icon can oversimplify a maze of networks, data centers, integration components and SLAs.  Another aspect of the move to cloud can “cloud” the understanding of people and organizations.  Yes, skilled and talented workers are essential in the cloud equation and a renewed interest in this area is being framed as Cloud Operating Models.  This crucial aspect of organizing teams and governance can be overlooked simply as a result of the fervor of acquiring and consuming new and exciting services and platform solutions.   Some assume that the people aspect naturally falls into place with preparedness and any orchestration easily unfolding while the cloud model takes shape.  Customers have people, vendors have people, integrators and other providers have people and all have processes to follow. People act according to their defined responsibilities and processes. While often workers go above and beyond due to their passion and ability to draw upon their core knowledge, this does not always mean that efficiency grows or that value is created.  New models must be created that are aligned with the cloud mindset and cloud-based ecosystems and arrangements.

Many traditional responsibilities do not simply disappear into a cloud.  Some aspects of the cloud can be treated as a black box, true, but the cloud should not be treated as a magical force.  There are different models to consider and choose such as IaaS, PaaS and SaaS each with benefits that should mesh with the organization’s business and technology strategy. Associated with each cloud model or more likely some combination, there is a set of contractual arrangements, support arrangements, networks and management tools that require skilled resources who understand their respective role and the linkages among these characteristics and properties.  It is becoming more apparent why the cloud market and tech authors insist on using the term “transformation” when discussing a shift to the cloud. Digital Transformation  is central to the SAP strategy to help customers become an Intelligent Enterprise.   Many things need to be carefully assessed and planned to make this journey a success.

Ever increasing attention is being paid to how things get done in the cloud and by whom. It is quite common to see trends and proposals for Cloud Operating Models which address the familiar people, processes, technology within a modern context which may include things like multi-cloud architectures, devOps, incorporating artificial intelligence into support services and so on.   These Cloud Operating Models are calibrated to the new drivers stemming from cloud adoption, for example time-to-value.

Deloitte Cloud Workforce and Operating Model Services describes their offering to assess and define a Cloud Operating Model and the quote below very concisely sums up what’s behind this interest to re-think IT operations.

Deloitte%20quote

Deloitte quote

Part of the reason to assess and redesign an IT model is to look at how cloud solutions impact traditional IT roles and functions.  Self-service is a big part of cloud to provide an easier to consume experience and minimize disruption.  IT therefore may adjust some support roles to become more business centric rather than purely technical.  For example, an IT role expanding their understanding of what a cloud service provider does and what its performance obligations are might occur in a role previously concerned with delivering the support to the users.  Thus, the role has now morphed into a valued coordinator and relationship manager.

More and more creative services and concepts will spring forward to fit into the future of these new operating models.  The goal is simply to allow the business to thrive while enabling efficiencies and helping to minimize disruptions.

Further information on the offerings from Cloud Application Services from SAP Enterprise Cloud Services visit here.