Hybrid Multicloud Adoption: A Programmatic Approach To Get Started
The latest installment in the series, this section will be focused on how to get started on your hybrid multicloud journey by following a programmatic approach.
Join the DZone community and get the full member experience.Join For Free
In our first blog, we introduced the definition and evolution of hybrid multicloud, key challenges of the enterprises, and the value realized by implementing a hybrid multicloud strategy. This blog will cover how to create a holistic and business-value-driven multicloud strategy. In order to provide agility, security, reliability, and access to a large ecosystem of services, a robust transformation strategy and program are required. This strategy must align with business objectives such as revenue growth, cost reduction, risk reduction, enhancing the customer experience, and capitalization of market opportunities.
Having created many transformation strategies across many industries, we have observed critical success factors that are worth noting. For instance, successful IT organizations tightly align their cloud strategies to business objectives while developing a target architecture and operating model blueprint while quantifying the costs and benefits in a business case. Organizations that have failed to implement their cloud strategy, or failed to realize their committed benefits, typically do not complete these important elements of a holistic strategy.
This section will be focused on how to get started on your journey by following a programmatic approach. A programmatic approach is necessary to develop and implement a hybrid multicloud strategy as brute force alone will not yield tangible benefits. Envisioning the future state and developing a blueprint along with a value-driven roadmap are key.
The diagram above shows that the approach is iterative and is built on short feedback cycles. It starts with establishing your current state and defining the future state based on the business and IT imperatives with quantified and measurable outcomes.
The Envision activities establish a high-level baseline understanding of the current state of IT operations, business priorities, and IT landscape. This is where the "North Star" begins to emerge as you identify innovation and automation opportunities, make strategic decisions, and experiment with hybrid multicloud platforms and technologies.
As you move to the Design activities, you will design key operating model capabilities, determine how to implement them iteratively, and evaluate the implications of the target operating model and culture change. As you embark on the Blueprint stage, you develop the high-level Target Operating Model (TOM) to prioritize the initiatives for these new and optimized capabilities. Here, it’s also important to refine and finalize the Target Operating Model blueprint by analyzing the impacts from architectural decisions (e.g. managed cloud services vs. self-managed options) and related business benefits.
Finally, in the Implementation phase, you will apply incremental changes to the IT landscape, operating model, workforce, and culture. Prioritizing the operating model activities is critical for a successful transformation program as it needs to align with the timing of service and technology changes.
How To Get Started With the “Envision Step”
Creating a Shared Vision
For any hybrid multicloud modernization journey to be successful, whether it is an entire enterprise-wide transformation or re-architecting just one business application, it is critical to first establish a shared vision.
“I want to reduce my operating expense.”
“I want to see my business unit adapt faster to customers’ demands.”
This important first step defines and evangelizes the "North Star" for the program, offering stability and a clear sense of success when designing, building, and executing the program. Many times, enterprises will try to add vision statements and additional objectives during execution, leading to stakeholder misalignment, re-work/throw-away work, and/or a failed delivery of original outcomes. Allowing all parties to come together to co-define the vision statement upfront benefits all stages of the journey. Business and IT stakeholders, as well as strategic partners (for their unbiased expertise and complementary skills), should co-create this vision. Allowing business partners to freely communicate their needs and upcoming business strategy can create more effective secured technology solutions and outcomes, instead of just building technology for the sake of building technology. This also allows for a consistent dialogue for not only how IT can support upcoming business initiatives, but how new technologies can present opportunities for additional business capabilities.
In our first blog, we stated that a critical value realization imperative is to “avoid vendor lock-in”. An open, hybrid multicloud strategy lets you build and manage workloads from anywhere without vendor lock-in.
Source: IBM Open Hybrid cloud strategy
A good strategy should always be aligned with business benefits and a growth mindset as shown in the diagram above.
After a clear vision is agreed to by your key stakeholders, outlining the business objectives and priorities, as well as metrics, helps structure what "success looks like" in a more quantified manner than the vision. These business objectives should be able to be measured to ensure success can be tracked and realized throughout the journey. Typically, these business objectives align to one or more of the following categories: Cost Savings, Business Agility and Speed, Revenue Growth, Resiliency, and Risk Mitigation.
- Cost Savings: e.g., Reduce Total Cost of Ownership by 20%
- Business Agility: e.g., Increase speed to market by 4 weeks
- Revenue Growth: e.g., Increase the number of online orders by 2000 customers a week
- Resiliency/Risk Mitigation: e.g., Decrease the number of outages by 20%
These categories capture a vast array of benefits when identifying the value of adopting hybrid multicloud. The alignment focuses on what the outcomes should be, which in turn will help to structure the business case and your value realization framework.
Defining Business Value
Defining the business objectives will help structure the business case and value metrics needed to evaluate and track the value of the solution. The business case can then be tuned to properly identify the right value drivers and expose the right levers to adjust in order to have an optimized solution. For example, if the vision is to increase the speed of a product team, having a business case that reveals IT cost reduction will not highlight the true value of the solution and it will prohibit a clear understanding of how to implement the correct solution. Furthermore, if execution begins without the proper metrics to track development productivity and speed to market, evaluations of your program will show a cost for investment without any return to justify the investment. These metrics will also need to be baselined prior to execution in order to establish a baseline in the current state to compare with the ongoing execution of the project. Lack of documentation will lead to ambiguity on project success and an unclear quantification of meeting business objectives.
Aligning the vision and business objectives with a robust set of metrics can ensure that the business case is outlining the true path for success and provides the transparency that is needed to track the progress of the project. Without this important element of your strategy, you risk answering the same questions over and over again: "Why are we doing this?” and “What value is all of this cost bringing us?”
To be successful, align the right key performance indicators (KPIs) as well as Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) upfront to allow for documentation of the value of transformation and scaling cloud adoption.
The financial model for transformation is one of the most important and heavily scrutinized artifacts that is created during the strategy phase. It should get refined throughout the transformation program as real data is gathered that validates or changes the value case. This technique delivers clarity and transparency to make well-informed decisions about transformation strategies.
Establishing the Plan
1. Build a Foundation Plan
Creating a hybrid multicloud strategy starts by reflecting on the organization's key objectives. At this initial stage, the organization needs to:
- Determine the reason why multiple clouds suites their business model.
- Make a list of the technical building block in the form requirements.
- Decide whether the enterprise will create the new environment in-house or via outsourcing.
- Set rough project deadlines.
- Allocate the project budget.
2. Set Overall Goals and KPIs
An enterprise needs to establish the areas where multi-cloud will deliver business value. The most common objectives could be:
- Eliminating vendor lock-in: Without the ability to switch to new clouds and vendors, the enterprise has very limited options for pricing, discounting, and features. A goal of multicloud can be achieving the flexibility to move between vendors without restrictions.
- Expanding to new markets: Enterprises often decide to deploy a multicloud to ensure optimal performance without latency across different geographic locations.
- Faster application delivery: Multicloud provides nearly instant access to resources. The lack of delay accelerates the delivery of new code, so the deployment goal can be to speed up the rate at which developers ship applications.
- Enhancing automation: Automation and self-service models make IT teams more efficient. Companies often decide to deploy a multicloud to allow the staff to focus on business-critical assignments instead of low-value, repetitive tasks.
- Reduce overall costs of ownership: Multicloud reduces costs due to cheaper compute resources, less excess capacity, and no hardware expenses. A common goal behind a multi-cloud is to bring the overall IT price under a specific financial threshold.
3. Create a Clear Business Outline
Understanding enterprise applications and their requirements are critical for a good business outcome. For example:
- What application portfolio requires high availability and business continuity?
- Data strategy: i.e., what data and processes need a high degree of protection?
- Which applications and their upstream or downstream components require significant scaling (scale-up and scale-out)?
- What type of application or platform workload belong in what type of cloud (private cloud, hyperscaler, Colo, and on-prem secured platform)?
Security should be pivotal for the entire strategy. Cybersecurity should never be a second thought in today’s context, so ensure your multicloud strategy accounts for security measures from the start. The focus should be always to manage risk and accelerate your business innovation and security at the same pace. Your plan should include:
- Security controls for each environment and the entire setup.
- Tools that ensure a safe and continuously improved multicloud environment build for the future.
- Deployment of new services and applications.
- Expansions of your workforce.
- Upcoming adoption of new solutions or technologies.
5. Right Team
Right team formation is one of the most critical building blocks of adopting a hybrid multicloud strategy. Creating the right balance of IT and Business with ecosystem partners is a critical pillar of success.
The above diagram is an example that shows how IT and business organization need to drive multicloud strategy as top-down approach. Client organization and service providers’ organization should work together to co-create, co-execute, and co-operate on the shared vision.
So, What’s Next?
In our next subsequent blogs, while we will focus on continuous Business Process Framework in the context of Hybrid Multicloud adoption, it’s also extremely important that a right programmatic approach to drive the transformation involves identifying and executing the right journey patterns through Strategy and Architecture and Target Operating Model as shown in the diagram below.
With our years of experience in business and IT transformation, we have arrived at an agile execution with patterns of transformation. To align business strategy and IT strategy together with rapidly changing technology patterns, it’s important that enterprises follow experiential architecture while driving business-IT transformation into hybrid multicloud.
The above diagram shows:
- Mapping to Desired Outcomes (Business alignment)
- Complexity Analysis (IT Alignment)
- Application Disposition from tactical to strategic
- Implementation Options
Each of these includes a prescriptive of application, data, and platform (Cloud Service Providers) specific designs that can be tailored and extended to support client problems. Most of these patterns are harvested from our earlier engagement experience and are also implemented as code assets (Tech Plays).
In our next blog, we will dive deep into the pattern-based approach. This will include a high-level decision model for selecting the correct patterns, anti-patterns, lessons learned, and impacts to the operating model and various personas through this execution phase.
Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.