Shift to a Technology First Mindset
As CEO of ScaleSec, I hear a lot of frustration from other executives about how their cloud rollout is going.
“We are having trouble with cloud adoption.”
“Cloud spend is unpredictable and we have to get a handle on it.”
“All our dev teams are each doing their own thing–nothing is standardized.”
“The security assessment came back with dozens of findings.”
“My organization isn’t set up or trained to run the cloud effectively.”
The dissatisfaction can likely be attributed in part to shortcomings in their cloud plan, their cloud strategy. Many places started “just using the cloud” without considering all the business impacts. Where businesses are using multiple clouds, resentment compounds as leaders find themselves unable to proactively manage cloud use, proactively anticipate cloud spend. Some teams are blaming the cloud and pulling back to data centers.
If you find yourself in this situation, you are not alone.
This shift to a technology first mindset is challenging. It takes time. It is truly like learning another language. What was once an IT area of expertise, now, the whole organization needs to become cloud fluent. Everyone to some extent will need to increase their cloud acumen so that the entire company, not just your IT organization, appreciates the paradigm shift necessary to transform your business into a technology-first, cloud-savvy company.
What Is Cloud Fluency?
Cloud fluency refers to an organization’s ability to understand, navigate, and utilize cloud computing technology effectively. It’s not just about having the technical capability to use cloud services, but also about understanding how to leverage these technologies strategically to drive business growth and innovation.
Consider the following cloud fluency attributes needed to allow cloud to be a benefit to the business:
- ✅ Technical Mastery: This involves having a well-trained IT team that understands how to use cloud technologies, including storage, networking, security, and serverless computing.
- ✅ Operational Agility: Cloud fluency requires the ability to swiftly adapt operations to take advantage of the flexibility and scalability that cloud services provide. This includes being able to ramp up or down resources as needed, implement new services quickly, and manage distributed teams.
- ✅ Strategic Vision: This means having a clear idea of how cloud technologies can support the organization’s business strategy. It involves understanding how to leverage the cloud to drive cost savings, increase revenue, improve customer experience, and promote innovation.
- ✅ Risk Management: Cloud fluency also involves understanding the potential risks and challenges associated with cloud computing, including data privacy and security concerns, and knowing how to manage these risks effectively.
- ✅ Cultural Adaptation: Achieving cloud fluency often requires a cultural shift within the organization, as it typically involves new ways of working and collaborating. It’s essential to promote a culture that embraces change and continuous learning. This is most effective when championed by executives.
- ✅ Governance and Compliance: It’s important to have clear policies and processes in place for managing cloud services, to ensure compliance with data protection regulations and industry standards.
Achieving cloud fluency can significantly boost an organization’s ability to compete in today’s digital world. It allows businesses to be more agile, cost-optimized, innovative, and customer-centric.
To increase cloud fluency in your business, I offer some terms associated with the business of cloud computing and how they work within the company, defined at a high enough level to be understood by your non-IT team members.
- Cloud Operating Model: This is the framework that defines how a business uses cloud technologies and services within its operations. It encompasses technical, security, governance, and business considerations, guiding how applications are designed, managed, and secured in the cloud. It is the way executives will empower its people to succeed in the cloud and drive cultural change.
- Cloud Platform Engineering: This refers to the process of designing, building, managing, and securing cloud-based infrastructure and platforms. It involves leveraging the technical capabilities of cloud services to meet the specific needs of a business, including scalability, reliability, and security.
- Cloud Business Office: A function within an organization that oversees and coordinates cloud adoption efforts. This includes setting strategic direction, managing change, and coordinating between different departments. It’s often responsible for driving cloud strategy, prioritization, measuring progress, and aligning cloud efforts with business objectives.
- Application Engineering: This involves the designing, developing, and implementing of software applications, particularly those hosted in the cloud. It involves practices like DevOps, microservices, and containerization, and aims to create applications that are scalable, reliable, and capable of meeting business needs.
- Workforce Transformation: This term refers to efforts to change and improve the skills, tools, and processes used by an organization’s workforce. In a cloud context, it often involves training staff to use cloud tools, adopt new workflows, and understand best practices for cloud security and governance.
- Cloud Portfolio Management: This involves overseeing and managing the organization’s suite of cloud services. This includes choosing which cloud services to use, how to allocate resources between them, and how to integrate them with existing IT infrastructure.
- Cloud Governance and Risk: These are the strategies and processes used to manage and mitigate risks in a cloud environment, and to ensure compliance with relevant regulations and standards. This can include things like data privacy policies, access controls, and incident response plans.
- Shared Responsibility Model: This is a framework for keeping cloud services secure. It splits the responsibility for security between the cloud service provider and the user. The specifics of the shared responsibility model can vary depending on the service model (Infrastructure, Platform or Software as a Service) being used. Understanding this model is crucial for maintaining security and compliance in the cloud.
Boost Your Business’s Cloud Fluency
Improving cloud fluency within an organization involves both technical training and broader cultural shifts. The following are common ways that businesses transform to create greater value from their decision to leverage cloud computing:
- Create a Cloud Enablement Team: A cross-functional group of cloud enthusiasts that help drive adoption, champion success and govern the usage of the cloud across the organization. They develop best practices, governance models, and necessary capabilities as a one-stop shop within the organization.
- Provide Ongoing Education and Training: Arrange for regular training sessions, workshops, and certifications on cloud technology for all relevant staff. This includes not only IT personnel but also project managers and business decision-makers. Utilize resources from cloud providers and third-party trainers.
- Encourage Hands-on Experience: Learning by doing is often the best approach with technology. Encourage your teams to build prototypes and conduct small-scale projects to gain practical experience with cloud services.
- Cultivate a Cloud-First Mindset: Encourage your organization to think “cloud-first” when considering new IT projects. This isn’t about using cloud for everything, but about considering cloud options and their benefits as a part of normal IT project planning.
- Stay Updated with the Latest Developments: The cloud landscape is rapidly evolving, so staying updated with the latest technologies, trends, and best practices is crucial. Subscribe to industry blogs, newsletters, and webinars. Also, consider participating in relevant industry events and conferences.
Enhance Your Cloud Strategy with ScaleSec
If this article resonates with you, and you would like to be more proactive and confident in your company’s cloud strategy, we would love to hear from you. ScaleSec is a proud partner with AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud. We can help you leverage free resources from your cloud providers that will help you address adoption and scale with a security-first, cost conscious mindset. We are waiting for your call.