The key to planning changes in IT is a correct description of the current situation. Only when we know the cloud maturity of an organization can we properly define the necessary steps on the path to the cloud and further development. In this article, I will tell you how to evaluate cloud maturity, what is overestimated and what is underestimated.
In previous Cloud Encyclopedia articles on Cloud Journey, we’ve discussed that every company has a history and different strengths and weaknesses. In order to develop a cloud strategy and roadmap, it is crucial to assess the maturity of teams and processes, specifically:
- what level of cloud maturity we want to achieve,
- the state of the application portfolio and which applications we want to migrate to the cloud,
- what the state of the cloud environment is and how it should adapt to the scale of application migration,
- what are the critical success factors and enablers or barriers to implementation,
- whether the current status is in compliance with regulations, laws, regulations or compliance (if I am a regulated entity).
Five levels of cloud maturity
Experience from large cloud projects has led us to define five levels of company maturity in relation to the cloud, which are closely related to digitalization:
We described the different stages in the article Cloud maturity: how mature am I for the cloud?.
In general, as a company becomes more mature, our ability to manage and benefit from the cloud increases, while the risks decrease.
What can a cloud maturity assessment look like?
The following figure shows that if an organisation wants to start using the cloud on a regular basis, it needs to move to at least maturity level 3.
Cloud maturity in five perspectives
Cloud deployment is a big change where the math of 1 + 1 = 3 applies. When implementing large changes, it is advisable to choose the tactic of dividing the project into smaller parts that can be more easily analyzed and changed (provided that each part contributes to the “common goal”).
In the case of cloud maturity, we were able to assess a total of 15 indicators in five perspectives:
- Human Resources
- IT Processes
- Cloud adoption
If we add to the indicators how individual IT disciplines (architecture, infrastructure and operations, application development, security, IT governance and management, finance, compliance) approach the cloud, we have the basis for assessing the cloud maturity of companies worldwide. Let’s look at the impact of each indicator on cloud maturity in more detail.
A) Management indicators
Management indicators determine how the organization intends to use the cloud, what goals it has set, and how management supports cloud initiatives.
- Cloud positioning – positioning on a five-step scale from “no cloud” to “cloud first” determines the level of IT and management commitment to leverage the cloud for IT and business.
- Defining goals for cloud use– how does an organization articulate what it wantsto achieve in the cloud? How are the objectives formalized and are they part of the business objectives? Without defining goals, the journey to the cloud is less eventful.
- Management support – this indicator tells whether and how the cloud is “visible” to management and what support management gives to the cloud in meeting company goals (including regular reporting). Deferral of fulfillment within organizations tends to be a big driver in achieving cloud goals.
B) Human resources indicators
Allocation of human resources, formalisation of roles and tools, together with the ability to innovate, are essential for a successful journey to the cloud.
- Human resource allocation – how does a company “virtually, dedicated or hybrid” organize individuals and entire teams in support of the cloud? Greater allocation of human resources and integration into the IT organization confirms the importance of cloud initiatives.
- Roles and tools – how does the organisation formally define roles for the cloud and which tools are available? Are they part of the normal planning of IT and business activities? The formalization of roles and tools in IT indicates whether cloud initiatives are more of a one-off or have become common practice.
- Innovation– An organization’s ability to innovate is a good prerequisite for leveraging the cloud and its benefits. It is important whether the innovation is at the level of individuals, teams or the whole organisation and whether it is based on enthusiasm or is a systematic approach of the organisation.
C) IT process indicators
Cloud maturity is directly proportional to IT process maturity.
- Processes and their repeatability– the level of IT processes, their one-off or repeatability, their level of quality and sustainability, and the level of documentation reflect how an organisation can use the cloud.
- IT process management level – how does the organisation document, measure and evaluate IT processes – on a process-by-process basis, at process interfaces or as whole groups of related processes?
- Process Ownership and Efficiency Measurement– How is process ownership and related measurement managed in IT? Do the processes have owners (individuals or teams)? How often are quantity, quality and efficiency measured? The indicator indicates how easy or difficult it will be to take advantage of cloud benefits.
D) Automation indicators
The basic feature and essential benefit of the cloud is automation. The better IT and the organization is able to automate, the better prepared it is to leverage the cloud.
- Ability to automate in IT – directly indicates an organization’s ability to benefit from automation in the cloud. IT efficiency depends on the ability to automate anything that is repetitive (on a scale of: not at all – some processes – by individual teams – wherever productivity can be improved – continuous optimization).
- Ability to leverage and scale resources – can the organization standardize and scale its IT resources? Then it’s ready for automation in the cloud. Or does the organization prefer to create original and unique solutions? Then its journey to the cloud will be longer.
- Application and technology deployment methods – the way applications and environments are built, deployed, and tested shows the level of DevOps in the development and operation of applications and technologies. The higher up the scale from manual to automated application and environment build to full orchestration (CI/CD) an organization has, the faster it can reap the benefits of the cloud.
E) Cloud Adoption Indicators
Direct indicators of cloud adoption are – an existing list of applications and technologies that can be migrated to the cloud (and which can’t); cloud readiness for migration, or at least a plan for it; and knowledge of cloud technologies and innovations that can be afforded with them.
- Cloud potential for applications and technologies – this indicator defines the level of commitment of the organization to migrate applications and technologies to the cloud. The identification of potential can be random (on an application-by-application basis) to a systematic approach based on fixed criteria (across the entire portfolio) and roadmaps for both simple and complex migrations.
- Cloud readiness – how does an organization navigate the cloud provider environment? Can they set up the environment for their needs in a basic or advanced way? Is the organization able to handle multiple environments from different cloud providers?
- Knowledge of cloud technologies – how does the organization know the basic cloud technologies and basic migration options (close to on-premise), how does it handle more advanced technologies and related replatform migrations or innovative technologies (AI, Streaming, …)?
Cloud maturity by indicators with examples
This sample assessment comes from the banking sector. The assessment of cloud maturity in individual indicator areas shows that the company’s strengths lie in the areas of human resources and IT processes, while lower maturity is evident in the areas of automation, cloud adoption and management:
When we looked at individual teams, it became clear that regulation plays an important role and the areas of architecture, security, outsourcing, compliance and governance are more mature compared to others.
What is overestimated and underestimated in the context of cloud maturity
When developing cloud strategies, roadmaps or during the migration itself, we repeatedly find that some areas of cloud maturity assessment are overestimated in organizations and some are underestimated.
What is usually underestimated!
- Experimentation with the cloud will gradually move into real operations and the team organization and processes will not be adjusted in time.
- Cloud platform management. On-premise doesn’t have a unified dashboard, cloud does. Be mindful of your cloud environment (landing zone) setup and the growth in environment usage/amount of applications migrated.
- Capacity planning and financial management. On-premise capacity planning takes place on an annual basis and budget management on a quarterly basis. In the cloud, you need to go down an order of magnitude, capacity plan quarterly and manage cloud budgets monthly.
- Migrating applications to the cloud versus critical mass. If you’re more conservative in your approach to what to move to the cloud, you won’t get critical mass and won’t be able to reap the full benefits of the cloud.
- Automation. In on-premise, you’re not used to standardizing or automating, so it takes you a while to realize that standardizing will simplify your life and automating will simply increase efficiency.
- Risks and safety. Trust that the leading cloud providers offer many native security features (both free and paid) that are so easily integrated that your security teams will love them.
Which is usually overrated.
- Knowledge of cloud technologies and innovation. Yes, both are important, but you have to be able to use them to your advantage.
- Risks and safety. Fear of the unknown will unnecessarily paralyse you when using the cloud. Risks need to be managed by common sense, regardless of whether it’s on-premise or cloud.
- Cloud native apps solve everything. Yes, you can start developing applications in a cloud-based way, but that will give you a gradual onboarding into the cloud. If you are counting on more use of the cloud, you need to think about what you will move from your existing applications.
- Application migration to the cloud versus preparation. If you’re overly optimistic about what you want to move to the cloud and do insufficient preparation, you may find that your timeline is unrealistic in the middle of the migration.
- Automation will save me. Yes automation is a powerful native tool in the cloud, but you have to be ready to use it. Without the ability to standardize, measure and scale IT processes, automation is unachievable.
How would you rate your current cloud maturity? Are you satisfied with it or would you like to improve? Write your opinions in the comments.
… and stay tuned for more articles in our cloud encyclopedia series.
This is a machine translation. Please excuse any possible errors.