What counts is Innovation & Performance.
We live in a time when every industry and every company must understand IT as the enabler for innovation & performance. Those who do not put IT at the center of their business processes will fail.
But that alone is not enough to be sustainably successful in the market. With the rapid development of new applications, features & services, it is no longer sufficient to update your own infrastructures and applications every 6-12 months with unpredictable downtimes & incidents. Quite the opposite – the big players like Netflix, Facebook and Co. deploy several thousand times per day in over hundreds of different productive systems.
In this context, the following four key metrics have emerged in recent years that determine success or failure in the market:
- Lead time (the time it takes to implement, test and deploy the code).
- Deployment frequency
- Mean time to restore (MTTR) (is the average time required to recover from a product or system failure)
- Change failure percentage
The goal is therefore the perfect intersection of short lead times, high deployment density and, on the other hand, short MTTRs and a low failure rate for changes.
But what exactly does this have to do with sustainable success?
I know from my own experience that many companies – especially in the midmarket – have neither placed their IT at the center of their business processes nor established any kind of DevOps/Cloud mindset in the company.
Mostly started with a cloud initial project like Microsoft 365, those internal employees are called in, who anyway already manage 6 other projects in parallel.
What exactly is the problem?
The problem is that the IT staff can become the decisive limiting factor (“Contraint”) and thus slow down or even prevent innovation & performance.
💡 A constraint is the limiting factor for the performance of the company and prevents the company from achieving its goals.
Cloud services go through many more deployment cycles and feature releases on a daily basis than most on-premises services. As a result, the IT staff must continually deal with new issues and technologies.
How to solve the problem?
Everyone has the same goal. Be faster than the competition. And that works (at least these days) with the use of cloud services, as they provide innovation and performance on a technical level ready to use as IaaS, PaaS or SaaS.
But to be able to use the technology, it must be made usable at the organizational level. And this can be achieved if the decisive employees are given the freedom they need to build up skills and to operate and further develop apps in the cloud.
Can this be accelerated?
Cloud platforms, technical implementation of cloud governance or even app migrations to the cloud can of course be accelerated by purchasing external subject matter experts.
What should you look out for?
In many cloud projects, the topic of enabling internal employees is completely forgotten by the company itself as well as the consulting service provider, or is not considered important because it does not generate any direct and visible value.
The Cloud Paradox.
The condition described inevitably leads to a cloud paradox. The cloud paradox describes a state in which the company appears to be more innovative and perform better when a cloud project is completed.
In reality, however, the actual performance and innovation has decreased because another service has to be operated for which IT Operations was never empowered. This black box can neither be operated nor further developed due to a lack of enablement.
In concrete terms, this means that this solution will probably never receive updates. The change failure rate as well as the MTTR increase significantly because neither sufficient know-how is available nor can good error analysis and correction be performed.
Resolving the Cloud Paradox.
The following points help to resolve the cloud paradox or prevent it from occurring in the first place.
- Cloud services must be viewed differently than on-premises services.
- In cloud projects, employees must be given the necessary time to familiarize themselves with the respective cloud services in the best possible way. No familiarization leads to the cloud paradox described above and the decline in innovation and performance.
- Employees have to get used to lifelong learning, as cloud services are much more innovative and fast-moving than on-premises services. A “growth mindset” provides the necessary foundation for this.
- The company should establish a “Cloud Center of Excellence” for its Cloud Journey to further spread the interest in “Cloud” in the company & establish a central point of contact for Cloud Governance.
- External consultants should be brought in to help complete projects more quickly through their subject matter expertise.
- Care must be taken to ensure that external subject matter experts share their knowledge in workshops, practice sessions, trainings, etc. Documentation alone is not enough.
- “Fail fast” – many paths lead to the right cloud service. You can deploy your service in the cloud in many different ways. Try your hand, but don’t dwell too long on services that don’t work.
- Build a cloud community in your company for all interested parties to strengthen the exchange among them.
Sustainability = Enablement.
Technology alone is not enough to be sustainably successful on the market with cloud services. The solution can be as cost-efficient & automated as it is – if no one can operate it or even develop it further, it can quickly become an expensive problem case in the company.
Take a sustainable approach to your cloud journey. Give your employees the time they need to understand, operate and evolve cloud services. They will pay the company back through more innovation and higher performance – more value – than ever before.