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Why building and scaling a cloud modernization strategy is important to your organization’s bottom line

According to a survey conducted by Mongo DB, “only 28% of technology teams’ time is spent working on defining and building new features and applications, compared to a whopping 72% of time managing infrastructure and completing administrative tasks and projects.”

In order to allow developers more time to be innovative and come up with new ideas, and spend less time on operational and administrative tasks, building a cloud modernization strategy is key to your organization’s success. The lack of innovation development time can lead to long release cycles for new features, lost revenue due to missed opportunities, operational inefficiencies, lost productivity and inability to support changing compliance regulations. With more time dedicated to innovation and quicker technology deployment, organizations can generate more customer value and increase customer trust.

Success can look different for every organization, but typically when developing a modernization strategy, organizations realize the following benefits:

  • Ability to stand up infrastructure on demand and deploy quickly
  • Automation of software via continuous delivery pipelines
  • Implementation of security best practices integrated into every application and service
  • Applications are fully instrumented for metric and log collection
  • Standardization of tools and best practices

The pillars of modernization and building a strategy

Successful modern digital businesses tend to have the following characteristics:

  • They are customer obsessed
  • They are organized for value and laser focused on delivering value for their customers
  • They have a test and learn culture- they test hypotheses and make improvements in their customer’s environment
  • Technology is at the business’s core- leadership understands the technology and what it’s capable of achieving for customers and for their organization
  • A strategic use of data- they use metrics to make business and technology decisions and use data from various applications to generate additional value for customers and their organization

To build a modern development culture, focus on the following three pillars:

1. People: Organize for value

People drive the innovation, not the technology. Small, decentralized teams are more nimble than a large centralized team and can more easily own and run what they build.

2. Processes: Automate, enable and self-service as much as possible with continuous improvement

Create guardrails, not tollbooths. Tollbooths slow you down when driving on the highway because you must come to a complete stop. Enable your teams to move as quickly as possible by automating everything or creating a “guardrail” that would enable a driver to stay in their lane but continue moving. Automate, enable and self-service to scale by:

  • Setting-up governance
  • Enabling compliance
  • Provisioning and orchestrating
  • Monitoring and observing the work
  • Centralizing operations

3. Technology: Offload the heavy lifting

Focus on building apps and not infrastructure. Cloud platforms like AWS enable organizations to go serverless, so builders have less heavy lifting to do. AWS can do the heavy lifting for you by using their compute, databases, storage, messaging and analytics services. Or use managed services to help ease the operational load of team members.

Scaling across the organization

Once you have a modernization strategy in place, you can scale it across the organization by following these six steps:

1. Form a Cloud Center Of Excellence Enablement (CCOE) with these team characteristics:

  • Experimentation driven: team members are able to learn from failures and iterate quickly
  • Bold: team members aren’t afraid to challenge the status quo
  • Results-oriented: team members can take an idea from its ideation phase to successful implementation
  • Customer-focused: team members appreciate the impact of developer productivity and operational excellence
  • Able to influence: team members can scale their skills through others

2. Deliver strategic “light house” modernized workloads

  • Focus on relatively small but important high value projects
  • Avoid “one-off” projects so results will resonate across the organization
  • Use metrics to show measurable results of modernization outcomes (such as frequency of deployments or time from commit to production)

3. Build reusable patterns, reference architecture and shared services

  • Discover and iterate with every pilot
  • Leverage AWS Well-Architected framework every step of the way
  • Communicate your successes via metrics
  • Document lessons learned
  • Standardize through reusable patterns

4. Build a community with internal evangelists

  • Evangelists help promote your business and services

5. Establish a clear vision and support from leadership

  • Define and communicate vision and business strategy
  • Be aggressive with goal setting and drive top down
  • Mandate the move to cloud-native architectures org wide
  • Be specific with all teams accountable

6. Establish operational principals and guardrails such as:

  • Decentralizing CCOE function and federate across the organization
  • Security best practices
  • Observability, monitoring and logging
  • DevOps and CI/CD
  • Cost management strategy
  • Testing strategy
  • Community building
  • Architecture patterns
  • Database transformation

Baker Tilly Digital’s approach to achieving modernization at scale

Building a cloud modernization strategy can be complicated and requires the collaboration of a variety of groups within an organization, so it’s important to ensure sponsorship from the leadership group. They can help the broader organization understand the scope of the project and develop a top-down target goal and clear timeframe for completion.

At Baker Tilly Digital, we like to utilize AWS’s Experience Based Acceleration (EBA) approach to help our clients accelerate and unblock adoption within an organization. Hosting an in-person EBA can allow organizations to bring the right stakeholders and experts together to spend time proving out the concept and working together to develop a solution.

  • EBAs help organizations quickly accomplish the work by:
  • Identifying the right cross functional team
  • Starting with a strategic workload and defining clear goals
  • Becoming agile based and iterative
  • Making two-way door decisions
  • Using a hands-on approach
  • Creating a repeatable process for future projects

Benefits and outcomes of EBAs

A few benefits we typically see at the conclusion of a successful EBA include:

  • Increased momentum: Organizations gain the ability to scale and plan for the migration of current and future applications
  • Continued learning: Employees learn new technologies and processes for modernizing
  • Future thinking: Teams rethink how to architect future applications based on the new culture of modernization
  • Organizational changes: The creation of a specific modernization pillar in a centralized CCOE, encourages people to own the modernization effort and evangelize the value across the organization
  • Speed and agility: The alignment of timeframes with customer needs, decreases time to scale and increases the ability to rapidly prototype innovate solutions faster
  • Security and operational resilience: Organizations reduce security risk through serverless design and native AWS tools
  • Costs: Eradicate time required for server management and reducing operational costs

How we can help

If your organization is ready to get started building a cloud modernization strategy, Baker Tilly Digital can work alongside you through each step of the process. As an Advanced Tier Services Partner of AWS, Baker Tilly Digital uses AWS products to help clients build and scale a modernization strategy based on their current technology portfolio and operational business needs. We work with our clients to help ease their operational workload and design an implementation road map, putting solutions in place to propel their business forward. Connect with our team to learn how your organization can achieve modernization at scale.

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