Do You Have a Cloud Center of Excellence?

Multi-cloud is a model of cloud computing involving the use of cloud services from two or more cloud vendors. It could be as simple as teams using software-as-a-service (SaaS) apps from two different cloud vendors, for example, Salesforce and Workday. In the enterprise, it usually refers to running enterprise applications using infrastructure-as-a-service or platform-as-a-service solutions from a combination of public, private, and/or edge clouds to distribute applications and services.

What it looks like will vary, but businesses of all sizes are aggressively embracing it. One study indicates that 89% of respondents already have a multi-cloud strategy. Another found that 60% of companies have already implemented their multi-cloud strategies, with 21% planning to do so within the following year. And Statista’s latest research shows that 94% of large enterprises, 84% of midsize companies, and 79% of small businesses plan to adopt a multi-cloud model by 2023.

Multi-cloud has become our new normal for several good reasons: No one cloud provider offers everything a business needs. By going multi-cloud, companies can choose the best-in-class solutions that meet their specific requirements. They can avoid vendor lock-in and the dependencies that come with it. Multi-cloud also has the potential to reduce cloud overspend, which surveys show to be widespread.

Today, it’s actually tough to avoid being multi-cloud, even if your business doesn’t host its own applications in the cloud. For example, companies often use Microsoft 365 as their productivity and collaboration suite but still need to manage Google services for SEO and site analytics. Or if yours is a G-suite shop, your employees may also require a Microsoft ID if that’s what their clients and/or partners use.

You may already be multi-cloud without knowing it! It’s just so simple for users and teams to sign up for services on their own. Too often, however, cloud growth happens without strategic guidance or governance, which increases risk and almost always leads to cloud overspend. We refer to this as being an “accidental” cloud company and have written previously about five items to tackle first when creating your cloud strategy: project governance, cost monitoring, solution patterns, monitoring and alerting, and a feedback loop.

How a Cloud Center of Excellence Can Help You Manage Multi-Cloud

The wide array of cloud technologies can bring significant benefits to the business, such as accelerating digital transformation and managing costs while providing built-in reliability, scalability, and security. But it can be hard to manage a multi-cloud environment and keep up with the rapid pace of change. That’s why many large companies are creating Cloud Centers of Excellence (CCOE) to help control the chaos.

CCOEs help the business stay aligned with the company’s cloud strategy. Gartner describes them as having three core pillars: CCOEs provide governance in the form of policies and tools to provide financial and risk management. They work with project teams to help them select cloud providers, architect solutions, and provide support for contract negotiation and vendor management. And they nurture a cloud-savvy community — building cloud knowledge and disseminating best practices through a variety of channels, like training, knowledge bases, and outreach.

A strong CCOE helps the organization invest wisely, architect effectively, and avoid common pitfalls. For example, cloud providers offer many ways to deploy applications: virtual machines, containers, and serverless architectures (which are often proprietary to the cloud provider) among them. The right cloud expertise can help you evaluate the options and make the best choice for a particular situation. If you’re seeking to automate DevOps deployment in the cloud, a resource from the CCOE can help ensure you’re considering everything you need to, like configuring the environment to scale the application according to load and issue alerts when needed.

The top three cloud providers have guidance if you want to learn more about what a CCOE is and the critical success factors for creating one. Microsoft Azure’s product documentation describes their Cloud Adoption Framework, which includes recommendations for CCOE functions. Amazon Web Services published an article describing best practices for building a CCOE. And Google has written a comprehensive whitepaper about the characteristics and focus of a CCOE, how to select the right KPIs to measure success, and the roles, skills, activities, and training that may be needed.

While large organizations are usually capable of creating their own internal CCOEs, creating a CCOE is often beyond the reach of small and mid-sized businesses. They may need more budget, or it may just not be at the top of their priority list. Fortunately, there are many service providers and consultancies that can provide the necessary cloud expertise and strategic guidance.

Multi-cloud is here to stay, and managing it isn’t going to get any easier. If instituting a Cloud Center of Excellence in your organization isn’t on the radar, consider outsourcing to a trusted partner. Giving your development teams expert cloud guidance will help your organization establish a firm foundation for growth in our new multi-cloud normal.

How NeuEon Can Help

We’ve identified patterns and learned many lessons from our work with large organizations and can help your business take advantage of them by reviewing your existing cloud posture and identifying a strategy to get the most out of your cloud spend. Download an overview of our Cloud Strategy Practice, and contact us if you’d like to learn more.