Multicloud is the future of cloud computing, primarily fueled by the promise of increased agility, faster time to market, and decreased security risk (if properly managed). The cloud is a valuable tool and resource many have already begun taking advantage of to help innovate and differentiate. However, as many cloud users very well know, the cloud is a complex space—one that if not properly managed will quickly lead to spiraling costs, inefficient resource usage, and unchecked security.
Here at CloudHealth by VMware, we’ve worked with thousands of customers and have identified patterns, frameworks, and management strategies that have been proven to help organizations maintain control over their multicloud environments as they continue to scale. So what do these organizations with successful multicloud functions have in common? To start, they all have a robust, strategic Cloud Center of Excellence (CCoE) at the center of it all. But how did they get there, and what can your organization do to join them?
Building your organization’s Cloud Center of Excellence
When first building a successful multicloud strategy, it’s important to first establish a Cloud Center of Excellence. A CCoE is a cross-functional working group of people that govern the usage of the cloud across an organization and drive best practices across functions.
The CCoE spans three areas of excellence: cloud financial management, cloud operations, and cloud security compliance. These areas are the three areas to focus on the most when thinking about cloud management.
- Cloud Financial Management is the process of continuously optimizing and aligning cloud investments with strategic business initiatives.
- Cloud Operations focuses on the process of managing and delivering cloud services that meet the availability, performance, recoverability, quality, and scalability needs of the business.
- Cloud Security and Compliance is the process of proactively detecting and remediating vulnerabilities in your cloud environment.
While these areas of excellence focus on different functions within an organization’s overall cloud strategy, there should be extensive collaboration between them. Aside from working on their own functions, owners in each area of excellence must also focus on driving consistency across the organization and finding the best ways to share best practices across teams.
The four phases of multicloud maturity
The four stages of the maturity model are visibility, optimization, governance and automation, and business integration. These four phases of multicloud maturity build on each other as time progresses, but you should note that each of the three areas of excellence moves independently through the four phases of maturity.
For example, your cloud financial management function could still be at the visibility stage, while your security management function could be focusing on governance and automation—it varies for each company and each area of excellence. And remember, there should be an emphasis on collaboration and documenting processes throughout the entire maturity model.
The first step to building a successful cloud management strategy is to gain visibility into your cloud environment. Without visibility into your different business groups, it can be hard to predict and forecast future costs, identify security vulnerabilities, and maintain efficient infrastructure. Most businesses first start by gaining visibility into their costs, however, usage, configuration, performance, and security are equally, if not more, important areas of one’s cloud operations that need enhanced visibility in order to scale and mature.
Finding opportunities to be more efficient is how you can achieve better optimization. This can look like a number of things, including identifying cost or time savings, improving resource utilization, or enhancing security. When optimizing your multicloud environment, it’s important to document best practices in order to educate team members across your organization—this will help ensure that you’re able to maintain an optimized cloud environment in the future.
3. Governance and Automation
It’s all about finding the ideal, optimized state and setting governance and automation policies in place to maintain that ideal state. These policies will monitor your environment and identify areas where drift occurs and can recommend corrective action to return to the ideal state. Automating these policies and implementing automated remediated action can free up time for your organization to focus on other strategic, more critical business tasks.
4. Business Integration
Business integration is how cloud strategy drives business transformation and impacts the most pressing corporate goals. This business integration phase should be continuous and should align with key drivers of your business so that everyone is working towards a common goal. This can, and likely should, include projects such as integrating with existing business systems (think budgeting and accounting software), contributing to top line business initiatives, and framing cloud management metrics in the context of the business.
To learn more about the maturity model, and assess and improve your cloud maturity across the three most critical areas of excellence, read our whitepaper “Benchmark Your Cloud Maturity: A Framework for Best Practices”. We go in-depth about proven best practices for being successful during each phase of the maturity model, example KPIs you should be tracking, and more!