AWS Government, Education, & Nonprofits Blog

Key Findings from Cloud Leaders: Why a Cloud Center of Excellence Matters

The recent release of the Cloud Management Report 2017 comes as public cloud usage eclipses the $200 billion mark. As consumption grows, more organizations are realizing the need for cooperation across business units to maximize the cloud’s value. This sets up the potential for widespread transformation. It can also introduce some complexity.

AWS recommends a cloud center of excellence (CCoE) to address the added complexity. And as the report shows, IT and business operations leaders recognize the power of this best practice – even if they haven’t yet applied it.

“A Cloud Center of Excellence (CCoE) is a cross-functional team of people responsible for developing and
managing the cloud strategy, governance, and best practices that the rest of the organization can
leverage to transform the business using the cloud. The CCoE leads the organization as a whole in cloud
adoption, migration, and operations. It may also be called a Cloud Competency Center, Cloud Capability
Center, or Cloud Knowledge Center. “ — Cloud Management Report 2017

The report, sponsored by CloudCheckr, an AWS Government Competency Partner and an Advanced Technology Partner in the AWS Partner Network (APN) program, focuses on the current state of public sector cloud adoption, as seen through the lens of decision makers in IT and business operations who are driving cloud transformations. Data from 301 survey participants covers issues including current challenges and expected demands of managing public infrastructure and the cloud, (infrastructure as a service). It also speaks to how organizations are maturing their cloud leadership, and the role of a CCoE.

Three key themes emerged from the report [1]:

  1. The full potential of the cloud has not yet been realized: 94 percent of respondents face challenges in public cloud adoption; 81 percent say they need to improve communication between departments; 43 percent of executives are more likely to report they are very confident in their cloud visibility than their staff (16 percent); and 33 percent report that their business leadership has a strong understanding of the cloud.
  2. Organizations adopting a CCoE for cloud leadership and vision: 47 percent have formed some kind of CCoE, and 63 percent have added new roles to deal with cloud adoption. Some organizations are held back from establishing CCoEs by a wide range of factors, such as the belief that their level of cloud usage doesn’t justify the effort, a general lack of priority, or a cloud adoption that moves too quickly to operationalize the process.
  3. Organizations benefit from a CCoE: 83 percent of those with a CCoE say it is effective; 96 percent believe they would benefit from a CCoE; the top reported benefits of a CCoE include reducing security risks (56 percent), reducing costs (50 percent), and improving the ability to be agile and innovative (44 percent).

AWS Head of Enterprise Strategy, Stephen Orban, lends further credence to the value of CCoEs in his blog post, How to Create a Cloud Center of Excellence in Your Enterprise. He explains that creating a CCoE in his past role as the CIO of Dow Jones helped dictate how he and his team built and executed their cloud strategy across the organization.

“I knew from seeing change-management programs succeed and fail throughout my career that having a dedicated team with single-threaded ownership over an organization’s most important initiatives is one of the most effective ways to get results fast and influence change,” says Orban. “[CCoE] teams start small, develop a point of view for how cloud technology can be responsibly implemented at scale for your organization, and, if implemented properly, can become the fulcrum by which your organization transforms the way technology serves the business.”

To replicate this at your own organization, Orban lays out three important dimensions for CCoEs: Build the team, scope (and grow) the team’s responsibilities, and position it as a hub for best practices for the entire organization.

A CCoE is the fifth of seven best practices Orban writes about to support customers in their cloud transformation initiatives. Find the complete resource guide in his Enterprise Cloud Journey series.

[1] Results extracted as they appear in the report.


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