To manage cloud right, everybody’s proverbial peanut butter needs to be in everybody else’s chocolate. Which is why, breaking down silos—between platform groups, application teams, functional IT groups and lines of business—is necessary to successfully reinvent the network for cloud. This is the only way you can achieve automated, flexible solutions that help you act quickly and effectively—especially in turbulent times.
If you’re an enterprise cloud expert—especially if you’re in network, cloud and security—you must develop new, different and blended skills in and across traditional IT functions to build cloud solutions that effectively harness their power.
With the cloud, networking resources become cloud resources and vice versa. Security skills need to be embedded into functions including network, cloud, app dev, and more. That means you will need to continue to operate outside of your lanes, continuously learning, adapting, seeing things from different angles and mastering new skills. In fact, it means there may be no clear lanes left at all.
Here’s how to successfully tear down walls to build a better cloud.
Give people a reason to change
Change is hard, so you need to give people a compelling reason to do it. Articulate a strong rationale and motivating outcomes for both the long- and short-term, so people across multiple IT functions and business teams can easily comprehend the big picture and get behind your plan.
Getting everyone to row in the same direction, regardless of their unique individual or functional viewpoints, is crucial for any enterprise-wide initiative to succeed, especially one as omnipresent and pervasive as cloud. At the end of the day, if the organization succeeds, everybody wins—and if they can agree on a common approach, their path just got a whole lot smoother. A clear comprehension of purpose and destination becomes the touchstone and sanity check for all participants throughout the process.
Build trust through open communication
Breaking down barriers is at heart a cultural shift, which is based on relationships. It may be obvious, but it’s still worth saying: in relationships, trust is kind of a big deal. Time to trot out the best of our communication basics; they really go a long way.
Open your mind to open more doors.
If you allow yourself to step outside of your existing paradigms and see things through fresh eyes, you may learn new skills or realize things that permanently alter your previous perspective. That can set you up for new ideas, a career change or a position with more responsibility.
Ask questions to make sure you fully understand your collaborators’ perspective, motivations, concerns and needs, especially if they differ from yours or what you are used to. Expressing interest and curiosity will go a long way toward building trust and developing alliances with coworkers, and may even create shortcuts later in the process.
Explain your perspective clearly and thoroughly
Sometimes even the smartest people are so invested or comfortable with their own perspective and their habits are so ingrained that it takes them a bit longer and more explanation to really understand what you are saying and what you mean. Communications can be hampered if people make assumptions about what others know, if they become frustrated or defensive—or if they can’t successfully explain their perspective.
Know that things will probably need to evolve, including reorganization and upskilling existing and new resources, to make the most of the cloud.1
Entrusting legacy teams to effectively leverage the benefits of cloud can be challenging, but with the current IT skills shortage, hiring people with the exact skills you need to manage cloud and make the most of it may be downright impossible. To execute cloud migration, some companies set up dedicated teams, while others use existing teams, but either way, all IT specialists ultimately will have to learn the effective use of cloud-based services, from technical skills to agile methods that enable you to build cloud applications quickly.1
Build a dedicated cloud team with cybersecurity, agile and automation capabilities
Research shows that organizations have better luck migrating to cloud when they use dedicated cloud teams with skills in agile environments, app dev and cybersecurity than entrusting migration to legacy infrastructure teams.2 These cloud-focused teams are responsible for migrating apps and developing and running the platform, which requires cross-functional capabilities not usually found in organizations that are not digitally native, such as:
- Agile development
- Product management
- System engineering
- Software development
- User-experience design
- Developer training to use the platform
- Writing code
- Managing firewalls and
- Handling network settings
- Designing database structures 2
Ensuring that people acquire and maintain the skills they need, and stay on top of emerging technologies and other changes, will require significant ongoing attention.
Carefully manage and nurture skills in new and existing Cloud teams
In the face of a continuing talent shortage, organizations need to develop further skills in areas including cloud, security and automation to mention a few. The most acute gaps are for experts with skills and experience in new and quickly evolving areas.3 These include:
- Network virtualization
- Cloud technologies
- Big data and AI /ML
Organizations should consider viewing IT skills as an internal initiative, not an external hiring issue, and consider developing a strategic training plan and a comprehensive, long-term training program that meaningfully addresses the varied skills IT experts need today and into the future.3
Breaking down barriers requires a great deal of effort, but it is crucial to the success of your efforts to do cloud right and for your business to succeed.
- “Creating Value with the Cloud,” Digital McKinsey: Insights. December, 2018.
- “The Progressive Cloud: A New Approach to Migration,” Digital McKinsey: Insights. December, 2018.
- “Close the tech skills gap with the right training,” TechTarget, April 15, 2021.