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How Google Cloud Platform Helps Businesses Embrace Cloud Culture

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ALiZ Team | April 19, 2022

3 Minutes Read

Transitioning to the cloud is not just a matter of upgrading business technology. Fully adapting to a cloud-first narrative involves a significant paradigm shift in business culture and changes in working habits.

A complete culture change is a utopian ideal, one that in reality is very difficult to achieve. It requires everyone in the business to acclimatize and embrace the new way of working required to get the most out of cloud technology.

Most employees will adjust and thrive with relative ease. Others may struggle to change their ways of working; perhaps they have spent their entire career with the business. A few may even choose to move on to alternative employment.

Consider how your business's cloud journey will impact your customers. How will switching technologies change the working environment and the processes that govern them? Join us as we discover how Google Cloud can help drive positive transformation in your business at every stage of the transformation.

Cloud readiness It is difficult to measure an organization's readiness to learn and develop a cloud-first narrative. Google suggests that four key themes impact every business - Learn, Lead, Scale, and Secure. Google also recognize three stages in the cloud journey - Tactical, Strategic, and Transformational.

Let's take a closer look:

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Learn: Having the ability to upskill the existing workforce is essential. IT staff can learn and develop from skilled partners and be confident to achieve certification in preparation for cloud readiness. Measure the level of engagement from your teams and discover how effective investment in training will be received. Without a good learning structure, its possible implementations will not be in line with best practices and perhaps include potential security gaps.

Lead: The leadership team must spearhead the migration strategy. Leaders must know the cross-functional capabilities of their team. Some IT teams may need to be restructured. Perhaps a breakaway team will be needed for fact-finding, another for planning the migration, and so on. The leadership team needs to ensure executive sponsorship and that all cloud projects are budgeted, governed, and assessed.

Scale: Technical assessment of desirable cloud services is needed in advance. Can resources be scaled back? Is there an existing Google-managed service that can be leveraged? Cloud hardware is normally much faster than existing platforms, so knowing how to scale existing business applications is essential.

Secure: Google Cloud provides all the tools needed to create a multilayered, identity-centric security model. It's essential to know what existing security tools are in place, and where compliance regulations impact the business (if applicable).

According to Google, your business’s cloud readiness is determined by current business practices. To change a business’s culture not only takes time but also requires a change in business practices.

Three phases define the type of cloud journey.

Tactical: A tactical approach to cloud migration focuses on cutting costs and moving to the cloud with minimal disruption. Migration is typically quick, but a wider plan of becoming cloud-native is missing and there is no desire for scale.

Strategic: The strategic approach includes a broader vision of individual workloads that focuses on a future cloud vision where cloud culture is embraced and business processes run via cloud services and provide real value for the business.

Transformation: The transformation stage typically happens when cloud services have been bedded in and the focus is now on embedding new services and completing the cloudification of services already running in Google Cloud. This area commonly evolves around data science and ML initiatives to take your cloud journey to the next level.

Where am I on my Cloud Journey? Every business is different. Some businesses have no footprint in the cloud. Others are just starting. Many are already running core business systems there.

To assess your current cloud maturity, ask yourself these questions:

  • What learning is needed to go to the next level?
  • Is the current leadership structure correct for the business?
  • Is the cloud the right direction for the business?
  • Can the business dynamically scale as we grow?
  • How are we going to secure the cloud platform?
  • How far are we going on this cloud journey?
  • Do we just plan to run a handful of services in the cloud?
  • Are we going fully cloud-native?

Whatever approach you choose, plan the cloud migration in painstaking detail. Remember, failing to prepare is preparing to fail.

Implement using epics An epic is an agile term that means breaking down a big task into manageable stories. Break down the migration into multiple epics and divide the workload between teams. Google Cloud suggests creating the following epics to help you at every stage:

Access management Objective: Ensure the right people and services are authorized to perform the necessary actions on the intended resource. Implement Cloud IAM access controls that adhere to the principle of least privilege. There is a fine line between managing user access and service accounts and impacting the user's ability to do their job.

Architecture Objective: Make the appropriate cloud compute and storage choices. Focus on creating an architecture that uses instances and microservices that are separated from persistent storage volumes. Create immutable resources that can be auto-scaled by code.

Behavior Objective: Develop and improve team collaboration and empathy and introduce continuous upskilling. A change in business culture is only possible with a change in behavior. Cloud technology requires teams that think about collaboration, make data-driven decisions, and explore technology using proofs-of-concept.

Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery Objective: Leverage CI/CD pipelines to test, audit, and deploy with minimal interruption As cloud platforms grow, upgrades and releases need to be done in a controlled (and quick) manner. CI/CD tools help when managing at scale and empower teams to develop rapidly but in a controlled environment.

Cost control Objective: Everyone in the business must consider the cost implications of cloud operations. Cloud computing is all about operational expenditure (OPEX); you pay for what you use. Cost control is critical to make sure unnecessary charges are avoided and spending is capped.

Communication Objective: Introduce open communication channels where successes and failures are shared openly. Business communication is critical in a cloud environment to ensure that all teams are aware of what's going on. Teams must fail fast and adapt to fixing issues rapidly while maintaining communications.

Identity management Objective: Encourage zero trust and always authenticate. Implement identity management using multiple factors of authentication, such as security keys, one-time passwords, or certificates.

Incident management Objective: Respond to alerts, triaging issues, and raise support issues with service providers. Build a team capable of supporting the infrastructure and responding to alerts in a timely fashion.

Infrastructure as Code Objective: As the business grows, managing resources at scale is much easier when using IaC. IaC is the most effective way of managing cloud resources at scale. DevOps methodology should be embraced and code stored in a centralized location to be shared between teams. Code reviews, knowledge sharing, and lessons learned should be shared across the business.

Monitoring Objective: Monitor the health of cloud resources to maintain high-performance services. Google Cloud Operations (formally StackDriver) is an inclusive monitoring suite that can be configured to monitor all facets of the infrastructure. Set thresholds and event triggers to create automated responses or escalations to humans, in/out of hours.

People operations Objective: Define the organization structures and align cloud adopters to the right role. It's critical to have the right people in the right roles. Performance management can set objectives for the team to keep everyone on track.

Resource management Objective: Organize, name, and tag cloud resources Maintain full environments for development and testing. Make sure regular reviews of the current environment are done to identify out-of-scope servers, proofs of concepts that have been left running, and persistent storage that is redundant. Using IaC is a good way to ensure changes are known and audited.

Sponsorship Objective: Continuously demonstrate executive support for the cloud adoption strategy. Support from the top is critical for team buy-in. Executive endorsement is critical to push a cloud-first narrative. A top-down approach will reinforce that times are changing as is the culture.

How can Aliz.AI help?

Aliz.Ai was founded in 2010 by a team of business and IT professionals with one vision in mind: to help companies prepare for a new digital age. Aliz was born in the cloud. Our team became pioneers in recognizing the role of Big Data and Machine Learning in business. We sought out the best engineers, and worked out a holistic, agile approach to our processes.

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