Top Priorities for the Cloud Center of Excellence

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Click to learn more about author Jay Chapel.

One of the terms we have been hearing used more often when talking to prospects and customers alike is Cloud Center of Excellence (CCoE). DevOps, CloudOps, Infrastructure and Finance teams are joining together to create a cloud center to improve cloud operations in the enterprise. These are also known as a Cloud Command Center, Cloud Operations Center, Cloud Knowledge Center, or perhaps Cloud Enablement Team.

Essentially, a CCoE brings together a cross-functional team to manage cloud strategy, governance, and best practices, and serve as cloud leaders for the entire organization.

Who Needs a Cloud Center of Excellence?

When we talk to prospects and customers that have adopted a CCoE, there seem to be a couple of common themes:

  1.  Cloud-centric organizations where the DevOps, Security and Finance teams want to ensure that the organization’s diverse set of business units are using a common set of best practices, as no one wants the wild west for cloud management
  2.  Large organizations who are now multi-cloud and they need to standardize on a set of tools and processes that work across the CSPs for security, governance, operations and cost control
  3.  MSPs who are developing cloud centers focused on creating best practices for their customers, for both single and multi-cloud; for example, you would have an Azure Cloud Center of Excellence (ACCoE) or a Google Cloud Center of Excellence (GCCoE)

For more, see this presentation from Zendesk and CloudHealth to understand how a large, cloud-centric organization leverages the CCoE concept to improve governance and operational efficiency.

What Should the Cloud Center of Excellence Prioritize?

No matter why you have established a cloud center within your organization, there are a few important priorities in order to make your effort a success:

  1. Interdepartmental Communication: The CCoE serves as a bridge between departments that use, measure, or fund cloud operations. All of these departments and stakeholders need to be on the same page about goals, timelines, and budgets for cloud operations, which is the entire idea of establishing a CCoE.
  2. Technology Expertise: As a resource and driver of innovation throughout the organization, it is imperative that the CCoE are the experts on the cloud technology used in the organization. Given the rate of innovation by the cloud providers, this requires dedicated time and effort.
  3. Governance: There are two major elements important for governance: authority and standardization. In order for the CCoE to be effective, it needs to be granted authority to set policies and standards for cloud security, compliance, and cost control — with the expectation that people throughout the organization will follow these policies. Once that authority is held, the CCoE needs to set, communicate, and enforce the policy standards as an initial priority.
  4. Repeatability and Automation: Once policies are established, it’s time to make deployment processes repeatable with reference architectures, and to get tools and platforms in place for governance and cost control.
  5. End-User Buy In: We all know that if a developer doesn’t want to do something, it’s pretty likely they’re not going to do it. Developing a sense of, if not excitement exactly, but engagement, is important for your new structure to succeed. Several of our customers with cloud centers regularly host tech talks, brown bag lunches, and other learning experiences to promote buy-in and adoption of tools and processes.

Call it What You Want: A Dedicated Effort is Key

Maybe Cloud Center of Excellence is too cheesy a phrase for your taste. What matters is cross-departmental collaboration and standardizing a plan for cloud migration, growth, and management.

Is your organization using a Cloud Center of Excellence model? How’s it going? We’d love to hear in the comments below!

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