Welcome back to our Cloud Transformation blog series! In my earlier post, I discussed briefly about the main challenges faced by operators globally embarking on their Cloud Transformation journeys. To best avoid the common pitfalls, I recommended that operators go through a series of assessment and planning programs, in parallel to the technology pilots being carried out in their networks. In this post, I'll address the first stumbling block to “Failure to drive change beyond technology”.
As operators transform into Digital Service Providers, the consumer facing Digital Transformation needs to be supported by a more internally oriented Cloud Transformation. Many cultures around the world believe that self-awareness is the first step to improvement. Well, I believe this applies doubly to Cloud Transformation! This means that for Cloud Transformation programs to excel, it is critical to:
- Set the context through business strategy.
- Perform a maturity assessment.
Defining the strategy
The first step to "self awareness" is through understanding the business strategy which sets the context and influences the choices to be made during the transformation. Most operators have a well-defined strategy on the services they will provide, the segments they’ll go after, position in the marketplace, etc. The NFV/SDN technologies with Software Defined Infrastructure (SDI) expand the levers available for management to achieve the desired results as well as to differentiate more granularly, taking their business to new horizons never imagined before. However, in many instances, many critical dimensions of change are often not addressed or even discussed. Before any steps to transform begin, it is critical to align on the strategy which requires facilitated and collaborative workshops, with all key stakeholders, to distill what the strategy implies for the cloud transformation. By mapping the needs and wants onto a Business Value Canvas® and then ordering them by priority, we create an initial list of the major criteria and steps involved in the technology transformation which result in one of three transformation horizons: Virtual Ready, Cloud Ready and Cloud Enabled.
For example, with one of our customers the business value map looked as is depicted below. The operator had a clear preference for Agility, even over the cost optimization aspect and that choice flowed through the rest of the transformation planning.
Others might have an immediate preference for cost optimization, with a later focus on customized customer services offerings. No matter what the priority, each will impact the solution type, operational structure, investments in platform/process automation among other aspects of the transformation.
Assessing your maturity
Next critical step towards building a cloud transformation strategy is to clearly assess and understand where you are starting from. A lot of transformations are already underway. However, there is a lack of frameworks and tools to help the operators accelerate the journey. As technological innovators, we have a tremendous confidence in our ability to execute technology transformation programs. But key to success is ensuring operations and technology co-exist, co-optimize and combine to create a whole larger than the sum of the pieces. When we perform a maturity assessment, we evaluate the readiness of the organization for various pieces of the ETSI architecture to be deployed. In the example below, we notice that the operator has decent capabilities on the NFVI/VIM and OSS/MANO front but not so much on the VNF piece.
Each of the areas here were evaluated on 6-8 dimensions with 35+ capabilities to arrive at the maturity assessment. Then based on the ambition, we defined the maturity that would be reached as the operator progressed through the Cloud Ready and Cloud Enabled maturity levels.
The maturity assessment is critical in that it allows us to identify the dimensions where capabilities are most lacking, thus pinpointing where investment will be needed so as to ensure a successful transformation. It also helps to designate a prioritization plan of set phases and sub-phases of dependent milestones across these dimensions, which will ensure a holistic transformation delivering the necessary value to the organization and align to the architectural blueprint for transformation.
These critical two steps provide the right tools to:
- Define the strategic choices necessary to become the Digital Service Provider of choice.
- Define the starting point of your transformation journey.
- Create actionable goals with associated increase in maturity.
- Track the transformation to ensure high-probability of success.
They also help to raise and answer the right questions some of which I featured in my previous blog post, such as:
- Are you deploying technology that will actually help you meet your goals?
- Are you setting it up in a way that aligns with your high-level strategy?
- Are you doing so in a way that supports your existing timelines for several parallel projects?
- And what about organizational structure?
- How different will your org chart look when you’re done?
- How will the competence be mapped to and migrated over to newer platforms?
Want to learn more?
Check out my first blog of this series: The top three stumbling blocks for cloud transformation programs.
Want to know more about how to do Cloud transformation?