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The 4 Phases of a Business Transformation

A business transformation, when a company moves from traditional IT to modern IT, typically includes migrating to the cloud. The driving factor behind a business transformation varies from company to company, but it’s common to start a transformation in order to become more competitive in the marketplace, more digital, more reactive to customers, or more automated. Whatever your reason, there are four distinct phases you will go through during a business transformation, from the initial idea to ongoing optimization.

Phase 1: Getting started

The best place to start your transformation is with an in-depth business case. Depending on your goals, your business case will most likely include multiple elements, such as competitiveness, speed to market, and cost savings. Once you’ve determined your business case, it’s easier to understand your total cost of ownership in the cloud. It also provides structure to analyze compelling events and the moving parts around it, including contract terms and assets.

It’s important to bring all your key stakeholders together. We recommend following the Amazon Web Services Cloud Adoption Framework (AWS CAF) that incorporates six different perspectives from throughout the organization. These perspectives include business, people, governance, platform, security, and operations. This practice gives you a chance to evaluate the skills in your central IT area, understand existing governance from your chief commercial officer (CCO), evaluate security needs, and invite discussion between platform engineers, among other benefits. There’s a learning curve when it comes to operations in the cloud, so it’s important to get these perspectives together often to review the strategy, revise where necessary, and voice concerns together.

Phase 2: Six months into the transformation

The most important thing to remember at this stage of your business transformation is to keep listening. Invite feedback from the workforce and your users as things begin and continue to evolve. Establish a strong Cloud Center of Excellence (CCoE), a multi-stakeholder group of subject matter experts from various areas of the business, to drive communication from the top down. This will help breed an environment of inclusiveness throughout the transformation to avoid barriers and maintain your timeline.

At this point, you’re getting more interaction with the cloud and it’s easy to get distracted by all the cloud native services available. Continue to focus on your business objectives first – there will be plenty of time and opportunity to modernize, implement new services, and monetize data along the way. Moving too quickly without sticking to the established governance can lead to cloud sprawl, high storage and backup costs, and other budget overages. Get through these initial phases first to make sure everyone has the cloud skills they need and understand that the IT organization is there to enable business first and foremost. Once these new skills have been mastered, you can encourage experimentation and move faster.

Phase 3: Nearing the finish line

During this ending phase, focus is less on the technology and tools and more on evolving. Technical teams are more effective and efficient and the workforce throughout the organization is getting smarter. Evolution within the cloud is speeding up among both legacy technicians and newer technicians who are cloud native. Observe these progressions among your technical team and be ready for change. It’s common to lose team members with experience to other organizations just beginning their own cloud transformation.

Avoid knowledge loss with strong governance around run books, automation, documentation, and a deep understanding of how systems and processes work in the cloud. This is important to avoid gaps associated with turnover and to support a comprehensive onboarding process as you train new employees. Processes that used to take two to three days are now happening in hours, with the goal of getting them down to minutes. As you move faster, don’t forget these important documentation steps to keep up with the speed of business for the long-term.

This is also an especially exciting phase because now you’re moving at a pace where you can experiment and fail fast. New opportunities are created to monetize incoming data and analysis for additional revenue streams. Automation in the architecture, solutions, and management let you pivot and react quickly. Things become repeatable and the tedious manual processes of the past are greatly reduced, if not eliminated completely.

Phase 4: Post transformation

Post transformation includes anything above and beyond the scope of the original transformation project, including continuous optimization – constantly incorporating new instance types, payment models, and other relevant technology as it becomes available for the cloud. Evaluate how your applications are working and decide which should be refactored into a cloud native environment or move toward containerization. Post transformation you should continue innovating, watching your costs, and taking advantage of new cloud products and services.

2nd Watch invites to embrace your business transformation with cloud technologies and our strategic and tactical approach. Guaranteeing quality, consistency, and completeness, our experts work with you to determine your objectives and create tailored services to help you meet them. Contact Us to see how best to meet your transformation goals.

-Chris Garvey, EVP of Product

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Are you ready for a business transformation to the cloud?

Taking on a business transformation to the cloud can seem like a huge endeavor, but it’s a necessary strategy for any modern business organization that wants to create a competitive advantage. Understanding some basics and common challenges before diving into your transformation can alleviate your concerns.

What is a business transformation?

A business transformation is any move from traditional, legacy IT to modern IT. The business is trying to become more competitive in the market, more digital, more reactive to customers, and more automated. Today, that typically includes a migration to the cloud.

Why do you want to transform?

When considering a business transformation, you need to know why you’re making the move. What is causing the need for your business to transform? Often times it’s your board putting on the pressure or a race to cloud because “everyone else is.” Those reasons can be motivators, but you need to take a step back and ask yourself, “What is the outcome I’m trying to achieve?”

If you’re only taking on a transformation to satisfy your board or keep up with peers, you haven’t clearly defined end objectives and won’t be successful in effectively and efficiently galvanizing outcomes. You need to understand your business needs and drivers and assess your ability to compete from a technology or digital standpoint. For example, if your business isn’t agile enough to meet customer demands, sales might be shrinking. In that case, new ways to interact with customers is the desired outcome. Moving to the cloud enables businesses to deliver services faster, and the transition facilitates that outcome.

Always keep your eye on delivering value. A business transformation to the cloud can help your business be more competitive, save costs, innovate, accelerate your time to market, and modernize, but the entire organization will need to mold and adapt as well. Consider how those outcomes will be achieved and where the business will be affected before beginning your transformation.

Understanding transformational challenges

The real challenges to a successful business transformation are usually organizational. It’s essential that leadership buys in from the top down. The board needs to understand how you’re going to accomplish their goal of getting into the cloud and what the outcomes will be as a result. These transformations can last years and require resources that need to be accounted for. Managers need to know how to train staff, and departments will need to alter their processes and procedures. Often times, businesses focus on avoiding technology challenges, but people-oriented problems can create bigger barriers to reaching your goals.

That is why a business transformation must be inclusive of everyone in the organization, because everyone will be affected. These changes are ongoing and there will be multiple phases of transition before the final implementation. Make sure you’re communicating regularly and clearly, from your initial migration assessment through migrating, running in the cloud, and adjusting to the new normal.

Gaining stakeholder support before and during the transformation can prevent the common problem of taking on too much too soon. Focus on a progression to transformation rather than implementing as many cloud services as possible right away. It can be overwhelming trying to get everyone in the organization to DevOps, containerize everything, use every micro service and modernize to cloud native. Instead, identify where you can get the biggest impact. It’s about providing the best services to your business units and speeding them along.

COVID-19: Unpredictable business transformation

While best practices tell you to spend a significant amount of time planning and implementing a business transformation, the COVID-19 pandemic thrusted businesses worldwide into a rapid transformation we never expected or planned for. The requirement for businesses to send their employees home to work remotely put a spotlight on everything from IT security and file sync and share to disaster recovery and business continuity.

As in any business transformation, an unpredictable transformation forces you to define where the business value lies. Some projects can be put on hold without a huge impact to the business, while others, specifically those supporting profits, must be accelerated. Remote work enablement, for example, is paramount to most businesses operating successfully during the pandemic. Organizations that previously used virtual workspaces already had the infrastructure in place to quickly establish at-home workers. More traditional businesses, those who hadn’t yet modernized, needed to first deploy those setups in order to not just continue business immediately, but also be ready for whatever comes next.

Whether it’s a well-planned, multi-year business transformation, implementation of a new service, or an unexpected demand to transform, your business must be ready for change. Our Business Transformation experts can help you create and execute strategic IT initiatives that support business transformation and deliver the right insights and services to ensure your success. Contact Us to discuss beginning your business transformation.

-Chris Garvey, EVP, Product

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Building a Continuous Learning Culture for Cloud

In my last blog, I spoke about how your existing team’s skills and knowledge are assets in your cloud transformation. Upskilling and reskilling are both a smaller investment and provide a quicker return on investment than hiring and training new employees. Today I will highlight a path to help your team both develop the necessary skills for cloud as well as maintain and grow that knowledge over time.

This growth mindset is a continuous learning culture. Continuous learning is self-explanatory -the process of learning new skills and gaining knowledge on an ongoing basis. Skills and knowledge can be acquired in many ways from learning on the job or online education, to formal courses and certifications.

A continuous learning culture requires individuals to be self-starters, to voluntarily share information, to feel safe sharing their failures, and to constantly adjust based on new information. These values also need to be enabled by the organization in a variety of ways, including making space for experimentation, learning, and sharing.

Develop a culture of continuous learning that is initiated and led by technical professionals, and that is encouraged and sponsored by organizations. (Gartner – The Cloud Engineer: Skills Guidance for Modern Technical Professionals, by Elias Khnaser – October 2019)

6 Ways to Foster Continuous Learning for Cloud

Building a strong but flexible structure for upskilling and reskilling for cloud can be the catalyst to launch your team into the transformation effort. Here are 6 key tips that have proven successful for enterprise cloud teams in creating the support for continuous learning:

1. Perform a Skills Gap Analysis

A first step in your cloud upskilling and continuous learning journey is determining what skills are necessary now and in the future, and what skills your team already has. This baseline isn’t meant to police the team, but to help provide clarity to all as to where you are today and where your team needs to go. Some of the skills to evaluate are:

  • Technical Skills like scripting/coding, automation and orchestration, cloud networking, security & governance, database, application architecture, cloud account management, and specific cloud platform and tooling expertise.
  • Interpersonal Skills such as collaboration, communication, the ability to work globally and cross-functionally, and how to receive and provide mentorship.
  • Business Skills – technical teams should be able to translate business goals into development terms and know how to be a customer champion at any level of the organization. Cloud financial analysis skills are also important for your team to reap the scalability benefits of cloud.

2. Publish a Cloud Skills Roadmap

One way to enable self-starters in your organization is to be clear and transparent about your company goals and how they can support those goals. By aligning your tech skills gap analysis with your cloud and product strategy, and then publishing this as a roadmap for your team, they will be able to take clear actions to help fill the gaps. In addition, by keeping the roadmap up to date and rewarding those who help ‘fill the gaps,’ you will encourage both transparency and learning throughout your organization.

3. Build Individual Education and Development Plans

A learning management system (LMS) or similar tool can help both management and employees track progress at an individual level. This not only adds a bit of accountability but helps ensure no one gets left behind in the transformation. Be sure to not only include the formal or online training available in these plans. Give your employees the flexibility to learn in other ways such as writing internal documentation, attending industry events, writing papers or books, joining online communities, public presentations and webinars, or starting a growth project. Make sure there is a way for peers to regularly share feedback on what worked and what didn’t work in their individual education plans.

4. Support and Fund Certifications

Certifications are an essential way to educate your team while helping support their careers. Additionally, many cloud certifications come with hands-on labs and experience requirements, proving that they can perform the tasks necessary to support your business. One way to encourage certifications is to allow reimbursement for the test and/or provide a bonus to those who achieve certification. Promoting their accomplishment can also encourage others to follow suit.

5. Build an Apprenticeship Program

It’s not always easy for individuals to become self-starters. To encourage cross-training and reskilling, teams can build a mentoring program that partners experts with those who are just learning a new subject or skill area. This empowers early adopters to learn to mentor and share their knowledge while giving those who are newly acquiring the skills somebody to learn from and work with directly.

6. Support Internal Communities

After a few teams have successfully upskilled or reskilled and moved their applications to the cloud, it’s time to build some momentum. Encourage teams to build a resource center where they can share best practices, lessons learned, education plans, etc. This can be an informal or formal Cloud Center of Enablement (CCOE) that helps propel your team into the growth mindset.

Supporting your team to develop the skills for cloud by building a framework for success can help launch and sustain your cloud transformation long term. This also helps you retain talent while building an innovative culture that will be ready for the next big thing.

2nd Watch has supported thousands of enterprise cloud migrations with a cloud migration and modernization acceleration program designed to get you up and running in the cloud fast while maintaining business continuity. Our comprehensive methodology focuses on understanding your current state and goals and moving you to the cloud in a productive way. To learn more, visit https://www.2ndwatch.com/services/cloud-migration-application-modernization/.

-Stefana Muller, Sr Product Manager, DevOps & Migration

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Upskilling for Cloud: Your Existing Team is an Asset in Your Cloud Transformation

Cloud migration can revolutionize the way your business creates products, delivers its services, or connects with its customers. People and processes must also transform to meet this new demand.

One of the major reasons cloud transformations fail is that companies lack in-house cloud skills. Gartner predicts that through 2022, insufficient cloud IaaS skills will delay half of enterprise IT organizations’ migration to the cloud by two years or more.

It’s obvious now that after 15+ years in cloud, new technologies do not make infrastructure and operations teams obsolete but, instead, their role evolves and the skills necessary have expanded exponentially.

Your Tenured Team is an Asset

You’re probably well aware that your organization has a wealth of institutional knowledge and cultural practices that are well established. Your staff members that have been around for a while have an understanding of how to get things done efficiently and effectively for your company. This can be a positive and a negative. Positive if the team is willing to change to meet the new demand – or negative if they are resistant to change.

Stephen Orban from AWS has suggested that having a tenured staff is truly an advantage to your organization’s cloud transformation. In his blog, “You Already Have the People You Need to Succeed with the Cloud,” Orban states, “Everyone you need to move forward with the cloud is already there, you just have to enable them.”

Your team understands how your business works, and providing them with the opportunity to learn how to marry their existing skills with cloud technologies will shortcut the skills and knowledge gap when moving to the cloud.

Upskilling + Reskilling vs. Hiring New Talent

Upskilling is teaching your employees new skills so they can thrive in their current position. This is really helpful if your team members are going to remain in their current position, and maintain their current responsibilities, plus have to take on new technologies.

Reskilling is teaching existing employees new skills to do a different or new job. This is something we seen often in larger organizations. It often takes the effort of the employee to identify the need, attain the new skill(s), and then move on to the new role.  However, with Cloud transformation, you should be pinpointing the right employees to be reskilled and providing them with a path to obtain this new knowledge and experience for the cloud.

Hiring new employees is possible, but it’s not a quick fix. It is very difficult to find, recruit, and onboard highly skilled cloud architects. Not only are these individuals in high demand, but they warrant a higher salary and may not be skilled in helping your team transform in the process. Many times, these individuals are solely skilled in cloud and don’t understand the on-premise architecture that exists in your environment today. In addition, someone from outside your company also requires onboarding into your existing culture and time to understand your legacy processes.

Upskilling and reskilling are both a smaller investment and provide a quicker return on investment than hiring and training new employees.

Skills and Job Shifts in Cloud

There are three types of skills that are important to develop for Cloud:

  1. Technical Skills – Strong and broad technical skills in cloud, cloud architecture, and cloud tooling is important. In addition, the ability to think analytically, work in an agile way, and understand the perspectives of development, operations, and security are key.
  2. Interpersonal Skills – Due to the rapid nature of change in cloud, collaboration and communication skills are in high demand. The ability to work globally, evangelize ideas and persuade individuals that don’t report directly to you is also important in the agile structure of cloud. In addition, helping team members learn to mentor others and receive mentorship can build a better structure for continuous learning.
  3. Business Skills – Technical teams that can translate business goals into development terms can help your organization succeed in cloud. Having goals align and enabling teams to identify business value in all their interactions can help create the necessary customer champions at all levels of your organization.

Here are some examples of jobs pre-cloud to post-cloud.

Cloud transformation is not just a technology change; it forces a change to your organization structure and the way people work. It requires an evolution of your people and their skills and will not tolerate the traditional siloed method of building and managing your applications on-premise. Your existing team can be a true asset to your cloud transformation if you enable them to upskill and reskill in the process.

If you’re interested in learning more about how to upskill and reskill your team to enable a successful cloud migration, contact us.

-Stefana Muller, Sr Product Manager, DevOps & Migration

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The CALMS Model: Assessing Your Readiness for a DevOps Transformation

If you’re considering beginning a DevOps transformation, we recommend starting by identifying where you are now and where you need to improve before moving forward. This initial process highlights potential barriers that could slow the transformation or make it fail altogether. At 2nd Watch, we rely on the CALMS Model to comprehensively assess teams and processes as a starting point to a DevOps transformation.

What is the CALMS Model?

Originally developed by Damon Edwards and John Willis, and later enhanced by Jez Humble, the CALMS Model assesses your business today and throughout the DevOps transformation. The Model addresses five fundamental elements of DevOps:

  1. Culture: Collaborative and customer centered culture across all functions.
  • Is there a top-down effort to shift culture?
  • Are developers working with app owners, operations, legal, security, or any other department that will be affected?
  • How does your management team support the omni-directional integration of teams?
  • Do you enable the team to fail fast?
  • Is the team encouraged to continuously learn? 
  1. Automation: Remove the toil, or wasted work, with automation.
  • How much toil is present?
  • Is your continuous integration (CI) and continuous delivery (CD) pipeline flowing?
  • Are processes automated efficiently?
  • Is infrastructure automated and available on demand? 
  1. Lean: Agile and scrappy teams focused on continuous improvement.
  • Can you visualize your work in progress?
  • Where can you slim down?
  • Can you reduce batch sizes?
  • Can you limit your work in process? 
  1. Measurement: Data is critical to measure progress.
  • What are you measuring and how?
  • How do you determine progress, success, and the need to optimize?
  • What are your goals? 
  1. Sharing: All teams teach each other and feel empowered to contribute.
  • How is information and tribal knowledge captured and shared across teams?
  • Do teams feel comfortable sharing unsuccessful experiences for learning purposes?
  • Do teams share duties and goals?

Not only is the CALMS Model easy to use and comprehensive in a DevOps transformation, but it can also be applied to any other transformational effort. If you want to reduce costs, increase speed, or receive the benefits of these changes, use the CALMS Model as your foundation to assess where you are and where you are going.

Starting small with the CALMS Model

A good way to begin any DevOps transformation is to start small. Select a group of teams willing to prove the concept and complete a CALMS assessment within their departments. Choose up to five different teams and let the results of the assessment determine the top one or two highest functioning teams. These teams will serve as your subjects for an internal case study to showcase your readiness and chart a larger scale plan.

While proof of concept is important for buy-in, it’s also valuable to bring the right people along the change curve. Invite your IT executives to get onboard with DevOps and understand the entire transformation, rather than just the tooling. It’s not just CI/CD, it’s removing barriers, implementing analytics, and, most importantly, achieving the benefits of the DevOps transformation.

The best way to bring IT executives into DevOps is to help them justify the means. Show them the reduction in costs, increase in speed, efficient resource allocation – whatever your goals may be – as well as the measurements you’ll use to prove that value. Of course, the CALMS Model has these points built-in, so it’s a good tool to use for all stakeholders in the DevOps transformation. Present your findings to IT executives and let the assessment determine if you’re ready to move forward. Not only does the CALMS Model support each DevOps value, it enables measurement both upfront and throughout your transformation allowing you to prove your return on investment.

If you want a successful DevOps transformation complete with assessment and strategy, infrastructure as code essentials, CI/CD, and cloud native application modernization, schedule a briefing with one of our DevOps experts to take the first step.

-Stefana Muller, Sr Product Manager, DevOps & Migration

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4 DevOps Myths Debunked

DevOps is a set of cultural values and organizational practices that improve business outcomes by increasing collaboration and feedback between teams. Of course, there are industry best practices, but a DevOps transformation will look different and yield different results for each organization, depending on its business and strategy. With a lot of options and moving parts to a DevOps transformation, don’t let these myths delay beginning your transformation.

Myth #1: Tools will solve your DevOps problems.

Unfortunately, even the best tools are not going to solve all your DevOps issues. Tools are enablers that assist in removing unnecessary toil, but they can’t magically make things perfect. For instance, implementing an automation tool sounds like a great time and resource saver at first glance. However, the tool can only produce those results if the structure around the tool can accommodate the action. If your team isn’t ready for that speed, you’ll likely just speed to failure.

Don’t put the tools before the structure. Instead, think long-term and comprehensively when constructing your DevOps transformation map. Otherwise, roadblocks will slow down your ability to achieve speed.

Myth #2: You should start with CI/CD.

Typically, people begin their DevOps transformation with continuous integration (CI) and continuous delivery (CD). A CI/CD pipeline enables fast code changes through automated deployment steps that create a more consistent and agile environment. While the results of CI/CD are the goal, starting there doesn’t take into account the support necessary for successful implementation.

Today, the DevOps transformation is being refined to include discussions and planning around the evolvement of production support, application monitoring, and automated dashboards. When you start with CI/CD, you’re focused on development speed, but operations might not be ready to accommodate. In true DevOps fashion, you need to bridge the gap between development and operations first to produce a streamlined feedback loop. Operations must have their tools ready to feed into the CI/CD pipeline to break down barriers early on and avoid stopping points in the future.

Myth #3: DevOps transformation and cloud transformation can’t happen at the same time.

Promises of more speed and lower costs motivate businesses to jump into the cloud quickly, with the expectation that those benefits and return on investment (ROI) are delivered immediately. The issue with this way of thinking is not enough forethought prior to action, with a fracture resulting between departments. Teams need to be trained on new cloud procedures, security must be implemented, legal has to update contracts, and company culture, from the top down, needs to be onboard for adoption.

Fortunately, there’s a lot of overlap between a DevOps transformation and a cloud transformation. In fact, DevOps can be the support you need for a successful cloud transformation without any roadblocks. Instead of waiting on DevOps because you’re not agile yet, start with it at the beginning of your cloud transformation. Utilize DevOps best practices as you migrate to the cloud to help transform how your teams work with a well-constructed plan for company-wide implementation.

Myth #4: The role of security is for vulnerability scanning.

Waiting until you’re finished with development to include security is a DevOps anti-pattern. As an essential part of the business, security can contribute more than just vulnerability scanning before you go live. When you only look to security for the last line screening, you’re inviting a significant bottleneck into your process.

Of course, getting security involved and excited about DevOps can be a struggle because they’re inherently at odds. The goal of DevOps is to increase speed with new tools. The goal of security is to decrease risk, which can slow processes and releases. But when you apply speed and change with new implementations, you are increasing risk. Instead of asking, “How do we get security involved before vulnerability scanning?” consider the benefit of getting development to include security as part of the CI/CD pipeline. Automate steps like vulnerability scanning, secrets detection, license checks, SAST & DAST early in the development cycle so that issues are found and addressed early on. This removes the security roadblock to production.

In addition, cross-training between DevOps and security invites both teams to understand their colleagues’ goals, responsibilities, roles, expectations, risks, and challenges. Give each team real life examples of how the gap creates conflict for each side. Once they have a better understanding of the other side, they’re more likely to consider one another during product planning and development.

One well-known and widely accepted truth to a successful DevOps transformation is the benefit of an expert partner in the process. 2nd Watch offers packaged service offerings to help you get the most out of your DevOps transformation with start to finish essentials that deliver the results you expect. Contact Us to see how you can gain more leverage with less risk.

-Stefana Muller, Sr Product Manager, DevOps & Migration

 

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A DevOps Transformation Overview: What, How, Who, and Why

When your organization needs to address a specific problem, change the status quo, follow new trends, add a premier service, etc., it requires an approach that leads to success. A DevOps Transformation is the modern IT leader’s choice for achieving the speed and innovation needed to meet today’s market demands.

What is DevOps?

DevOps is a set of practices that combines software development, ‘Dev’, and IT operations, ‘Ops.’ The term was spurred from the initial struggle that existed between these two vital pieces of product creation. However, as our technology has expanded and become more business focused, so has the term.

Initially, businesses were mostly focused on making development and operations work better together by providing appropriate processes and specific automation technology. However, over the nearly 12 years that this term has been in existence, businesses have grown, and we’ve realized that the struggle doesn’t just exist between dev and ops, but rather the entire structure of the business.

How has DevOps evolved?

DevOps grew from the agile transformation effort where companies had to speed up, find new ways to develop software, and go-to-market quicker in order to remain competitive. Although agile was initially a development methodology, it makes sense that we now use it as part of a DevOps Transformation, expanding the use of agile across business areas to help companies quickly deliver the highest value to their customers.

Another big evolution in DevOps is how information should flow. DevOps used to encourage a bi-directional exchange between developers and operations, but now it’s omni-directional throughout the entire organization including departments like security, finance, marketing, product management, and business-line owners. It’s important to expand the feedback loop to and from all the stakeholders in an organization – including your customers – in order to fully deliver high value products or services.

If departments are unable or unwilling to share their wins and losses, communicate candidly, and exchange information, the transformation will hit barrier after barrier. This is especially important for project management, which has to change its processes drastically in a DevOps Transformation in comparison to a department-specific or smaller scale project. With the main objective being speed, planning is critical.

Who is involved in a DevOps Transformation?

The short answer is everyone. When you go through a DevOps Transformation, your company is essentially speeding things up. Typically, the action takes place in the application development and cloud operations space because that’s where you develop and deploy new products or features. But it’s not just the traditional Dev and Ops teams being affected by the transformation. Executives need to be all-in to encourage cooperation throughout the organization. Finance has to transact quicker, sales needs to sell differently, marketing has to understand new features and find the best ways to promote them, and legal has to update contracts with clients and providers to enable the rapid change brought by this model.

Today’s DevOps Transformation affects almost every business area in an organization, including cultural values, organizational practices, and improving business outcomes by increasing collaboration and feedback. This is why we refer to it as a transformation rather than an implementation – it’s really going to change your entire business.

Why are so many companies choosing DevOps?

A DevOps Transformation isn’t the only way to approach change management, but beneficial outcomes are making it a popular one.

  • Streamlined processes: Remember that the foundation of DevOps is built on removing the struggle between departments. Enabling teams to cross-innovate, by eliminating barriers and encouraging a culture of constant innovation, propels your business forward faster.
  • Challenges resolved: When your approach is based on removing issues and facilitating an omni-directional exchange of information, you get an unencumbered view of what those issues are and can then work toward resolution.
  • Specific benefits achieved: DevOps is used to target specific goals, and with the measurement necessary to determine success, IT leaders inherently receive a slew of additional benefits. For example, if you’re using DevOps to address high development costs, you won’t only accomplish cost reduction, but also faster time to market and higher security in your development cycle.
  • Valuable data collected: DevOps requires you to measure, report, and be transparent with everything you do. These insights not only aid the DevOps Transformation currently in focus, but also future initiatives.
  • Elevated customer experience: Delighting your customers with new, stable technology on a frequent basis will contribute to retention and new business growth.

2nd Watch has developed a number of DevOps Transformation services to aid enterprises in their transformations, including assessment and strategy, training and tooling, continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD), cloud native application modernization, and full DevOps management. Get more out of your DevOps Transformation while becoming self-sufficient for the future. Contact Us to discuss how a DevOps Transformation can help you achieve your goals.

-Stefana Muller, Sr Product Manager, DevOps & Migration

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You’re on AWS, now what? Five things you should consider now.

You migrated your applications to AWS for a reason. Maybe it was for the unlimited scalability, powerful computing capability, ease and flexibility of deployment, movement from CapEx to OpEx model, or maybe it was simply because the boss told you to. However you got there, you’re there. So, what’s next? How do you take advantage of your applications and data that reside in AWS? What should you be thinking about in terms of security and compliance? Here are 5 things you should consider in order to amplify the value of being on AWS:

  1. Create competitive advantage from your AWS data
  2. Accelerate application development
  3. Increase the security of your AWS environment
  4. Ensure cloud compliance
  5. Reduce cloud spend without reducing application deployment

Create competitive advantage from your data

You have a wealth of information in the form of your AWS datasets. Finding patterns and insights not just within these datasets, but across all datasets is key to using data analysis to your advantage. You need a modern, cloud-native data lake.

Data lakes, though, can be difficult to implement and require specialized, focused knowledge of data architecture. Utilizing a cloud expert can help you architect and deploy a data lake geared toward your specific business needs, whether it’s making better-informed decisions, speeding up a process, reducing costs or something else altogether.

Download this datasheet to learn more about transforming your data analytics processes into a flexible, scalable data lake.

Accelerate application development

If you arrived at AWS to take advantage of the rapid deployment of infrastructure to support development, you understand the power of bringing applications to market faster. Now may be the time to fully immerse your company in a DevOps transformation.

A DevOps Transformation involves adopting a set of cultural values and organizational practices that improve business outcomes by increasing collaboration and feedback between business stakeholders, Development, QA, IT Operations, and Security. This includes an evolution of your company culture, automation and tooling, processes, collaboration, measurement systems, and organizational structure—in short, things that cannot be accomplished through automation alone.

To learn more about DevOps transformation, download this free eBook about the Misconceptions and Challenges of DevOps Transformation.

Increase the security of your AWS environment

How do you know if you’re AWS environment is truly secure? You don’t, unless you deploy a comprehensive security assessment of your AWS environment that measures your environment against the latest industry standards and best practices. This type of review provides a list of vulnerabilities and actionable remediations, an evaluation of your Incident Response Policy, and a comprehensive consultation of the system issues that are causing these vulnerabilities.

To learn more, review this Cloud Security Rapid Review document and learn how to gain protection from immediate threats.

Ensure cloud compliance

Deploying and managing cloud infrastructure requires new skills, software and management to maintain regulatory compliances within your organization. Without the proper governance in place, organizations can be exposed to security vulnerabilities and potentially compromise confidential information.

A partner like 2nd Watch can be a great resource in this area. The 2nd Watch Compliance Assessment and Remediation service is designed to evaluate, monitor, auto-remediate, and report on compliance of your cloud infrastructure, assessing industry standard policies including CIS, GDPR, HIPAA, NIST, PCI-DSS, and SOC2.

Download this datasheet to learn more about our Compliance Assessment & Remediation service.

Reduce cloud spend without reducing application deployment

Need to get control of your cloud spend without reducing the value that cloud brings to your business? This is a common discussion we have with clients. To reduce your cloud spend without decreasing the benefits of your cloud environment, we recommend examining the Pillars of Cloud Cost Optimization to prevent over-expenditure and wasted investment. The pillars include:

  • Auto-parking and on-demand services
  • Cost models
  • Rightsizing
  • Instance family / VM type refresh
  • Addressing waste
  • Shadow IT

For organizations that incorporate cloud cost optimization into their cloud infrastructure management, significant savings can be found, especially in larger organizations with considerable cloud spend.

Download our A Holistic Approach to Cloud Cost Optimization eBook to learn more.

After you’ve migrated to AWS, the next logical step in ensuring IT satisfies corporate business objectives is knowing what’s next for your organization in the cloud. Moving to the cloud was the right decision then and can remain the right decision going forward. Implement any of the five recommendations and accelerate your organization forward.

-Michael Elliott, Sr Director of Product Marketing

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Cloud Crunch Podcast: 7 Tactical IT Initiatives to Enable Your Corporate Business Objectives

To get a better understanding of how organizations were prepared and continue to plan for the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as how IT leaders’ priorities and initiatives are shifting, IDG CIO conducted a COVID-19 Impact Study that indicated 3 major focus areas – cost control, improving IT operations, and redesigning business processes. We break these down and look at 7 initiatives you can take to enable your business objectives. Listen now on Spotify, iTunes, iHeart Radio, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts.

As always, thanks for listening! This episode wraps up Season 1 of Cloud Crunch. We’ll be taking a short break from podcasting to research and continue educating ourselves on current, relevant cloud issues and will be back with Season 2 this fall. If there are issues or topics you’d like to hear about, we’d love to hear your suggestions. Email us at cloudcrunch@2ndwatch.com.

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The Most Critical Step in a Workload Migration – Migrating Your Application Database

It’s not uncommon for us to hear from clients that the “thing” holding organizations back from fully migrating to the cloud is their data.  The reason given is that it is too valuable of an asset to move.  We believe, however, that it is too valuable an asset not to move to the cloud.  Keeping your database on-premises holds your business back from making the coveted “full digital transformation.”

The fact is, legacy on-premises databases put a considerable burden on IT infrastructure, staffing resources and data security. Most organizations want their DBAs to spend their time on optimizing their database performance, ensuring they have the correct high-level architecture and experimenting, however older databases can cause administrators to expend considerable time on troubleshooting, capacity and performance issues.

There are several options available from AWS and Azure for moving your database to the cloud.  A simple lift-and-shift of your on-premises database to a cloud instance will allow you the most flexibility to continue working with your database in a fashion you are most familiar with.  You maintain complete control of the operating system, database version and administration as you currently do, but you have the advantages of the cloud with the ability to add CPUs, cores or capacity on demand.

Alternatively, you can move to a Managed Database Service.  These services deliver fully optimized infrastructure specific to your choice of database to improve performance and ensure you are running on the latest version with the newest features.  They also lower your Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) by performing many of the administrative tasks, such as automating patching and back-ups while guaranteeing high availability with multiple 9’s of uptime.

However, because your data is an invaluable asset to your organization, it is understandable that there is some hesitance to undertake the transformation.  Migrating the application database is perhaps the most critical step in any workload migration. Maintaining integrity and availability of data is critical, and the time taken to synchronize data between old and new systems may determine the duration of any service disruption during migration.

This is where it helps to partner with a services provider like 2nd Watch.  Over the last decade, we have developed a proven methodology to help our clients overcome the challenges and hesitancy of moving one of their most precious assets, their database, to the cloud.  Our Database Migration Service comprehensively examines your databases and applications and maps out all the dependencies.  We work with you to understand unique requirements, such as the impact of latency on your applications’ performance, to ensure the migration is seamless to your customers.

Migrating your database to the cloud creates new opportunities to derive value from data, utilize modern BI and AI tools, and reduce the cost and management overhead of traditional on-premises solutions. It can increase the time database architects and developers are able to spend on high-value projects, such as developing new applications and applying advanced analytics.  Whether you are running MS SQL Server, MySQL, PostgreSQL, MariaDB or Oracle Database, 2nd Watch can help you migrate your database to your cloud platform of choice.

To learn more, download our datasheet for details on migrating your database to Microsoft Azure or AWS.

-Dusty Simoni, Sr Product Manager

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