Managing the Microsoft Azure cloud is not easy, would a cloud team be useful?

Most organizations start with the Microsoft Azure cloud by experimenting and before they know it, an environment is created that is no longer as transparent as they hoped. From experience we can tell that customers with a large number of subscriptions, fragmented resource groups and no insight into the costs are not unusual. (You’re really not alone!).

How

Many organizations are faced with the question: “How can we tackle the proliferation of subscriptions and lack of overview?”. When you ask this question to 3fifty, we have the following answer for you: The first step is to draw up an Azure Governance plan with regard to your cloud platform. This plan gives insight into the possibilities of the cloud platform and describes how the platform should look like.

But let’s be honest, making a governance plan will not solve your problems! Step two is to put the governance plan into practice. You do this first of all by cleaning up the current environment and setting it up in such a way that it complies with the specified plan.

Step three is to implement a cloud team. If the platform is properly set up, you should consider a cloud team or a “Cloud Center of Excellence”. Since a cloud platform is not a traditional platform, you cannot expect that managing a cloud platform is the same as managing a data center and your current infrastructure. Much more expertise is required when managing a cloud platform and different activities are also significant.

What does a cloud team do

A cloud team within an organization is responsible for the cloud platform. In most cases, which of course differs per organization, they perform the following activities:

  • Think of common architecture models (reference architectures);
  • Draw up best practices;
  • Sharing knowledge about the cloud platform;
  • Supporting questions related to the cloud;
  • Evangelizing the cloud.

What are the drivers for working with a cloud team?

The cloud team is the knowledge group related to the cloud within the organization. They have the following motives:

  • Learning: Coaching and adopting cloud in the organization;
  • Lead: Leading initiatives within the cloud platform;
  • Security: Securing the cloud platform and keeping it solid as described.

The responsibilities and motives are also reflected in the final activities of a cloud team. The activities of the cloud team can be divided into the following categories:

  • Adoption
  • Governance
  • Knowledge
  • Operation
  • Strategic

When are you successful as an cloud team?

I often work with cloud teams at the customers I work for. Thanks to this experience and expertise, I can say that a cloud team is successful if they:

  • are multidisciplinary;
  • are authorized to take action;
  • have a visionary on the team;
  • work agile;
  • are technically;
  • are involved with the organization and the cloud platform;
  • are cloud minded and not thinking traditionally;
  • have hands-on experience;
  • are not too big (maximum 8 people).

Part of the team

As you have read, a cloud team within an organization has a great responsibility. Their activities are very different from a traditional IT environment. For this reason, we often see customers making the choice to also have an IT partner part of the cloud team. They also prevent the team from wearing the proverbial “blinders”.

Blog originally published in Dutch on the website of Microsoft Gold Partner 3fifty. If your are based in the Netherlands take a look at the website

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