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Evolving in CloudOps Maturity? Investing in People and Teams Pays Off by Inga Weizman

CloudOps is on the up. This is in part due to the rapid acceleration of the shift to cloud that was caused by the pandemic. The shift allowed companies to innovate faster, enjoy greater flexibility and scalability, and become more cost efficient. Many organizations who rapidly adopted cloud or increased their usage now realize that they need to better manage their cloud investments in order to fully embrace these benefits.

PagerDuty commissioned a study with IDC to assess the current state of CloudOps. The survey of 802 global enterprises explored CloudOps and incident management, their impact on IT, and how organizations can develop their maturity when operating in the cloud. The study identified four distinct CloudOps maturity phases organizations evolve through as they begin to operate in a cloud model: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, Expert (read a full definition of each here).

In this blog series, we will dive into some of the findings and explain the key changes that occur as organizations progress through the stages. We’ll begin with a look at one of the most critical elements in making CloudOps a success: the people involved.

Creating a CloudOps Culture

The IDC study found that there are multiple drivers towards CloudOps. These drivers included the need to save costs, achieve greater agility, and align with wider corporate and IT restructuring (fig.1). Whatever the specific driver (or combination thereof), the common factor is people. People are at the center of any successful digital transformation journey that enables organizations to be more resilient, adaptable, and innovative.

Graph showing most important reasons for change among both beginners and experts.

Adopting CloudOps is no different. It represents a significant cultural shift that goes beyond simply implementing new tools to requiring a new way of operating and making decisions. To be successful, there needs to be strong leadership and a clear vision from the top to engender the support of those on the ground. Two of the study’s key findings were that, “a mandate for leadership-driven cultural change is needed” and, “collaborative leadership skills are necessary.”

Building a Team for Success

Just as leadership must make changes for success at each phase of the CloudOps maturity journey, the team and people dynamics must also evolve. The study states that, “The degree of organizational, personal, and cognitive change required to achieve a high level of CloudOps maturity should not be underestimated.” It goes on to say, “Logically, as the technical environment becomes increasingly complex, the organization that supports it needs to be able to both specialize in specific skills and make decisions quickly.”

It’s vital to build knowledge across the organization, invest in training and development, and have the right mix of experience in place. In this blog, we discussed the three main accelerators for CloudOps maturity. Let’s look at how each accelerator impacts people and teams:

  • Take a hybrid approach: To accelerate their maturity journey, organizations can reap the benefits of rules-based automation combined with the intelligence of AI supported by ML. However, it’s important to ensure that this change does not move so fast that the rest of the organization is left behind. Organizations must take teams on an incremental journey, investing in people and training to enable that hybrid approach. At the Beginner level, we found that initial efforts include creating CloudOps positions (41%) and training in CloudOps software (32%). At the Intermediate level, this is joined by DevOps training (31%) and, at the Advanced level, the creation of a CloudOps (44%) or DevOps (41%) Center of Excellence.
  • Pursue top-down cultural change: Reaching digital maturity is not just an IT change, but a corporate change, and requires a major top-down shift driven by people. Advanced organizations have created a dedicated CloudOps team, and have staffed teams with experienced CloudOps, DevOps, and Cloud Architecture Specialists. At the Expert level, this goes further; CloudOps is a strategic differentiator driven by leaders and permeating the entire organization.
  • Implement full-service ownership: A common characteristic of Expert organizations is a culture of accountability. This is underlined by the prevalence of full-service ownership (FSO). FSO enables software teams to build increasingly reliable and efficient applications, while also deploying code even faster and more frequently. FSO is designated by our IDC study as a “hallmark of CloudOps maturity.” Sixty percent (60%) of Expert organizations said that encouraging people to adopt an FSO mindset helped to support their cloud operating models.

Graph showing Adoption of the Service Ownership Model increasing as maturity increases.

Reaping the Rewards

As outlined in this blog on CloudOps, reaching Expert-level maturity is a challenging process. It takes time and requires significant investment in people and teams. But the hard work pays off. Over a sustained period of two years, Expert-level organizations reap considerable rewards such as:

● 44% improvement in downtime avoidance and revenue protection,
● 40% improvement in employee productivity, and
● 39% shorter time to market for new products and services.

In the next blog post in this series, I’ll look at the technology developments required to evolve CloudOps maturity. To read the full report, download the IDC White Paper, “Cloud Operations Maturity Assessment, 2021: Key Attributes and Behaviors that Differentiate Beginners from Experts.”

** IDC White Paper, sponsored by PagerDuty, Cloud Operations Maturity Assessment, 2021: Key Attributes and Behaviors that Differentiate Beginners from Experts, 2021, Doc. #US47638121, June 2021.

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