In my previous article,Developing a cloud strategy: the balance between structure and flexibility. I suggested that a cloud strategy needed to be ‘rigid yet flexible’. That is, it needs to set clear standards and expectations, but be flexible enough to allow some ‘wriggle room’ where necessary. In this article, I will talk a bit more about why both these concepts are needed and give some examples where organizations have managed to achieve a suitable balance.
Why rigidity and flexibility?
In a world where agile often seems to be prized above everything, you may be wondering why I am suggesting any level of rigidity. The answer is because cloud offers a unique opportunity to break out of the mold of the old organization and make some changes. This is especially important where organizations are working with multiple legacy systems, because you can redesign the overall approach to streamline it and make it more efficient. This opportunity is likely to be lost if your approach to cloud is too flexible. Nothing will change, because it is always going to be easier to use the old approach.
In that case, why would we need flexibility? There are two main reasons. The first is because most organizations are not starting from a blank sheet. Parts of the organization may already have started with cloud on a project basis—and you don’t really want to have to spend time undoing something that works. A cloud strategy that suggests using a particular cloud first is likely to be more useful than one that specifies exclusive use of a particular cloud, with no flexibility.
The second is that you cannot perfectly predict future needs. You need flexibility to manage whatever comes. You don’t want people to be trying to find workarounds to a policy that is too rigid, because that makes a nightmare in governance terms. It is also impossible to migrate in an instant. Migration takes time, and that means that new technology becomes available, new needs emerge and new opportunities can be grasped. You want the flexibility to do this.
The skills journey
There is also a small matter of finding people with the right skills. It is all very well deciding on a strategy—but you also need to be able to deliver. One of my clients found themselves in this position last year. They had decided on a strategy but found that they could not recruit people with the right skills to deliver it. They had to flex their strategy to be able to achieve anything. However, having a clear idea of what they wanted to achieve and why (the rigidity argument) meant that they knew what they could change without compromising the outcomes.
As with most things in IT and analytics, finding the right balance is essential. In cloud strategy, I believe it is the balance between rigid and flexible that is crucial to allow the organization to reach its full potential.
Registration is open! SAS is returning to Vegas for an AI and analytics experience like no other! Whether you're an executive, manager, end user or SAS partner, SAS Innovate is designed for everyone on your team. Register for just $495 by 12/31/2023.
If you are interested in speaking, there is still time to submit a session idea. More details are posted on the website.
Data Literacy is for all, even absolute beginners. Jump on board with this free e-learning and boost your career prospects.