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Businesses in various sectors consider innovative ways to run their operations in the era of a global pandemic. Cloud transformation has become increasingly popular and vital for the survival of many companies around the world and in South Africa.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is no stranger to enabling organisations to access scalable, dependable, and highly secure computing power to keep businesses moving forward.

Earlier this month at AWS Africa Virtual Day, Jonathan Allen, Director Enterprise Strategy provided a how to guide for organisations to seamlessly transition to the cloud.

“Executives are under increasingly pressure to deliver cloud transformation results quickly,” comments Jonathan Allen. Getting fully setup for success should not stop you from getting going, that said, understanding lessons learned from those who have gone before, saves time and money.”

Organisations are urged to begin their cloud journey by creating and/or gathering a niche group of technologists, engineers and developers before moving to the cloud. This includes creating what Amazon terms as a ‘’2-Pizza Cloud Business Office’’ and a Cloud Engineering Team. Amazon’s “2-pizza team” concept means a team of 8 –10 people. The business office would be responsible for the strategic oversight and tactical air cover for engineers and developers while the engineering team are more hands on with the AWS cloud execution. By setting this strong foundation, any business, whether big or small, will be well on their way to transitioning to the cloud accordingly.

Once teams are formed, establishing your cloud tenets is the next step to solidifying the organisation’s digital transformation to the cloud. Common tenets provide a common frame of reference for everyone to understand the ‘how’ questions that can arise your company. Once tenets are in place, they should be reviewed by a wider source to verify a small but powerful list. Once your organisation’s teams and cloud tenets are set up, the next step is to begin the transformation.

Allen says, “Just start”. Focus on developing the skills and then delivering. All the help you will need is available. In addition, all the answers to your questions are already been written. Start with one forward-thinking Engineer or Developer and have them start using AWS through the Console, get to know the services and spin up an EC2 test instance.”

In order to create respectable objectives, it is crucial that you works backwards from your company’s external regulatory bar, which could be the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, The Protection of Personal Information Act, etc. Jonathan Allen further explains this by stating, “You should also work with AWS to ensure that you have adopted the best practices that meet your compliance and security objectives. Once you agree on these, write them down, publish them, and make sure there is a direct channel to the leadership team and single-threaded leader so people can cordially challenge them if they want.”

The key role of the Cloud Center of Excellence (CCoE) is to guarantee that the personal journey for every team member within this transformation is positively and proactively managed. It is essential that the right training and certification programs to enable scaling by an organization be in place. By presenting these to the necessary teams, you are also showing the opportunity for trial and error – which is essential to testing and reviewing the quality of your services. Furthermore, it allows the business to get something that is meaningful into production.

Allen says experience has shown that shipping something live in this way can take anywhere from a couple of days to 12 weeks. If it takes over 12 weeks to complete, one of the earlier steps is not working. Therefore, do a retrospection and ask yourself why something is not cooperating. Here is a blog where he recommends trying the 5 Why’s.

Finally, the question that many larger enterprises come back to time and time again is “How do I balance control (especially security) and innovation?” At Capital One for example, Cloud Custodian allows administrators and users to define policy rules for a well-managed cloud infrastructure that is both secure and cost-optimised. The best part about this specific process is the fact that it worked very well. This highlights the importance of trust and verification when conducting projects and services.

Evidently, the transition to cloud services is, in fact, a strenuous one. It can however become quite a rewarding process when strategised correctly and then executed by the right professionals. “We are all still learning a new form of technological agility. It is, however, up to us on how swift we will be in adapting to this new reality,” concludes Allen.