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New Research by IDC, Sponsored by PagerDuty, Explores How Organizations Can Reach CloudOps Maturity

Many organizations have made the shift to the cloud in recent years, and many more are planning to or are just starting their cloud migration journeys now. However, some organizations struggle to realize value from this move. The benefits of cloud are clear: it’s flexible, scalable, and has a low cost of entry. But cloud can also bring complexity—creating new interdependencies, more services to manage, and more data and signals to monitor. For IT teams, it’s pivotal to keep services “always on” despite this complexity.

This is where cloud operations (CloudOps) comes in. As IDC defines it, a CloudOps model is “the sum of the internal systems, teams, and methods in place to monitor and manage a cloud infrastructure and platform deployment.” Over time, CloudOps will become the primary operating model as organizations continue to deploy increasingly cloud-first or cloud-native infrastructures.

As many of PagerDuty’s own customers are either in the cloud or making the move, we wanted to explore what it means to be operationally mature in the cloud—and how organizations can get there. To do this, we commissioned a study with IDC to assess the current state of CloudOps. The global survey of 802 large enterprises explored CloudOps and incident management, the impact that these have on IT, and how organizations can develop their maturity when operating in the cloud. Below is a snapshot of the IDC White Paper’s key takeaways.

How Mature is Your CloudOps Today?

The research found that there are four distinct phases of maturity for cloud operating model adoption.

  • Beginner: Organizations have begun the CloudOps journey, but they typically have not established CloudOps positions or teams, nor have they invested in training. Beginners typically measure performance by how fast issues are resolved and activity outcomes are usually framed in terms of profit and downtime avoidance.
  • Intermediate: Organizations have expanded their use of hybrid cloud and are looking to coordinate activity with IT groups and some line of business (LoB) teams. They are beginning to organize work into workflows—either within the CloudOps platform or among several tools or ticketing systems. Artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) enabled tools may also be used to enhance some aspects of the CloudOps workflow. Impact is typically measured on revenue rather than profit.
  • Advanced: Organizations have adopted hybrid cloud infrastructure, requiring additional collaboration with LoB teams and customers. The CloudOps team increasingly works with a highly centralized approach, a refined set of workflows, and with rules-based automation. Experienced CloudOps, DevOps, and Cloud Architecture resources are being modeled, and a culture of full-service ownership is emerging. Outcomes measured include operational efficiency, profit, improved customer satisfaction, loyalty, and/or retention.
  • Expert: Organizations use CloudOps as a strategic differentiator, accelerating the creation and deployment of digital services. A culture of full-service ownership is prevalent, and organizations have matured their CloudOps platform into a rules-based workflow management system. They have likely not experimented much with AI/ML, as they will have typically started their journey years ago, before AI/ML-based tools were mature and available. However, over the next couple of years, “Expert” organizations will begin leveraging existing, mature AI/ML-based capabilities.

Accelerating the Move to CloudOps Maturity

The research shows that the move from one maturity level to the next can take between 18-to-24 months of continuous work. Overall, it can take three to five years to become an Expert CloudOps organization. However, the good news is that there are ways to fast track your CloudOps journey. Here are our top three takeaways on how organizations can move faster up the CloudOps maturity ladder:

1. Take a hybrid approach.

Expert level organizations have reached maturity using primarily rules-based tools and are far less likely to use a hybrid rules-based and AI/ML approach today than Beginners. However, this shouldn’t be taken as a snub to AI and ML. Expert organizations likely began their CloudOps journey four-to-five years ago, when AI/ML technologies had not yet matured. Since then, AI/ML have developed considerably and can now be used to help propel organizations towards maturity in the cloud. With a hybrid approach, Beginners can accelerate their maturity journey by reaping the benefits of rules-based automation combined with the intelligence of AI supported by ML. However, it’s important to remember not to move so fast that the rest of the organization is left behind. This brings us to our next point.

2. Pursue top-down cultural change.

Adopting a cloud operating model requires a major shift within an organization—from changes in decision making and budgeting, to transforming governance approaches and how success is measured. While the report found this change can be driven by employees, the need for executive leadership to be in the driving seat is also evident. Reaching CloudOps maturity is not just a change to IT but also a corporate change. In fact, Expert level organizations were far more likely than Beginners to have changed operations to align with both corporate and IT restructuring. The road to reaching CloudOps maturity will be much shorter if organizations can embrace the cultural shift at every level—led by those at the top.

3. Implement full-service ownership.

Full-service ownership means that developers—who may have previously been separated from their code in production—are increasingly owning code for the entirety of the product development lifecycle (check out our guide to full-service ownership for more information). One of the hallmarks of Expert level organizations is the implementation of full-service ownership. According to the report, “this finding suggests that something substantial changes along the path to CloudOps maturity which enables this cultural shift to service ownership among the most mature CloudOps teams.” As such, prioritizing the introduction of a full-service ownership mindset is a key step in accelerating CloudOps maturity.

While there’s no denying that the journey to CloudOps maturity is a major undertaking, it’s an undertaking that is well worth the time and effort. Organizations that commit to and invest in this journey will reap the rewards in the years to come—from greater agility, to cost benefits and more.

To find out more about CloudOps maturity, download the IDC White Paper, sponsored by PagerDuty, Cloud Operations Maturity Assessment, 2021, Doc. #US47638121, June 2021. And if you are just starting your cloud migration journey and want to find out how PagerDuty can help, visit our cloud migration resource page.