DevOps & SRE

How do you eat an elephant? Google SREs talk digital transformation

#cloudmigration

Today, everything from payroll software to specialized machine-learning systems is available “as a service” in the cloud, addressing a vast range of needs across businesses, enabling rapid growth and scale while allowing a business to focus on its core competencies.

But moving to the cloud can generate tension, which is inevitably challenging for everyone involved—especially if that transformation creates "winners" and "losers" or frames individuals as "old" or "new." The good news; however, is that a cloud transformation doesn't have to be this way.

As Google Cloud has grown, so too has the team of Googlers who build and support the platform, and many of us have sat in the same seat as our customers. We've experienced firsthand how empowering it can be to shape the future of an organization, help one another grow, as well as unlock the business opportunities that a transformation provides. Our own personal experiences, and those of our peers, have led us to conclude one thing we know to be true for every company - the story of digital transformation is a human story—one that involves as much cultural transformation as technological transformation. It’s with this realization we have identified the deeper factors behind a successful transformation. That's why we recently published a guide, reflecting on the nature of these changes and how you can take action in your own organization to drive a migration to the cloud. 

Posing challenging questions helps you reflect on your own organization’s journey and the unique path you will need to take to lead to meaningful change. We wrote this guide to share key tenets that underpin the change philosophy you need to instill in your own organization. In A Practical Guide to Moving to Cloud, we present the following calls to action:

  1. Understand who in the organization you need to enlist to move to cloud.

  2. Create a psychologically safe culture in which you can grow together.

  3. Define clear objectives for your organization. Document measurable steps towards these goals and understand that each step must, in and of itself, deliver value.

  4. Review your existing organizational behaviors and set principles/policies which influence and direct every future decision related to your transformation.

  5. Use your new culture to refine how decisions are made, and provide meaningful autonomy across the organization.

  6. Build structures that empower practitioners to share best practices and solve common problems. Use these structures to empower your peers.

  7. Build guardrails into your cloud platform that support transformation, at pace, without negatively impacting others. Support safe experimentation.

  8. Understand what types of cloud platforms are the best fit for your business needs and determine your multi-cloud strategy in anticipation of your evolving business needs (e.g. acquisitions, new revenue streams, competitive responses).

  9. Recognize that everything is now software, and understand what this means for your existing IT infrastructure functions.

  10. Don’t be afraid to revisit existing, hallowed, security policies. Making them fit-for-purpose is crucial.

  11. Continuously measure and apply your new policies through software.

  12. Be bold; build a new way of operating your business products with a customer-centric perspective. 

  13. Love your developers.

At Google Cloud, we’re here to help you craft the right migration for you and your business. A Practical Guide to Moving to Cloud is available as a free download. You can also learn more about our data center migration solutions or sign up for a free migration cost assessment. Let’s get migrating! 

Visit sre.google to learn more about SRE and industry-leading practices for service reliability.