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Wasif Afghan

Discover a new way of working

In my first blog, I spoke about the importance of bringing IT and the wider business together to align on the initial cloud strategy and business case. That’s an important first step and requires a huge amount of focus and effort by all parties, but how do you continue to collaborate once you are in the cloud and need to respond to new digital initiatives?

It’s a major milestone to make that first move into to the cloud and have architected it in a way that can be fully optimised and operated effectively on an on-going basis.

However, the cloud journey never really stops as the rate of innovation that public providers deliver to the market in terms of enhancements to cloud-native services and integrated digital platforms such as AI, IoT and analytics is nothing short of mind blowing. Each year, the likes of Microsoft Azure and AWS announce hundreds of new features which makes keeping up with innovation and learning new skills an overwhelming task.

Even once you have got your head around the technical side you also need the ability to cut through all the noise and pinpoint those announcements that will make a real difference to your business. As a result, local government organisations (LGOs) will need to keep a close eye on the dynamic cloud market to assess how it can accelerate their digital strategy or re-think their approach.

Many organisations have started turning to cloud service provider specialists to help with this increasingly common scenario. This typically leads to a professional services engagement, but the traditional approach of creating a procurement contract each time or not having quick-access to experts from the service provider simply does not work in the world of digital where the ability to respond quickly and frequently is now the new ‘normal’.

According to Gartner, this is resulting in a shift towards long-term professional services engagement rather than the traditional view of it being limited to an onboarding assessment and migration activities. For that reason, I recommend you build a long-term relationship with a trusted advisor – one that can help you unlock new cloud services over time.

So what does this all mean in terms of collaboration? Let’s look at an example where you are seeking to adopt data analytics services and leverage machine learning and AI tools in the cloud to gain powerful insights into your business and your customers.

You will need a cloud specialist provider to ensure they can architect a suitable solution in the cloud for supporting the new analytics project, ensuring it is secure, optimised and has the appropriate governance and operating model wrapped around it. However, they may not be specialists in data science and AI development, which means they will need to collaborate with a separate company who is competent in those areas.

In this scenario it will end up being a three-way collaboration between yourself, the cloud specialist and the data analytics company, working closely together in various workshops to piece together the solution.

It’s also important to note that it’s OK if not everyone is familiar with a new cloud service that you’re experimenting with. Everyone is going to be in the same boat – particularly if it’s only a few months old, including the cloud service provider specialist and other third party companies you may collaborate with. In fact, in many cases even the architects and engineers in the public cloud companies themselves often struggle to keep up and often need time to catch their breath and get up to speed.

My recommendation is to first reach out to experts who understand your sector and can help you identify which emerging technology in the cloud is really going to help you with your digital strategy, and then adopt a culture of collaboration across your team and various third-party specialists, with everyone learning together and always keeping your business outcomes in mind. 

Get collaboration right, and you’ll start to see real transformative value after your cloud migration – with faster development cycles, improved cost-efficiencies and quality citizen services as your material rewards.

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Written by


Wasif Afghan

Head of Product for Cloud, Capita Technology Solutions

Highly experienced IT product leader. Currently head of product for cloud and platform, also covering strategy and propositions. Subject matter expert in cloud, data centre, digital transformation and IT services markets. Track record of success stretching back more than 20 years at IT systems integrators, telcos and cloud-specialist managed services providers.

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