The what, why and how of Cloud Operating Models

The cloud is not just a technology trend. It’s a total paradigm shift that impacts each and every aspect of your business. It enables you to access countless resources, to scale on demand, to innovate faster, and to deliver better customer experiences. But to realise these benefits, you need more than just a cloud strategy… you need a Cloud Operating Model.

Wait, what’s a Cloud Operating Model?

A Cloud Operating Model is a set of principles, practices, and processes that guide how you design, build, run, and govern your cloud-based applications and services. It covers everything from security, compliance and reliability, to performance, cost management, and automation. It also defines the roles, responsibilities, and required skills of your teams, and how they collaborate and communicate across the organisation.

Why is a Cloud Operating Model important to my business?

What makes a Cloud Operating Model so impactful is the alignment it enforces between your cloud adoption and your business objectives and outcomes. It helps you avoid common pitfalls such as silos, unnecessary complexity, damaging inefficiencies, and security risks. It also helps you leverage the full potential of the cloud, such as agility, scalability, innovation, and resilience.

Okay, so how do I create a Cloud Operating Model?

Creating a Cloud Operating Model is not a one-time project. It’s a continuous journey that requires a culture of learning and adaptation. As a starting point, you will need to tick off each of the following…

  • Assess your current cloud maturity state and identify gaps and opportunities
  • Define your vision and goals for your cloud adoption and how you will measure success
  • Establish your cloud governance framework and policies to ensure compliance, security, and accountability
  • Design your cloud architecture and infrastructure to support your applications and services
  • Implement your cloud automation and DevOps practices to enable faster delivery and feedback
  • Train and empower your teams with the skills and tools they need to work in the cloud
  • Monitor and optimise your cloud performance, reliability, and costs
  • Review and iterate your cloud operating model based on your feedback and learnings

Where can I find out more?

Microsoft’s Cloud Adoption Framework documentation: This is the official Microsoft guide to help plan, implement, and govern your cloud journey. It covers all the domains and disciplines of the CAF framework, with best practices, tools, and templates.

Microsoft’s article on defining your Cloud Operating Model: The CAF framework breaks down each aspect of the operating model into methodologies and provides guidance on how to design and implement your future state operations.

Microsoft’s Cloud Operating Model assessment: This is an online tool that helps assess current cloud readiness and maturity, and provides recommendations and guidance based on the CAF framework. It also generates a personalised report and action plan to help you achieve your cloud goals.

So I need a Cloud Operating Model to make my cloud adoption a success?

In short, yes. A Cloud Operating Model is a key enabler for successful cloud adoption. By aligning your cloud strategy directly with your business outcomes, you will set yourself and your business up to unlock the transformative, innovative opportunities that the cloud presents.

Written by

Paul Sells
Chief Technology Officer, Cloud Direct


For more content on Cloud Operating Models, visit the sub-section of our Learning Hub. If you’re looking to get started, then get in touch with one of our experts who can help you understand how to get started.