The Cloud Centre of Excellence (CCOE) is a new function which is gaining traction and interest – due in part to the increase in the adoption of cloud and digital services.

This is an important development but, all hype aside, if you are looking to create a CCOE there is a very important first step to take. It’s a straightforward step but might not be so simple in the execution.

The first thing to do is to find out and understand what a CCOE actually is, and what it is not. Well, isn’t it always good to know what it is you are about to build before you begin building? But where can you find this information? Who has successfully implemented a CCOE? What schematic, design, and plan can be used?

In starting out with a CCOE, first have a look at the reference material available from the public cloud majors: Microsoft, Amazon and Google. Also have a look at the information Gartner provides. After that continue searching, but the results start to yield very similar content.

For a brief summary of what a CCOE is according to Microsoft, AWS and Gartner, read on.

According to Microsoft…

Business and technical agility are core objectives of most IT organisations. A Cloud Centre of Excellence (CCoE) is a function that creates a balance between speed and stability.

A CCoE model requires collaboration between each of the following:

  • Cloud adoption (specifically solution architects)
  • Cloud strategy (specifically the program and project managers)
  • Cloud governance
  • Cloud platform
  • Cloud automation.

According to Amazon Web Services…

A CCoE is comprised of two functional groups: the Cloud Business Office (CBO) and Cloud Engineering. The functions of each group will help you determine who to include in each group and in the larger CCoE.

The CBO owns making sure that the cloud services meet the needs of your internal customer, business services.

The Cloud Engineering group focuses on performance, availability, and security. The Cloud Engineering group owns functions such as infrastructure automation, operational tools and processes, security tooling and controls, and migration landing zones.

According to Gartner…

A Cloud Centre of Excellence is the best-practice approach to drive cloud-enabled transformation.

A CCOE is a centralized governance function for the organisation and acts in a consultative role for central IT, business-unit IT and cloud service consumers in the business. A CCOE is key to driving cloud-enabled IT transformation.

The CCOE doesn’t have day-to-day operational responsibilities, nor is it a project management organisation.

So, there we have three definitions of what a CCOE is. These definitions differ somewhat in how they see a CCOE. However, all three definitions agree on one thing. And it is a critical thing:

The CCOE is the centre of governance for all things cloud and digital.

Therefore, the CCOE is the body which makes and develops the rules, guidelines and codes of practice for the organisation regarding cloud and digital assets and investments.

Some of the biggest challenges faced when starting out with a CCOE initiative include:

  • A lack of understanding of what a CCOE actually is
  • A lack of impartial, clear and concise information on establishing a CCOE
  • This is new territory, with a high learning curve required
  • People don’t know what they don’t know.

Considerations to think about regarding your CCOE:

  • How developed does your cloud/digital governance seem now?
  • Do you really have an appropriate level of cloud/digital governance in place?
  • Do you have a team of governors to develop appropriate governance for your organisation?
  • Are you running a Cloud Centre of Excellence (CCOE) or a Cloud Centre of Operations (CCOO). More on this is covered in our CCOE workshop (see below).

If you don’t have a CCOE, ask yourself, do you actually have the necessary governance in place to support the organisation’s investments in cloud and digital services, with which they need to deliver on business expectations?

Stop and ask yourself that question again to be sure of your answer.

To find out more about making that first step towards a CCOE, check out the itSMF UK masterclass on 16th June, 2022, facilitated by the author, Mark O’Loughlin.

Further articles on the topic are available here.

Mark O’Loughlin
Managing Director at Cloud Credential Council

Mark is the Managing Director of the Cloud Credential Council (CCC). The CCC is a global community driven organization that empowers companies in their digital transformation journey by offering vendor-neutral certification for IT Professionals including Cloud, Big Data, and IoT.


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