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Cover image for What's a Cloud Centre of Excellence? (and why you might need one).
Lee Wynne
Lee Wynne

Posted on • Originally published at

What's a Cloud Centre of Excellence? (and why you might need one).

Part 1, Leading Globally.


This is the first post in a series revealing the continuous emergence within organisations who, before they do anything overly strategic within the Cloud, are investing in designing, establishing and building a Cloud Centre of Excellence.

Like it or not, public Cloud forces you to think globally across every division of your business. It changes everything. Cloud also forces you to reevaluate your brokerships and partnerships which in turn enables you to reevaluate how well they align with your vision, your position in your marketplace and what your customers want from you. With that spirit, energy, focus, ambition and momentum, your CCOE thinking should always start globally before working backwards into regions, then domestic and finally into localisation. 

If you are like me (working in the channel with a global multi-cloud solutions & services provider) then you will be hearing the phrase “we will need to run that through our CCOE'' or “our CCOE will be running an evaluation on it and we will come back to you” more and more often over time regardless of whom you are engaged with. You could be engaging with procurement, legal, IT, digital, marketing, the CTO, CIO or CEO and over time this CCOE narrative will become more aligned and more consistent. 

Expect that in time, all discussions, Cloud or not, will need to run through the CCOE, an entity that will be modern, agile, adaptive, fast-moving and decisive. The CCOE will have the entirety of the business to consider, on a global scale, as it drags the rest of the business forwards by seeding the enablers needed to rapidly reduce technical debt, flip applications and services into value streams to deliver change and feature integration at a cadence never achieved before to enable the business and everyone in it to win, consistently.

The momentum behind this mindset and the tools emerging to support it is breathtaking.

Don't get left behind.

Technical or not, you wouldn’t believe how easy it is to deploy globally into AWS, Azure or GCP these days. It’s like child's play. If you are in the browser UI, you just select the geographical region you want from a simple drop-down box, and there you have it, you have switched from a data centre in London over to Tokyo within a second.

You can commission and start building out a global data centre within an hour. And it’s becoming even easier.

Hello Copilot 👩✈️


If you missed it, on 29 June 2021, Github released Github copilot.

As the name suggests, Github Copilot is your AI buddy when you're writing code. It uses an open AI engine and has been secretly learning from developers that host their public repositories on Github for years. Version 1 is pretty good actually, but after a few more years of exponential learning from developers and itself, can you imagine what version 100 is going to be capable of?

You don't need to know what is going on here, just know that Github Copilot AI is auto-populating the majority of the code based on what the developer is doing.

github copilot

Building in the Cloud is just going to get easier and easier as copilot AI-based helpers take more and more complicated human build tasks out of the equation. As the leader of a global complex organisation, this should both delight and terrify you.

Copilots aren't new in the AWS space. Copilot for containers on AWS is a great example. Look! My cat could do it!

aws co pilot

And you think Cloud governance and cost control is hard now? Wait until there is a version 100 copilot for pretty much every Cloud service!

Getting back to our Cloud Centre of Excellence

Back to the topic of this post. If you haven’t already started planning for it, I’d consider gathering some of your brightest people together and start building a community and establish leadership around a CCOE, even if you aren’t consuming Cloud yet, but you probably are consuming Cloud right? Just tactically through regional localised consumption, c'mon it's probably all over the place isn't it? You're overspending, aren't you? You have no idea what's out there and you are secretly worried that your global multi-cloud adoption is going to be more complex and costly than your trad datacenter.

Just to be clear, build a CCOE community and leadership team not to restrict access to Cloud, but to empower and enable your business to WIN and to continue winning. If you want to compete well into the future, you are going to need to convert your apps and services into continuous pipeline based value streams. You can't do this unless you lead globally, through a CCOE.

Value Streams

git value streams

What’s a value stream?

A value stream occurs when you convert your legacy applications into deployment pipelines with the goal to reduce technical debt, eliminate rework and unplanned work whilst also creating and enabling fast, automated test-driven updates and feature integration. Basically, you want to get the most valuable features and real-time data out to your user community as quickly as possible with minimal risk.

You’ll be hearing the term CCOE more and more in the future as your customers really begin to take control of their accountability and share the responsibility to help make their businesses consistently win by accepting that technology is the heartbeat and value streams are the bloodstreams oxygenating consistent progress and results.

Building a world-class CCOE is the genesis of building value streams across all of your apps and services.

CCOE, what's on the agenda for accountability?

Here is a snapshot of what I think should be on the agenda for a global Cloud Centre of Excellence:

  • Leveraging a global Cloud presence to build consistent globalisation of IT services and infrastructure.
  • The creation of global Cloud brokerage services and contracts/terms of usage with all departments, partners and subsidiaries.

Tracking and planning COTS, MOTS, GOTS & NOTS conversion to global value streams by:

  • Significantly increasing new feature integration through well-defined test driven pipelines, converting them to value streams.
  • Consistently reducing the risk of new feature integration.
  • Enabling many changes and feature integrations to COTS, MOTS, GOTS and NOTS per day, globally.
  • Get real-time data out as quickly as possible.

Increasing global operational enhancements and measurable value through:

  • Reversing change control fear and blame culture.
  • Reducing unplanned work.
  • Reducing rework.
  • Tracking and reducing technical debt.
  • Globally accelerating and centralising change management.
  • Increasing traceability and accountability on changes.
  • Delivering global compliance without killing innovation.

What else?

  • Making fast-paced operational excellence everyone's responsibility, everyone wins.
  • Creating a culture and integrating platforms that permits the best ideas to bubble up to the top, eliminating workplace status as a barrier towards successful ideation.
  • Taking responsibility for global talent acquisition, shared opportunity creation and increased overall talent retention.
  • Tracking global market rates for talent and pay them what they are worth.
  • Accelerate localised capabilities and skills, succeed and win everywhere.
  • Identify and prepare for service value stream modernisation (everything should convert to a value stream but more on this in a future post).
  • Obtain more confidence through successful scaling.
  • Convert your organisation to a tech company.
  • Consistent and global operational execution.
  • Global observability and reporting.
  • Commission a global deployment network.
  • Build a thriving global CCOE community driving knowledge sharing, collaboration, best practice, policy, risk awareness, vulnerabilities, innovation, ideation, well-architected principles.
  • Driving efficiency through reusable methodologies.
  • Bring in trad infrastructure into the CCOE through hybrid automation and value stream flipping.
  • The creation and management of a global, extensible and yet localised multi-cloud landing zone blueprint.

Phew, that's a lot of accountability.


So who should be in your CCOE?

Good question, by now you should have a good handle of the skills, personality, presence, attitude and capability based on the list above. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to only have people in there from IT or that only have an IT background.

VP of Operations:

  • Heavily involved in converting apps and services to pipelines and value streams as well as evolving and transforming change management. In some organisations, this could be the VP of DevOps.

VP of WorkSpace

  • Maybe be involved in classic IT deployments and integration, would learn a huge amount from CICD pipelines and value streams.

VP of Digital

  • Probably currently owning pipelines and value streams but might be detached from the rest of operations and enterprise IT in terms of workflow and collaboration.

VP of Marketing

  • Needs visibility of digital and operational transformation

VP of Change Management

  • Leading the charge on continuous integration / continuous deployment and recruiting believers throughout the organisation, nobody gets left behind.

VP of Product

  • Regardless of what your business makes or sells, whoever is in charge of it needs to help drive innovation in operations, it under pins everything.

Head of Talent Acquisition

  • You can’t build an AAA class CCOE without talent, there is no denying talent, it always bubbles to the surface.

Regional Directors

  • Global inclusion at the most senior level.

Head of Procurement

  • Global planning for Cloud and CCOE procurement across all regions.

CEO (needs to be fully bought in on the dependency the whole business has on technology)


  • The driving force, and where the buck stops.


Some of these roles you may be thinking have no business with Cloud, technology or your planning for a CCOE, if that’s how you're thinking, then you need to change your thinking up a bit. If you are a global organisation with lots of technical debt and you truly want to succeed and help your business win, then at the minimum these are the people you need.

Everyone needs to be involved and to accept that technology is at the heart of their business, and that heart needs to oxygenate and spawn game-changing value streams.

If you are in a leadership position today and you don't input or have no comprehension of how Cloud and technology-enabled value streams help you beat your competitors, add more value to your customers, and ultimately enable you to win, then it's curtains for you, my friend.


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