5 Things about cloud architecture and organizational silos

Maximize the Potential Benefits of Cloud Architecture

January 2017


Written by: Marvin Harris

What Is Cloud Architecture? It is a business first technology strategy that allows domain stakeholders to define the key functions & competencies of an application. The 5 Major Key Points for Cloud Architecture

  1. Automation Provides Agility: An agile business process is more successful, and agility can be gained from higher levels of automation. Cloud architecture is designed to be highly automated and self-provisioning, thus giving the real-time end-users the ability to promptly scale their requirements up and down without any manual intrusion or intervention. Businesses that adapt automation, gain the ability to quickly respond to customer demands & deliver continuous solutions to the market on time, which improves overall service and responsiveness.
  2. Agile/Scrum Model: Cloud architecture eliminates the pain points of conventional business approaches(an example is a Waterfall model) & it allows better flexibility by helping teams work on an Agile platform using Scrum, Kanban, and other essential Agile processes.
  3. Portability: If designed properly, cloud architecture also offers the benefit of portable applications. Enterprise applications and relevant data can be moved from conventional computing infrastructure to the cloud without any difficulty, hence providing flexibility in how a business uses and manages applications and data.
  4. Mobility: This process also gives businesses the ability to enable their employees to gain access to applications and data from anywhere at anytime, making the entire system more productive.
  5. Reduced Cost: As this architecture brings more agility and automation into your business, it also reduces the potential of manual intervention, human mistakes & errors etc. Hence, this makes cloud architecture more functional & effective, also reducing unnecessary costs.

Undoubtedly, cloud architecture is the most ideal, appropriate, and perfect business approach for any organization, be it a small, medium, or large. But most organizations fail to follow this trending business model. Rather, they follow a 'Silo Mentality' and confine themselves to smaller individual groups that adversely affect the overall business structure of an organization.

Silo Behaviors of Organizations

Silos can be defined as individual groups of employees which tend to work as an autonomous unit within an organization. They exhibit a reluctance to integrate or collaborate efforts with other employees of different units under the same organization. This unfortunate practice has the propensity to exist throughout any company, industry, or business. It results in an unnecessary fragmentation and division of work responsibilities within an organization. Business units and departments can be fragmented into smaller silos even based on the employees' personal bonds too.

Most company facilitate a wide range of business processes or functions. If you consider a scenario of an IT software company, you will find plenty of individual autonomous groups like the architect team, business requirements analysis team, development team, support team, administrator team, and maintenance team etc. Depending on the business processes that the employees are focusing on, they can be fragmented or divided into various business teams.

Silos are a common occurrence in any business and the major problem of silos is that it never encourages build integrity, collaboration, team-work, or cooperation. The individual teams communicate less among each other and due to the lack of proper communication, the critical business requirements are often misunderstood by other groups. Even the actual requirements are "lost in translation" when they are passed between several functional teams.

Hence, when an IT Resource builds a solution or service, he/she focuses more on system functions, rather than adhering the requirements of a Business Use Cases.

How to Overcome Silos

Obviously, this culture has been a real pain point for running smooth business operations. Hence, it is important to overcome silos. For that to happen, the primary goal should be to encourage proper communication and coordination. It also requires all the cross-functional teams to work in cohesion for one common platform & integrate effectively around domain areas like Development, Marketing, Sales, Finance, & Social Media etc. Doing this easily connects IT & business resources into the same working space allowing a better collaboration. By promoting effective communication and collaboration, it becomes comparatively easy for the IT resource to understand the business use cases directly from the right business team & build the solutions adhering to the actual business requirements and cloud architecture is an efficient means of fostering this type of work style.

It is also important to bring more automation & agility to overcome silos. Agile Methodology allows a practice of small frequent releases. It also allows conducting frequent application demos with Business Stakeholders to encourage user participation. By more user participation, regular meetings, and frequent discussions, it cultivates more innovation and variation. Cloud Architecture has proven to bring more Agile business methods & advanced automation concepts.

After overcoming silos, the unwanted people barriers can be easily removed. Hence it improves interaction between software development and testing teams. Thus, the bug fixes can be verified & validated more quickly and new enhancements can be delivered easier and efficient business systems & practices can be achieved by using cloud architecture.

The Final Takeaway

Cloud Architecture provides loads of important benefits for any organization. Be it small, mid-market, or large enterprises, the benefits cloud architecture can help achieve business targets more easily while improving customer satisfaction, and increasing profits.

Organizational silos are a very common problem across any industry, and adapting to cloud architecture can help overcome silos. This architectural model fosters agility, builds more communication & networks among employees, removes people barriers, facilitates integrity, increases productivity, and enhances margins and profitability.

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