Our customer was using the Microsoft Azure Cloud quite heavily since 2015. As most companies, also our customer didn’t know much about cloud at that time and basically „re-invented“ the datacenter on-prem in Cloud. This came with a price, namely that various PaaS services could not be used (and if they were allowed, there was no connection allowed to the internal resources). The overall setup of the „landing zones“ in Cloud needed to be re-thought and setup in a modern way, allowing all the advantages in Cloud but at the same time ensure that the Cloud is secure and can be governed appropriately. Once the new landing zone was established all applications should be moved/migrated from the old landing zone to the new one.
qedcon provided two resources for this project: One was acting as a Product Owner, Project Manager and Scrum Master. Not ideal, but our customer was low on budget. The second one was acting as a rollout manager who managed the move/migration of the applications to the new landing zone. No doubt, a third individual would have made our live a lot easier, but with our dedication and commitment, we were able to manage also this project successfully. From the start of the project we involved relevant stakeholders, all application architects (globally), integrated IT security into the project (instead of just asking for requirements), collaborated with network architects, reported to senior management via steering committee, and kept basically the entire IT organization up to date with monthly updates plus made everything we did „enterprise open source“ – our repository, our Azure DevOps projects, our Teams channel. We didn’t want to operate in secret but engage all cloud enthusiasts to ensure maximum support and acceptance.
Challenges and dependencies
Various global teams have already tried in the past to setup the „new“ cloud landing zone but always failed due to multiple reasons but they had one thing in common: The lack of communication to senior management, broad stakeholder support and clear explanation of the objectives and features to important application teams and architects. For a global organization, certain things in Cloud must be governed centrally (specifically also because our customer is operating in a regulated environment – finance industry), and this always leads to discussions, incomprehension, and often also rejection of those central functions.
Just like a lot of our projects we successfully managed the project, ensured that the scrum methodology was leveraged and supported team members to more excellence. Once the landing zone was in a state that it allowed the migration of application from the legacy landing zone, our well-proven rollout framework helped to execute the migration and complete it in time. We used Azure DevOps to manage, track and report (via PowerBi) the status of the migration and to ensure there is always accurate and up-to-date information for all stakeholders involved.
Cloud projects are tough – specifically as there are way more stakeholders compared to on-premises infrastructure projects. Almost everyone has an opinion, which requires a sophisticated stakeholder management and at the same time sufficient technical understanding and knowledge to coordinate, convince and eventually succeed. qedcon’s experience in rollout, transformation, project and infrastructure management were key success factors for this challenging project.