Full of sound and fury without an enterprise architecture transitions signify nothing…

I talk to a lot of very serious cloud people every single day. They talk about the many solutions and offerings within cloud solution providers. We can do this; we can do this! It reminds me so much of when I started out as a consultant. Back in the day, I was competing against Lotus Notes (before it became Domino). I was coming from an upstart and selling against the biggest IT company in the world (they aren’t anymore, but they are still huge). 

People talked about performance and capabilities. They talked about the reality of offline access to information. The guru’s got deep into the inner workings of both systems. That made it easy to simply change the conversation.

Fast forward 18 years, and it is time to change the cloud conversation just like the email conversation of all those years ago. The days of specialization are going to end. Companies and government agencies are going to realize that they need translators. People that can take the capabilities of a solution and push that into business conversations. 

I see ads all the time for AWS experts and Azure experts. Just like way back when. Then it was Lotus Notes experts. That eventually became Lotus Domino experts. Or MS:Mail experts or CC:mail experts or Microsoft Exchange experts. All of them becoming online email professionals. But the other side of the conversation is what changed the directions, not the technical.

When I see a company preparing for a change and asking for deep dive engineers for the transition I know they are going to struggle. Why? I’ve done that many times. It is not about depth within any one cloud provider. It is about understanding the what, and more critically the why of transitions. 

Why are you moving? From a technical perspective, you would say we are trying to modernize the technology stack and reduce our cost of ownership. Those are the easy answers. But the reality is, you won’t save money unless you take a hard look not only at what you have now but how you are doing it. Again, going back to the Lotus Notes days, I used to talk to customers all the time about the reality of what they were doing.

Certainly to complete your migration you need experts. People that know where all the nuts, bolts and screws are in a solution. Those people are critical. But before that, you need someone that understands the why of transition. I watch top heavy migration after top heavy migration struggle. I see huge cloud transition frameworks that don’t help. I see the customer’s asking for solutions that are obviously planted by a vendor (we can do this, you want this in your organization right?). None of these mapping back to an overall view of the enterprise. 

I have a good friend that spends a lot of time building and sharing the what and how of enterprise architecture. He helps customers prepare for migrations by mapping what they have, what they need and what they are missing today. 

That isn’t depth knowledge of a cloud provider. That isn’t depth knowledge of the inner workings of the business or organization you are in. That is an understanding of how to find what people use to get their jobs done. After that everything else is, well just tech talk. Full of sound and fury, it doesn’t mean anything to a business user.