8.3 min to readCloud Services

How to create a Cloud Centre of Excellence within your organisation

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Darlene BurkeApplication Services Line Lead Americas
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During your journey of cloud adoption, you will encounter the concept of a Cloud Centre of Excellence (CCoE). You might wonder what it is, if establishing one for your organisation is necessary, and what purpose it serves. Here I will provide valuable insights to help you understand the significance of a CCoE team, how it can enhance your expertise in cloud computing, and its necessity in enabling the agility unlocked by leveraging cloud technology.

What is a Cloud Centre of Excellence?

A Cloud Centre of Excellence (CCoE) is a cross-functional, self-managed-team responsible for leading, evangelising, and governing cloud adoption across an organisation. The CCoE aims to ensure that your cloud strategy aligns with business goals, works proactively to share knowledge, and enables a cloud adoption community. The CCoE guides the company on its cloud adoption journey, ensures every area of the business has the necessary support, and oversees cloud governance and best practices.

Not solely a function of IT, a CCoE includes members from across the entire organisation, including finance, compliance, security, HR, and other business units. Although every CCoE will have a unique structure dependent on the culture and needs of the organisation, all should have cross-functional involvement to ensure the necessary buy-in for cloud adoption in order to drive successful outcomes. The aim is to ensure that everyone, not just development teams, follows the same guidelines, adheres to standardised practices, and focuses on activities supporting priorities and objectives of the business.

Importantly, a CCoE is not a bureaucratic blocker to cloud adoption or an authority required to sign off on every cloud-related action or initiative across the organisation. Nor should a company have more than one CCoE – multiple CCoEs defeat the purpose of building a holistic cross-organisational approach to cloud adoption focused on achieving business outcomes.

What are the responsibilities of a CCoE?

A CCoE is responsible for helping the organisation optimise benefits of the cloud and minimise the risks and challenges. Guided by best practices, it helps drive cloud-enabled transformation by establishing the necessary guardrails and governance to facilitate downstream acceleration and efficiencies. It also provides a way for key stakeholders across the business to communicate and collaborate, share skills and knowledge, and maintain alignment on identified cloud goals as driven by business priorities.

Listed below are some of the CCoE’s key responsibilities in more detail.

Cloud governance

One of the most important responsibilities of a CCoE is to define standard policies, procedures and guidelines for how to support the business through the adoption of cloud technology. This includes security and compliance as they are at the core of the overall governance model. The CCoE team also needs to consider how governance may change in the future – for example, due to new product developments, business divestitures, mergers and acquisitions, regulatory requirements etc.

Effective governance ensures that activities across the organisation follow best practices, minimise risks, and optimise cloud services and costs. Governance is not about control, sign-off authority or ticking boxes – rather, it’s about establishing guidance and guardrails to enable effective cloud adoption. A lack of cloud governance results in inconsistencies in implementation across lines of business and within the technology organisation. This in turn slows down the rate of development, e.g. due to repeating unnecessary tasks, ballooning cloud costs, and putting the organisation at risk of vulnerabilities due to lax security policies.

Cloud strategy

Technology exists to support the lines of business, and in leading the cloud strategy, the CCoE is responsible for developing a cloud adoption roadmap driven by the organisation’s business priorities. Building an effective strategy for cloud migration requires working with stakeholders to understand how best to achieve the company’s business goals leveraging technology with a roadmap that identifies incremental and measurable milestones on the cloud adoption journey. Regular review will ensure the cloud strategy aligns with the changes in business priorities, as well as the changes in the ever-evolving cloud technology landscape.

Cloud architecture

Guided by the goals of scalability, extensibility, reliability, sustainability, and cost efficiency, the CCoE collaborates with the IT team to identify the principles to follow while designing a cloud architecture. Although not responsible for implementation, the CCoE defines the foundational reference architectures needed to achieve those goals.

Cloud operations

Another one of the CCoE’s responsibilities is ensuring cloud deployment meets the operational needs for agility, availability, performance, scalability, and recovery. This includes establishing standards for how cloud components are deployed and monitored, as well as encouraging and facilitating the use of automation. Automation is an essential element in any cloud adoption journey: in addition to freeing up time for valuable resources to spend on value-adding activities, it reduces risk and accelerates time to market.

Importantly, optimising operations for cloud-based business growth involves changing established ways of working. A business built to operate on premises cannot simply adopt the same organisational and operational model as is needed for the cloud. As such, CCoE members must clearly communicate the need for change and act as cloud evangelists to encourage buy-in across the company.

Cloud education

People are the biggest factor in making a cloud transformation journey successful. The CCoE is responsible for ensuring that people and teams across the organisation have the skills required to build and operate effectively in the cloud to support the overarching goals. For this reason, it’s essential to have HR or training and development represented within the CCoE. This inclusion ensures that the business conducts the required learning needs analysis and that resulting recommendations are implemented based on the defined cloud strategy. Educational activities can include training on cloud fundamentals, as well as architecture, governance, and operations.

What kinds of organisations need a CCoE team? When should they start building one?

Any organisation – whatever the size or industry – will benefit from creating a CCoE, whether planning to adopt cloud technology or already operating in the cloud. It’s an enablement mechanism that scales to the needs of any type of business, from a small company with straightforward cloud needs, to a large enterprise with diverse and complex requirements due to running thousands of applications across a variety of services around the globe.

What’s essential is following best practices to optimise the cloud journey for your organisation. The AWS Cloud Adoption Framework (AWS CAF), for example, recommends focusing on these key capability areas: business, people, governance, platform, security, and operations. Other cloud providers also issue similar recommendations.

With a cross-functional team working together to establish guidelines and governance for cloud deployment, your organisation ensures the journey to and continued operation in the cloud is well enabled, aligns with your business goals, and minimises risks and challenges. It’s a complex journey that involves not just technical experience and knowledge, but operational, financial, HR and regulatory expertise as well.

How to set up a Cloud Centre of Excellence

To create and operate an effective CCoE, I recommend following some key steps:

  • Identify key stakeholders

    This includes people from across the organisation who can contribute valuable expertise to the CCoE across all key functions: IT, security, finance, compliance, human resources, and other areas of the business. Also critical is that stakeholders are empowered to make decisions. A CCoE without decision-making abilities can’t act effectively or efficiently to establish and enable a cloud adoption community. Consider including an executive sponsor as a key stakeholder on the CCoE to support decision making and demonstrates the top-down leadership supporting cloud transformation goals – this is vital for success.

  • 2. Establish a CCoE charter

    The charter defines the CCoE’s mission, vision, scope, and goals, as well as the CCoE team’s roles and responsibilities.

  • 3. Develop a cloud strategy

    The strategy is determined by the organisation’s business goals and is developed with input from key stakeholders across the company to define the cloud requirements, assess cloud adoption readiness, and develop a roadmap for cloud adoption. The CCoE will need to be prepared to adapt its cloud strategy as it is a living thing – it needs to iterate and grow as conditions evolve.

  • 4. Establish metrics and KPIs

    To measure the success of the Cloud Centre of Excellence and the cloud adoption process, the company needs to define the appropriate metrics and key performance indicators. Metrics should cover areas including security, compliance, operational efficiency, and cost optimisation.

  • 5. Aim for continuous review and improvement

    The CCoE should work on an ongoing basis to review and improve its policies, procedures, and best practices to keep these effective and up to date. The continuous review should include regular assessments of cloud readiness, as well as ongoing optimisation of cloud environments.

Do you need a CCoE for successful cloud adoption?

Businesses have certainly adopted the cloud without having a CCoE in place, but such a team can significantly increase your chances of a successful journey, as well as an accelerated one.

An effective CCoE can help ensure that you define best practices for cloud adoption, consider input from people across the organisation, keep a focus squarely on your business goals, implement policies consistently company-wide, and have procedures in place for ongoing monitoring and improvement. It also puts you on the best possible footing for managing risks and ensuring the necessary standards and compliance.

What are the benefits of a CCoE?

Your organisation can gain numerous benefits from having a well-managed CCoE, including:

  • A cloud journey that aligns with your business objectives
  • Improved communication and collaboration across the business
  • Consistent practices and policies for security and compliance
  • Ongoing measurement and management for optimised cloud costs
  • Risk reduction and improved operations in the cloud
  • Better innovation and improved competitiveness through optimal cloud adoption
  • A strong foundation for cloud adoption built on company-wide training and education

Our services are tailored to set your cloud initiatives up for success. If you wish to know more about how to build a CCoE team at your organisation to optimise your planned or ongoing cloud operations, reach out to book a consultation today.

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Make the most of your cloud

Visit our cloud managed services page today to learn more about how SoftwareOne can help you achieve your cloud transformation goals. Or get started with your cloud journey now by getting in touch with one of our cloud managed services experts.

Make the most of your cloud

Visit our cloud managed services page today to learn more about how SoftwareOne can help you achieve your cloud transformation goals. Or get started with your cloud journey now by getting in touch with one of our cloud managed services experts.


A woman with long hair and blue eyes is posing for a photo.

Darlene Burke
Application Services Line Lead Americas