Many organizations moved to the cloud to enable dev teams to be more agile and innovate faster. Freeing them from a centralized IT function, the reasoning goes, lets teams provision what they need, when they need it. But in the absence of centralized IT, organizational silos and lack of best practice sharing can actually create more costs – both hard costs, like wasted cloud spend, and opportunity costs through inefficiencies and redundancies.
At CloudHealth, we’ve long championed the idea of the Cloud Center of Excellence to help drive collaboration and communication across teams, but what if your organization doesn’t have that function? As a member of CloudHealth’s professional services team, I often get pulled in by my customers to help fill that gap.
Here are three ways to leverage a third-party partner to overcome organizational silos:
1) Leverage multi-team purview
Vendor account teams often interact with a wide range of groups and work to understand their challenges. They act as a trusted advisor to many teams and may have contacts and understand different facets of your organization that you don't. In one instance, I was working with a wireless telecommunications provider who had multiple infrastructure teams. While one team was working to decommission data center assets and relocate to a new facility, another team who was in the same data center was working to purchase additional hardware. By connecting the two teams, they were able to repurpose the existing infrastructure, saving around $300K in capex and accelerate their expansion plans.
2) Take advantage of neutrality
Let’s face it, sometimes company politics get in the way. Competing agendas or just human nature lead people to think their way is the best way. Leveraging a third-party to look at things "from the outside" can provide a valuable perspective.
3) Use relationships to broker introductions
Once, I introduced two teams to each other who, even though they sat literally across the aisle from each other, didn't know the other one existed and were working along similar lines. While it may not be intuitive or comfortable to admit that you need help talking to other people in your company, using an outside partner that is familiar with your challenges and that has existing relationships across your org can create valuable new connection points for best practice sharing.
So to get started, the next time you have a catch-up meeting with a vendor account team, ask if they would like to have a cup of [virtual?] coffee and spend 10 minutes talking about who else they work with at your company.
- What other teams in our company do you spend time with?
- What topics do you discuss? Do they have questions/problems similar to me?
- Do you think there are ways that I could work better with those teams, or learn from them?
- The next time you have a talk about <topic X> with another team, could you invite my team along too? We have the same questions.
Asking these questions will help improve collaboration and communication across your teams and ensure your organization is maximizing value.