Cloud enterprises are vast operations that incorporate moving parts from every business function. It’s easy to lose track of what’s on your cloud, where they fit in your broader architecture, and how they contribute to achieving outcomes.

By mapping infrastructure to business functions, Cloud Centers of Excellence (CCoEs) provide the ability to spot and counter cloud sprawl, siloed vendor procurement, and gaps in app cohesion before they cause process inefficiencies, technical debt, and spiraling costs.

When employed effectively, CCoEs are also vital, active enablers of business functions. By leveraging cloud IT to spearhead strategic initiatives, CCoEs enhance business unit process speed, operational agility, scalability, and cohesion.

While CCoEs differ from organization to organization, they all have 3 specific attributes that facilitate rapid, effective, efficient, and cohesive adaptation to evolving business needs.


Spearhead strategic initiatives with cloud-centric planning

At the strategic level, CCoEs map cloud infrastructure to business goals, determine the Cloud Operating Model (COM) architecture, establish KPIs for evaluation, and secure resources and capital expenditures. Identifying connections between business units and cloud infrastructure enables CCoEs to craft a COM that integrates every organizational department, ensuring no resources are wasted.

After establishing the COM and roadmap, CCoEs should begin staffing for leadership, technical competencies, and other cloud roles immediately. “Speed to market” is the main objective – whether pushing solutions to consumers or optimizing internal processes to accelerate delivery. Factoring for scalability is also vital when configuring the COM for long-term growth.

CCoEs should seize the strategic initiative from the get-go and enhance business unit performance by augmenting their efforts with cloud capabilities. Leaving cloud operations to individual business units could lead to misalignments and inefficiencies.


Provide competencies and leadership of cloud operations

Having acquired resources for enablement, the CCoE becomes a knowledge center of cloud competencies to lead and assist business units. Cloud mastery should be leveraged for the benefit of the overall organization, actively guiding teams and processes toward outcomes. Specific responsibilities include:

Providing core cloud competencies and advisory (e.g. tech, tools, training) to business units

Ensuring cloud best-of-breed consistency is implemented organization-wide

Growing supporting collateral to organize and align cloud users

Owning cloud-related decisions across all operational areas:




Decision methodologies


Best practices


Standard operating procedures


Asset templates

Cross-functional representation is critical for a CCoE to conduct both performance enablement and enterprise management effectively. It should comprise representatives from every stakeholder department and general business unit, such as (but not limited to):

Senior Leadership

IT Accounting/FinOps





By actively supporting stakeholder departments with cloud competencies, CCoEs can build a proactive and cohesive cross-organizational cloud culture and ensure IT plays a role in every initiative. As business environments change, the CCoE also ensures team structures, roles, skills, and scope evolve to meet new needs.


Maintain operational cohesion and develop cloud enterprise maturity

With the cloud enterprise established and COM implemented, CCoEs transition to support roles like enterprise governance, maturity, and optimization. Specific responsibilities focus on refining enterprise capabilities and guiding them along the cloud maturity curve:

Facilitate unified and structured cloud technology adoption

Monitor, maintain, and optimize cloud infrastructure

Oversee business transformation and cloud adoption change management

Implement sustainable cloud best practices, like “Doers” benches of cloud practitioners to facilitate expertise sharing

Conduct third-party vendor procurement and management of:


Cloud Service Providers (CSPs)


Managed Service Providers (MSPs)


Other cloud solutions and tools

Knowledge center functions continue to assist stakeholders with maintaining their connections with the broader enterprise. Education on infrastructure and cloud culture reinforcement is crucial to reduce CCoE workloads and improve operational sustainability.


Besides broad operational responsibilities, cloud culture is the key element to ensuring CCoE success. The CCoE team must adopt a flexible, adaptive attitude to business unit functions, states, and needs. Every unit requires different forms of support, and no two centers of excellence will look or operate alike.

Above all, remember CCoEs exist to enhance existing business functions. Treat the cloud enterprise as the product and internal application teams as customers. Driving enablement over command and control will bring IT to the forefront of every initiative and get the most out of both your cloud enterprise and regular business units.

This is the third blog in our 4-part series on cloud cost optimization. Click on the links to read Part 1 on cloud-friendly application development and Part 2 on prioritizing apps for cloud migration. Stay tuned for Part 4 on CCoE best practices, published next week!


Questions about your CCoE’s performance or next year’s plan? Our Cloud experts can help.



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