Southwark Council – shifting beyond a legacy mindset

Why fresh thinking, values and culture is just as important as server, router and connectivity upgrades

Sponsored Post One of the major challenges for any digital transformation strategy is achieving the right balance between what gets migrated to the cloud and what gets retained on premise. The ideal result is a harmonious hybrid of the two models.

Where results are suboptimal, as has all too often proven to be the outcome, the blame is often laid at the door of legacy technology and infrastructure, designed before the cloud era and a poor fit with its needs. But in truth, the issue of legacy is not simply about outmoded servers, routers and connectivity standards. Beyond the tangible, it can also be a matter of outdated thinking, values and cultures.

Public sector organisations appear especially vulnerable to this clash between transformational ambitions and mismatched mindsets. It's an issue familiar to Dionne Lowndes, Chief Digital & Technology Officer with Southwark Council.

In a recent video she describes how the human resourcing challenge of recruiting and retaining key technology skills can be an aggravating factor, leading to organisations getting locked in to particular approaches. The cultural gulf between those early in their IT careers and their more experienced colleagues is feeding a transformational skills gap, particularly when it comes to cloud implementation:

"We tend to hire people at the start of their career, which is great, and we've got a really good graduate programme for that," says Lowndes. "However, the challenge for us is getting people with the right transformation experience, especially in cloud."

She said many experts who are well advanced in their career are wedded to familiar methods and systems. Naturally these are often legacy systems which could use at least some updating, or perhaps full retirement, something liable to incite reluctance and tension.

"The problem is not just about the legacy system, it's the legacy relationship and connection with that system," she notes.

High staff turnover doesn't help. The pace of digitisation and transformation can become disjointed as personnel come and go. Every newcomer wants to 'make their mark' when they join a new organisation, bringing in new ideas, new directions, favoured solutions and trusted approaches that can interrupt strategies such as cloud adoption.

Clearly when it comes to making a success of a hybrid cloud strategy, with its complex mix of moving parts, a properly considered and planned long term approach is essential. Organisations can't let a revolving door of personnel dictate choices and directions. Plus issues go much deeper that the choice of enabling technology. People and processes must be factored in. There must also be a tight alignment between what gets shifted to the cloud and what is retained on premise. It's the kind of transformational and cultural shift that demands a single operating model to span whole technology stack.

That's what makes HPE GreenLake such a good partner for public sector organisations looking to orchestrate all the elements of a hybrid cloud transformation. See this link for further detail.

Sponsored by HPE.

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