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All for one, and one for all

How collaboration is making MODCloud a reality

By Chris Cooke, Head of Defence

When an organisation takes on a project, it is inevitably looking to implement change. This change means doing something differently to how it’s been done before, with the expectation that specific, defined benefits can be achieved.

Doing things differently isn’t easy. If it were, organisations would seamlessly switch from an old method to the new one. Some organisations adopt an ill-advised “may as well do this ourselves” approach. I would suggest those of you who have experienced such internally-led change wouldn’t describe the process as smooth. At best, it’s usually problematic. At worst, unworkably chaotic. Sportspeople among you will know that you wouldn’t change formation or tactics without substantial practice in the lead up to the main event. The same should apply to business. However, business doesn’t have the luxury of a dedicated rehearsal venue where mistakes don’t count and routines can be worked and reworked until they’re ready to be translated to a live environment.

When the Ministry of Defence made the decision to host their growing number of apps and increasing amount of data on their own managed-cloud platforms, they knew what they wanted and how to get there. They had the vision, people with the right skills, strong leadership, and the enthusiasm and determination. They also recognised the need for support to deliver this vision, bringing in people with the right experience to support them. That would be us; the ‘home team’ of specialist partners.

  • i3Works has long supported organisations in developing, changing and implementing processes and procedures. From initial scoping and embedding Agile practice, through stakeholder engagement, to knowledge sharing to allow seamless handovers and long-term succession planning, we work alongside services to develop their all-round project management capabilities.
  • CACI has over 15 years’ experience supporting government organisations deliver digital transformations. Providing specialists in software development, cloud computing and DevSecOps to deliver highly capable, scalable, and secure step changes in technology.  CACI provide technical support to the MODCloud team delivering security, architecture and DevSecOps skills, experience, and knowledge transfer. 
  • Netcompany has significant experience of providing technical support to government organisations, supporting their move to and adoption of cloud technologies.  They provide data and app migration support to the MODCloud team, and have put support in place to ensure a smooth journey for current and future customers.

All of us embedded into the MOD teams, providing additional expertise, support and capacity. Joining us were experts from major cloud providers, Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services.

As consultants, we know the duration of our tenure is finite. Consultants are brought in to provide skills that the organisation may not have at the time, or may only be needed short term. So, our role is to make sure everything is in place, all is in order, it all works, then handover.

We do this by:

Upskilling and embedding knowledge transfer, ensuring that our MOD colleagues learn as much from us as we do from them. We are not hermitic monks practicing a secretive martial art known to only a handful of people. If the people around us are unable to manage without us, we’re not doing our jobs properly.

Working as one team. We are working for MOD by embedding ourselves within their structures. To all intents and purposes, we are MOD. Their goal is our goal. Our operating models are aligned, and there’s a no-blame culture. We share our successes and frustrations as one team. We share challenges, just as we share solutions. Working so closely also helps identify opportunities for efficiency and innovation, providing added value through trusted partners acting as ‘critical friends’ for each other’s work.

Collaboration not dictation. We know we are good at what we do, but we’d rather pitch in and show people how to do things than simply tell them how they should be doing it, then throwing a tantrum if they do it wrong. Sharing of resources, knowledge and capacity are vital to the ongoing success of projects of this nature.

Always learning.Where circumstances change, better ways of working are uncovered, and best practice evolves, we need to be ready to act on it. We monitor cloud digital transformations across government and commercial organisations to identify, and where relevant, adopt new technologies and ways of working to continually evolve and improve the MODCloud service.

Knowing it’s about the client, not us. This means that the technical architecture and delivery approaches is always aligned with defence needs. We advise and challenge, but where this means adapting what we know, even finding new ways, we do it because that’s what our client needs.

This approach allows us all to work together, as one team (client and consultants), to deliver the best product possible. It means that MOD remain masters of their own destiny and able to respond in an agile manner to evolving defence needs.

The end result? MODCloud – a cloud solution built by defence, for defence. With a little help from some friends.

Find out more about the services we can bring to your organisation here.