VMware Explore3 min read

The Journey to Cloud Smart: Learning from Lloyds Banking Group

Photo for Sumit DhawanSumit Dhawan

VMware Explore attracts a wide range of tech innovators and practitioners, who come together to share what they’ve learned as they navigate through their own cloud journey. It’s what makes our community so unique.

Our research shows that the vast majority of our customers have embraced two or more public clouds to run their business operations, and most (70%) are struggling to manage the inherent complexity of this “cloud chaos” phase.[1] All are working hard to get to the desired end state: “cloud smart.” In simple terms, cloud smart means taking an architected and planned approach to multi-cloud and digital transformation.  It leads to selecting the right cloud for the app—based on the app’s requirements.

But the many benefits of multi-cloud also come with added complexity and challenges. Across a wide variety of regions and sectors, a few key trends stand out from my conversations on the top-of-mind concerns of customers—cost savings, improved cybersecurity and energy conservation.

At VMware Explore Europe in Barcelona, I had an especially insightful conversation with Sarah Lucas, Head of Core Platform and Migration Services at Lloyds Banking Group, a leading financial services company and the largest retail bank in the United Kingdom. Given the organization’s extensive footprint touching nearly every community and household in the UK—with more than 26 million customers and 58,000 employees—the organization had an urgent need to navigate a rapidly evolving technology landscape.

Sarah’s leadership ethos can be described as “outcomes obsessed,” with an emphasis on progress over perfection and collaborating across teams to help boost their cloud IQ. As Sarah put it to me: “The journey to the cloud often starts as a bit of an experiment. Teams start small, they learn, they see some success. Then they want to do more, and this is where chaos can begin. Teams naturally want to do more with the cloud, but they are used to working in their own ways in their own teams. Left unchecked, it won’t be too long before everything is bespoke. That’s when you may need an enterprise-level approach.”

She shared a few key take-aways and learnings:

Success depends on breaking silos and bringing unified cloud teams. Silos can easily form at large organizations. Leaders must be mindful of this tendency and prioritize building bridges and strong links between teams, focusing on synergies and opportunities to collaborate rather than compete. “Our job as leaders is to bring like-minded people together and solve the problem,” Sarah described. One of the first steps was unifying the public and private cloud teams at Lloyds, bringing together best practices from both teams with the aim of making the path to the cloud clearer for stakeholders. Prior to this, the two teams were located in different parts of the business—meaning each had its own engagement and governance processes, which resulted in confusion and wasted time. By aligning these teams into a single directorate on one cloud-based platform, collaborative processes became much clearer for both teams and one team was empowered to handle all stakeholders on issues related to cost, agility and security.

Culture, mindset, and skills are critical. Beyond technology prowess, all three of these factors remain key determinants of multi-cloud success. Sarah shared how her leadership philosophy prioritizes an “anything is possible” mindset: “Be curious, ask questions, and, most importantly, share information with your peers.” Our research shows that 95% of cloud-smart organizations say culture and mindset enable them to manage multi-cloud more effectively.[1]

We created VMware Explore as the center of the multi-cloud universe to help our ecosystem boost their cloud IQ by bringing together technology, learning, solutions and strategy that address customer’s critical concerns today and tomorrow. Learn more about our latest innovations announced at VMware Explore. 

[1] Source: Multi-Cloud Maturity Research Report, Vanson Bourne, October 2022.