With cloud adoption still on the rise among enterprises, it’s expected there will be some speed bumps along the way. As with any major change, businesses may encounter cloud-related culture shock.
Start-ups who use the cloud from the outset usually won’t have this problem, but companies that have used traditional data centers for years can meet some resistance to sweeping changes when transitioning into the cloud.
Such resistance can lead to loss of productivity, costly transition problems, and corporate chaos. As such, one should make adequate preparations not just technically but culturally as well.
Let’s take an in-depth look at the ways one can promote a change in business culture for the cloud.
Have the mindset to change the company
Change starts from the top. Once they’ve decided the cloud is the right way to go, it’s critical for executive management to show their advocacy and willingness to make adoption a priority.
After all, management provides the resources for cloud adoption and has the final say on the organization’s direction. By leading the charge, they ensure that others will follow.
If you are committed to adopting the cloud, formulate a compelling vision of where you want to take your company. Inform and include all of the company’s employees about this change. Everyone must be made to anticipate this technological leap.
Do your Research
One of the biggest problems Volvo faced when transitioning into the cloud was explaining to their IT team exactly what they intended to achieve with this new technology. This initial lack of clarity made the transition a struggle, not just for the technicians facilitating the move but for the managers themselves.
Before beginning the migration process, first do due diligence on your organization’s business needs, objectives, and IT infrastructure. Write down these concerns and expectations so you can discuss them with your cloud services provider.
From there, you can build a cloud strategy for which processes you can and should migrate to the cloud. Ask yourself these important questions: What type of cloud service is best suited for you – A public cloud, or a hybrid one? What particular pain points do you need answers for?
Build a team to spearhead migration.
If the executive leadership’s job is to shape and share the vision, it’s the migration team’s job to implement it.
Your team will execute the cloud migration plan and bring your processes over to the cloud. At the same time, they must be ready to explain the changes being made as they happen.
It is critical for the migration team to be highly visible and keep everyone in the loop. Doing so helps allay fears that too much is happening too fast. It also leaves a channel open for employees to give feedback to your team.
Address Employee Concerns
No sweeping change is ever painless.
In a traditional corporate structure where information barriers are common, cloud computing can make some employees feel they are no longer in control of information or processes that they once managed. Technical personnel may also worry about job security.
It won’t do to force them to accept the change – management should initiate dialogue where both sides can be heard. Here are three steps to do just that:
- Listen to their points, without reservations and judgments.
- Acknowledge what they said. It would help to repeat exactly what they said to confirm you got it correctly. This is to demonstrate that you listened to and understood their points.
- Advocate your cause by describing how it can benefit the company as a whole. How well you did Step 2 (Do your Research) will determine how well you can advocate this change as necessary for your company’s development.
For those concerned about losing their jobs, emphasize that cloud automation can free up their time so they may focus on higher-level tasks for the company.
Transitioning to the cloud requires listening to legitimate concerns, and not merely pushing one’s own agenda. Taking into account the valid points of resistant employees is very important if you want to get their support.
Make sure that essential tasks continue uninterrupted.
It is critical to maintain tasks and systems so that business does not get derailed or disrupted. Nothing brings down morale like a dip in business performance caused by downtime.
One way to maintain continuity is to break the migration process into smaller, doable pieces. Cosmetics company Revlon went through this step-by-step approach to help keep their company moving along amidst their cloud transition.
First, they handled “crawl” or low-risk projects. Then they moved on to the “walk” (medium-risk), and finally the “run” projects (high-risk ones), such as migrating ERP systems.
As a result, Revlon remain operational throughout the entire migration process. This gradual approach also had the side effect of making the entire team accustomed to the change.
Maintain your momentum.
In many cases, once migration is initiated it slows down or even comes to a complete stop. Some applications or workloads get migrated but new barriers crop up, typically lasting for months.
A company can stall in cloud migration for any number of reasons: lack of direction, lack of funds, disagreements among groups of employees, and so on. Fortunately, there are ways to handle it, as explained by AWS’s Eric Tachibana in his speech on how to keep cloud transitions on track.
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Call in the Professionals
Finally, training with cloud professionals can help. These technical consultants have gone through cloud transitions before and can share their best practices to help your enterprise along.
Ultimately, moving to the cloud is an enormous task that requires a lot of time and training. Over the long run, however, the benefits outweigh the risks.
If you feel you need assistance, bring in top consultants who know their way through the cloud. Contact our AWS-certified cloud professionals at PolarSeven.