Change can be hard. Successfully changing to a cloud- or hybrid IT model can seem to border on impossible.
Studies continuously show the high failure rate of IT rollouts and the cloud is no exception. It may, in fact, be an instance that proves the rule with certainty.
Process transformation and change management are crucial to successful cloud adoption, according to Stephanie Mears, Product Team lead for Cloud Services at Comparex. But it’s easier said than done for many organizations.
She cited Gartner studies that suggest rollout failures hover around 70 per cent. “That’s a pretty enormous number when you consider that the ultimate customer is the end-user. They are going to be ones that detect whether or not the rollout is successful.”
Mears shared a few of the best practices Comparex puts into use at each of the five critical stages of cloud adoption to ensure a successful process transformation. These are the steps leveraged, she says, Comparex cloud architects and project managers take for customers of its UCM (Unified Cloud Management) service.
Stage 1: Discovery
At this stage, it is important to communicate with all the key stakeholders and lines of business to find out what their ultimate dream environment looks like. Is it for users to have a single sign on? To be able to work from anywhere?
Reviews scenarios and common goals that the organization is facing today, and identify a vision statement around the cloud initiative.
Identify the business challenges and the tools that overcome them. Beyond that, what tools exist to optimize the cloud deployment? “Optimization is a huge part of what we do here,” Mears said.
For customers of UCM this stage takes approximately three weeks.
Stage 2: Planning
Build on the clear vision developed in the previous stage. At this stage recommendations are made around the prioritizing of solution deployment—i.e. what applications are moved to the cloud and when. Develop a cloud roadmap that incorporates a phased rollout approach and leverages the learnings from an in-depth analysis of the discovery-stage information. The plan should obviously remediate any of the business challenges previously identified.
“Many customers don’t yet all the potential that exists,” Mears noted. “So here there is an opportunity to take what we’ve learned from all lines of business to develop the best plan moving forward.”
For UCM customers this typically takes about two weeks.
Stage 3: Engage
This is the continuous process of creating employee awareness for the solution. Adopt a plan that targets different lines of business so that everyone knows what is happening in the organization (and the value it brings them.) Designate champions from which line of business that are excited about the solution and will help to evangelize it within their group.
“It’s one thing to do training,” said Mears. “But for someone on the inside who’s actually working to share their success stories. That goes a long way.”
Stage 4: Measurement
You cannot know how you’re doing without proper measurement in place. Use analytics to determine rates of adoption and usage. (More on this was discussed in a previous blog on UCM.)
Bring together line of businesses again to analyze each of their user adoption, respectively. Consider: how can we ramp up solution adoption? How can we better empower users to use more?
“While we do end-user training—as part of stage 3—we also learn a lot about user satisfaction around the solution. This gives us insights into issues we need to come back to and additional solutions we need to roadmap.”
Which ultimately leads back to…
Stage 5: Roadmapping
As you continue to evolve, so does your use of the cloud. It is a continuous cycle of engagement, measurement and refining through roadmapping. Treat the original roadmap as a “living document” that changes and adapts with the organization’s needs.
In addition, the numerous updates across the software platform need to be incorporated into the roadmap. “Microsoft releases new products at least once a quarter, and a lot of the time it is a product that is being turned on by Microsoft without informing the administrator,” Mears pointed out.
These stages aren’t once-and-done efforts. Their advantage comes from continual review and realignment with the organization’s goals—which evolve alongside the market, and its cloud adoption and IT transformation—and based on learnings from each stage, according to Mears.
“So, you have to be constantly engaging, measuring and roadmapping to keep adoption going and to provide value.”