Being a cloud-first company is no longer enough.
Companies are failing to outpace competitors because they are late to the party and are not equipped to deal with structural issues within their organization. Perceived as the easiest change to fix, the skills gap has taken center stage among company leadership. Yet businesses are still failing to drive efficiency and scale as a result. To be successful, there needs to be an organizational and cultural shift within companies that encompasses both change management and skills management.
This is not easy and will take a lot of work, cause headaches, and foster uncomfortable decisions, but it is necessary to deliver a truly transformative experience to customers.
There are three changes that all companies should make before they begin their cloud transformations: shifting to a people-first strategy, restructuring and breaking down silos, and maintaining transparency with employees on company direction.
Shifting to a People-First Strategy
Many customers who have adopted either a public cloud or a hybrid model to accelerate their agility and increase their flexibility have encountered challenges with their enterprise transformation efforts. The people equation within cloud transformations is not well understood and often overlooked. The less-than-stellar results have caused either significant delays in their programs or have brought them to a standstill. The biggest challenge for many of these customers is finding the right mix of talent while equipping their teams with the necessary skills to build and continuously manage these complex environments.
When companies talk about the people side of their organization, they tend to focus on cloud platform and third-party tools training because these appear to be simple fixes. This is a mistake because it’s not where the real value lies. The true value is two-fold.
First is the need to build a comprehensive, continuous learning solution, which integrates the cloud platform and third-party tooling knowledge with the “hands-on” experience from a known entity. The solution should be comprised of learning paths, which identify the new personas (job roles and responsibilities) in the transformed environment.
Secondly, those impacted by the transformation, not only IT, but the functional areas and business units as well, also need to go through a change management program because their roles will also be impacted to some degree. Some functional groups like finance, governance, and risk and compliance will experience more significant changes than the other groups. Lack of acknowledgement, and a solid plan to address the challenges, ultimately holds companies back. They do not know how to develop the necessary talent or drive efficiencies and scale in the business to compete with their competitors.
Companies need to shift from a cloud-first strategy to people-first to initiate a successful cloud transformation.
Restructuring and Breaking Down Silos
Upskilling the appropriate workforce is extremely important – but it is just the beginning of the work that needs to get done. Focusing on skill development of people is just the tip of the iceberg, and it won’t drive the most effective long-term change by itself.
There needs to be a focus on a cultural and organizational change within the company as well. Silos are the enemy of agility, and companies need to restructure and drive employees to be multi-disciplined. Not only will this improve motivation and work ethic among employees, it will also cause a shift to a nimbler culture overall.
Many customers are trying to develop and embrace a DevSecOps (Developer Security Operations) culture where those responsible for building applications, as well as providing day-to-day operational support and the necessary security to keep the environment secure are all working in harmony. Once these teams have broken down their silos and are working together, it’s important that they then develop a more collaborative working relationship with the business units and functional areas.
Maintaining Transparency With Employees on Company Direction
The mindset of employees should not be overshadowed by their skill development. Your employees are your best assets, and they are smart. It won’t take long before employees begin to recognize the dynamics of the cloud transformation, how the company views infrastructure, and the employees’ role and relationship within the infrastructure.
Management of change is difficult and cloud transformations require change in people’s day-to-day jobs, which is often considered a threat. It’s imperative to provide employees with the right kind of transition planning to empower them and make them feel successful in the role they play in your company’s transformation. Without this level of transparency, employees have the power to slow — or even halt — a transformation, causing increased costs and delayed timelines.
To avoid a demotivation that could lead to disaster, companies and IT departments need to be upfront and proactive about the transformation and the changes that are to come. Ongoing transparency is key to avoid a delay in success and to properly manage people who perceive themselves at risk.
Driving Successful Cloud Transformations
The right organizational and cultural changes will drive the right technology processes that lead to successful cloud transformations. Only when companies implement these changes and overcome this giant hurdle will they truly be able to take on migration, optimization, and modernization to drive success and remain competitive in today’s market.
Once a migration is complete, companies should adopt a hybrid IT or cloud management tool to optimize spend and ongoing workloads.
This article was co-authored by Richard J. Sylvia, the director of innovation and delivery enablement at Cloud Technology Partners, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company.