Like superheroes in movies, cloud programs can “save the day” in creative and dramatic ways. They can help companies redefine their brands, overhaul business processes and open new lines of communication inside and outside their four walls.
Yet just like superheroes, the cloud’s larger-than-life reputation can be neutralized by “cloud kryptonite.” And unlike the movie version, cloud kryptonite comes in many forms. At its core, cloud kryptonite is a collection of disruptive forces that will drain power from a cloud program and render the organization vulnerable to failure.
Here are seven forms of cloud kryptonite which organizations need to root out before their cloud programs go off the rails.
1. Lack of Trained People in the Organization
A few years ago, organizations functioned just fine empowering a handful of IT people to run all the technology inside the company. IT leaders maintained the applications, and the rest of the staff called in those leaders if something went wrong.
Today in cloud-enabled environments, IT departments operate an inside-out model, delivering services to the company at large. If employees do not understand how to use tools and services designed to transform the company’s business, they simply will not use them. This is where many cloud programs slip up.
To fix the issue, organizations must make sure that the necessary knowledge gets dispersed throughout the enterprise. IT leaders cannot do it all themselves. Companies should establish a few “training leaders” to evangelize the benefits of training, take the lead on communications, organize meetups and bring content to users. Department heads have to give these training leaders the backing they need — and then get out of the way.
2. Fear of Potential Job Loss
As organizations migrate work to the cloud, many employees will see the benefits these moves can provide – including more resources at their disposal and improvements in the overall health of the company. But other employees will see the cloud as a threat. More automation means less human work, and that can mean job losses. People can start fearing for their futures which hurts morale and saps an organization’s strength.
The best approach is to communicate clearly that a cloud initiative may trigger job consolidation. People are smart: if you close a data center, they know that can impact certain jobs. If the move to the cloud is going to affect people, try to have frank discussions about how new teams may need to be formed and how individuals may have to adapt their roles.
If cloud migrations will not affect people’s jobs, communicate this clearly as well. Calm employees’ fears early on, and proceed with the work at hand.
3. Lack of Clarity Around Regulatory Controls
As organizations move to the cloud, they need to understand how every step they take impacts the regulations and compliance standards they follow in their businesses. Any confusion in this area can pose problems. For starters, the organization’s Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) and security officers have to give the staff direction about how to proceed. Without that clarity, the organization will struggle to move forward with a new technology platform.
If the organization is confused, it needs to bring in someone who understands the regulatory control issues and can take people through an education process. Cloud Technology Partners has done this for a number of firms, bringing Chief Security Officer (CSO) and GRC leaders through a defined process, and educating them on what will happen in public cloud.
4. Lack of a Holistic, Integrated Plan and Executive Alignment
What does a successful cloud program look like? How do you measure progress? Are you embracing the cloud to respond to markets, or just to lower your operational costs? While these might seem like obvious questions to answer before you embark on a cloud initiative, it is surprising to see how many organizations have not thought these issues through.
If you have not settled on KPIs that define your views of success, that is a huge red flag. If you do not have the right dashboards in place, you will not have agreement on when you have crossed the finish line. Again, you will need to bring in an expert to help you develop a plan for where you are going, what you are trying to accomplish and how swiftly you are moving along the chosen path.
5. Lack of Budget, or Conflicting Investment Priorities
When an organization is unclear about a project’s direction, it is not going to allocate the appropriate levels of funding to the appropriate program components. The kryptonite in this situation is that a lack of proper funding alignment will hold up a project, demoralizing its proponents. Cloud champions need to push hard with superiors to get their buy-in on what needs to be done and why. If the business leaders do not see cloud as being the enabler of agility or competitive advantage that it can be, they will not allocate an adequate budget, and cloud adoption will stall.
6. Market Rumors that Thwart the Truth
Where is the source of truth? Who is providing the “true north” for the project? Rumors can kill a cloud program. The kryptonite in this instance is the lack of clarity and leadership direction in the midst of turmoil. “Cloud is the big bad threat and will kill our market” is just one of the many untrue rumors that create fear, uncertainty and doubt. You must squash such rumors as soon as you hear them. They are cancer to a program!
Just like your response to speculation about job loss, you must communicate clearly what is being planned relative to the cloud, and how it will affect people’s work. Staffers who are unfamiliar with cloud initiatives will gather “information” wherever they can. Organizations need to share the truth about their cloud program regularly and clearly, and set up channels for people to get their questions answered.
7. Old Thinking in a New Cloud Model
Moving to the cloud is a big change for a company. It is like using a horse for transportation for the last 10 years and suddenly moving to an automobile. You cannot put a saddle and reins on a car and ride it like you did the horse. Cloud is entirely different from the model of on-premises IT, but many IT leaders are trying to follow that prior approach. Consequently, they end up with runaway budgets, no controls and confusion over next steps.
To eliminate this version of kryptonite, talk to an expert who understands what new organizational models look like, and how to get your organizational structure going in the right direction. Moving to the cloud involves a whole new way of operating. An expert can help a company install a cloud business office that allows it to create a new model to drive organizational change — while making sure the existing model does not infect the new team.
What Is Your Kryptonite?
How much cloud kryptonite is buried in your cloud adoption program? If you do not know, start looking. Every program has some, and it is better to understand what you are dealing with than to wait until the problem is too big to handle efficiently. Early detection is critical. Pull back the covers, search for signs of cloud kryptonite and take action.
The first step to curing your cloud program challenges is to get help. CTP is dedicated to helping you to become self-supporting and to take charge of your cloud program. Give us a call, tell us about your program and we will bring to your organization the best people who know how to solve difficult challenges.