Four Ways to Overcome Resistance to Cloud Adoption

Cloud computing initiatives enable organizations to achieve their digital business goals, by introducing technical and cultural changes that often require behavioral and mindset shifts in infrastructure and operations (I&O) teams.

About the Author

Miguel Angel Borrega is Research Director at Gartner.

The changes needed can often lead I&O team members to resist cloud adoption, for reasons ranging from a misunderstanding of the goals and benefits to concerns about diminishing roles or job loss. As a result, I&O leaders are faced with questions from their team members about job security, potential irrelevance, and what might happen if they are unable to adapt to the new skills required. .

Failure to address these concerns can undermine cloud initiatives and ultimately the organization’s digital business ambitions and ability to compete with competitors. To address this issue, consider the following four ways to overcome resistance to cloud adoption.

1. Create an understanding of your cloud strategy

An organization’s cloud strategy provides an overview of how it will use, consume, manage, and operate cloud services. Without it, the organization is unable to effectively communicate the goals and benefits of the cloud to staff. However, more than a third of organizations begin their cloud journey without a clear cloud strategy and another third with cloud migration plans that are misaligned with business goals.

To help staff better understand the goals and benefits of their cloud initiative, describe the benefits of cloud computing with the organization’s broader business goals and explain how the organization will deliver, integrate, and manage services from different cloud providers. cloud.

Describing the principles and decision criteria that the organization will follow to use IaaS, PaaS, or SaaS services will better communicate the processes and help define the organizational structure. Separately, explain the approach to managing cloud platforms and how these will be managed either by the I&O team or by a managed service provider (MSP).

2. Focus communications on existing skills and personal growth

Once the cloud strategy is in place, I&O leaders can communicate the details of the strategy, including the rationale, vision, and plans for execution, to executives, leadership peers, and I&O team members to mitigate potential cloud resistance in their organization.

To streamline communications, let I&O team members know what will change and what will stay the same throughout the adoption process. Plus, explain how adopting the cloud will strengthen the skills they already have and accelerate their personal growth.

It’s also critical to identify the impact of cloud adoption on team members’ roles and activities, as well as communicate key messages about the context, rationale, and goals of moving to the cloud. To complement communication, gather feedback from team members to adjust the communication plan and address their key concerns as each team member evolves around the strategy.

3. Collaborate with team members to shape their roles

A major factor of resistance to change is the feeling of the teams that the changes, and the adjustments they make, are imposed on them and that their voice is not taken into account. To maximize adoption, follow an open source change approach by involving team members in a two-way dialogue about changes due to cloud adoption.

This means co-creating a gap analysis between the technical skills of the team members and the skills required in the medium and long term. Separately, identify volunteers for cloud projects and provide access to education and training opportunities, including cloud conferences, demos, and cloud vendor workshops to address their concerns.

Engaging I&O team members to participate in and lead cloud communities of practice will also put leaders in the right place. Plus, co-develop cloud training plans that are both valuable to the organization and appealing to the individual.

4. Leverage early subscribers as influencers

An often overlooked aspect of change is that people change at different speeds. The process of change in any group of people is like a long distance race. The attitude of I&O team members towards change often goes through different stages: awareness, understanding, adoption and sustained commitment. Therefore, I&O managers should manage I&O team members based on their attitude toward cloud adoption.

For these runners, or “early followers,” they will be on board and want to be involved from the start. While joggers, or “follow the leaders”, will look to early followers, as they are heavily influenced by them. Walkers, on the other hand, will “wait and see” and follow once others do. For those “resisters” in your organization, they will think it is not worth changing. However, some of them can be influenced to accept the change.

Spend most of your time working with ‘Runners’ as they are the ones who will inspire the rest of the team. Runners will become motivators for joggers, and joggers will inspire walkers. Ultimately, the success of cloud change initiatives in an I&O team depends on a handful of influencers who can address the concerns of skeptics. It is therefore essential to focus your efforts on the leaders.

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