On-Prem to Cloud: Don’t Forget about the People

Co-authored by Aaron Rivera, Jeff Powers, and Angel Almada

Cloud computing is here to stay. Fundamental services such as email, single sign-on authentication, and folder / file storage have broadly migrated to the cloud in recent years. Providers of commercial ERP, CRM, and people management solutions are focusing major enhancements within their cloud versions, triggering a migration upon next major upgrades. Finally, businesses are assessing competitive challenges in their strategic services to customers and suppliers that are not easily solved within legacy on-premise solutions. For the latter, the technologies that permit integrations to partner services while elevating engagement experiences with customers and consumers are best served in cloud architecture. The question is not “if” but instead “when and how” an enterprise’s competitive solutions will move to the cloud.

Many organizations will view cloud migration as an obvious decision. Drivers could be new integrations with supply chain partners, new services for customers and suppliers, architectural changes to existing applications, need for high elastic and scalable usage, or converting infrastructure from a CAPEX to OPEX model, to name a few. However, the journey and impact on solution owners and IT delivery teams should not be taken lightly. The level of adoption by each individual to change technologies and processes directly aligns to success and failure. So what is a critical factor in achieving success? As the title of this article says, “Don’t Forget the People”.

Once the decision has been made to move forward on your Cloud Transformation and there are very clear business outcomes targeted, defining an inclusive journey that brings individuals from a positive start-to-finish experience is critical. Emphasizing what must not be forgotten: the people that must embrace and drive the change as you shift from on-premise to the cloud. This topic is sometimes taken for granted, but as we have worked through different implementations we have learned that while there will be efforts to improve processes, technology and performance, the organization does not automatically value or embrace the new model right away.

The mitigation of organization risk is accomplished through embedding “people change” scope within the core migration process. For any organization, regardless of the size, it is key that a good change management process is put in place. Whether a special team is assembled, or the HR Team leads the way, including a good plan before, during, and after the migration process is key. Said change management process should include a comprehensive approach on how to prepare your people to adopt, embrace, and be ready to operate under an elastic environment as the cloud is.

Look at Your Team

Migrating to a new technology is often taken positively, as there is an opportunity to learn new tools and continue developing their own career. However, not everyone will run to embrace this due to the nature of human beings, which tends to resist change, especially if they feel that their job is on the line. You will find that some people no matter how much they are involved will hinder the initiative. On the other hand, some will lead the charge and will be ready. The first thing to do, is to identify where in the spectrum your team is. From innovators and early adopters to people that will be forced to participate, creating a strategy for each group is key. The more people involved in making some of the decisions, the more accountable of the success they will feel. Involving the team on the decision making process will create a sense of belonging.

Because typically the needed skills and experience has not been developed within the company, migrations are led by an outsource partner, which might prevent full collaboration from the internal team from early stages. Because of it, it is instrumental to manage expectations of the outsource partner clearly to your employees.

HR’s Involvement

Why are we talking about HR? We have a plan, we have a technical Solution. We are ready to start! Keeping HR involved, and being part of the migration process is fundamental. They need to understand the changes that are coming to make sure that the team will be ready. From simple things like new programming languages to be implemented, to updating release schedules or how infrastructure is being supported. HR having a change management strategy in place will reinforce to your team that the whole company is onboard. As mentioned before, this plan has to start way before a single action is done to migrate to the cloud, meaning that the first action to execute once your company has decided to migrate, is to develop the change management plan with input from your outsource partner or an experienced team that has lead similar migrations to the cloud in the past.

Some of the questions and considerations to have include:

  • Is your team trained and ready with the proper skillset?
  • Have you defined the new and required positions to support your cloud infrastructure??
  • Have there been any previous and failed efforts to migrate to the cloud?
  • Have you worked with outsource partners in the past? Depending on past experience, you might need to consider lessons learned as part of the change management and communication
  • Given that the effort might last several months, even a couple of years, is it clear who will support the day to day operation?

Creating a good change management plan can help your organization to be better prepared for what is coming; additionally this is a great opportunity to continue reinforcing your company values and culture. However, you need to be aware that this plan will change over time as well. Cloud migration change management plans must be thought and designed using agile methodologies, assuming that each iteration or milestone will affect, adjust and adapt the overall process. A typical change management process is focused more on enablement and adoption of changes over time, cloud migration change management process is focused more on ensuring customer experience is not affected while implementing a resilience, elastic, secure, compliant, and secure infrastructure and operation.

Migrating an application to the cloud is a great opportunity for change. To explore new ways of executing processes and gaining efficiencies. Take this opportunity to also reinforce the confidence Leadership has on its organization.

 

Tiempo offers a variety of Cloud Migration Service solutions for the dominant platforms in the market – Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform. To learn more about these solutions contact us.