Digital transformation is a given across all industries in today’s economy. If a business wants to succeed, it must focus on meeting customer demand through growing and evolving the customer experience journey. The culture shock that ensues from this transformation can be difficult for people in any organization, but businesses can take measures to smooth the process.
A part of many digital transformation initiatives, cloud migration represents a big change in the way people interact with systems and each other. For big business, embracing cloud fully is a huge undertaking. They require hybrid support from vendors long-term to make the transformation manageable, and not just from a technology perspective. A hybrid approach is one strategy that can meet corporate and customer needs, while making the inevitable move to cloud in a way that ensures people are prepared for – and on board with – the change and the journey involved.
Why Digital Transformation Is Necessary Right Now
Digital transformation can be defined in a multitude of ways, but all definitions include a description of how innovative IT strategies can be used to create a more successful and conducive customer climate. To achieve success, IT strategies must be transformed across all departments and levels of business strategy, the overall business model, the organization’s operational model and its day-to-day technical capabilities. A change so deeply embedded in the organizational strategy can result in some serious culture shock and be met by significant resistance. However, because the transformation will ultimately accelerate innovation by providing better products, services, and customer experience, companies need to move forward with cloud deployment, but should do so in a way that focuses on keeping people at the forefront of the transformation – or they will ultimately fail.
Advantages of the Hybrid Cloud Approach
Balancing the rate of change with the challenges of an organization’s culture can be overwhelming at times, especially when resources are consistently stretched past the current cultural comfort levels. But the hybrid cloud approach can ease the transition and even nurture organizational talent at the same time.
Flexibility and Scalability: Hybrid approaches allow companies to maintain efficiency by keeping some data onsite while moving other data to the cloud solution. This gives people time to get used to the idea of cloud services but also motivates the impetus for change through a clear demonstration of how well the cloud can meet organizational needs.
Trust Development: By combining the existing resources with the new ones availed through cloud technology, people learn to gradually trust in the innovation promotion process. Development in a more controlled environment leads to the ability to test and stage applications with reductions of cost and failure.
Cost Reduction and Added Security: Cloud solutions reduce the total cost of ownership while maintaining trust in system security. As monolithic systems are gradually replaced, stakeholders, and end users will witness the savings that cloud services provide and also see that security can be maintained by keeping the most sensitive data on-site until trust is gained by the organization.
Existing Asset Maximization: For those concerned with abandoning existing assets (playing the sunk costs argument), the hybrid approach allows the maximum usage of the existing assets while meeting new demands with space in the cloud. Capacity is no longer bound to on-site space, but these valuable resources aren’t just pushed to the wayside, either.
Communicating the Transition to Make Change Easier on End Users
As early as 1969, business experts recognized the value of including team members in discussions and decisions surrounding organizational and technological changes. Recognizing that resistance to change is just as much socially driven as it is driven by fear of the unknown is a big step in countering the problems that can occur during the process. Encouraging new thought processes and shifting the focus from technical details to focus instead on all the positive changes that are taking place can help reduce resistance and increase receptiveness.
Anytime technological transformation is attempted, organizations should always put people first. Positive outcomes occur when people are willing to participate in the change, and engaging employees as part of the process is key to making the transition go as smoothly as possible. Seven strategies posed by Research Associate Robina Chatham of the tech research group Leading Edge Forum can help facilitate acceptance, adoption and acceleration.
Effective Communication: Team members need to understand both the need for the changes and the outcomes anticipated by those changes.
Personal Involvement: The more invested team members are in the process, the more prepared they’ll be to participate.
Excuse Removal: Efficient processes lend to the expected outcomes of saving time and energy.
Intenal Influencers: Seeking out the team members who are already tech-savvy and using them to influence change can ease growing pains in new or resistant employees.
Threat Removal: When employees have sufficient access to information about the new technology and processes, assumptions of the “worst possible scenario” are removed.
Confident Training: Encouraging the use of new skills through patient and appropriate training allows people to work through mistakes and eases any problems in the learning curve.
Emotional Support: Remembering that resistance to change can be an emotional reaction gives employees a chance to adjust to the new culture in a supportive atmosphere.
How the Hybrid Cloud Can Help with the Transition
In the past, organizations had few choices when it came to technological advances. Although the days of mainframe computers are long gone, many larger businesses struggle with the idea of moving from completely on-premises systems to an all-encompassing private or public cloud service solution. In fact, it is nearly impossible for enterprises to make the switch in one go because of the complexity of the systems used. Utilizing a hybrid cloud approach provides a buffer for change-resistant employees and departments and also offers the means for swift and successful forward movement for the people who are already on board with the transformation. After taking the first step to a hybrid cloud model, enterprises can make the transition to full could in smaller steps, with less complexity, so it’s easier to manage and gradually introduce people to new Cloud behaviors.
Any change in an organization can produce anxiety and cultural shock. But digital transformation doesn’t have to disable a company’s operations. Using a hybrid approach can ease the transition and keep team members happy across the board.