The Business of IT

Cloud adoption flu season

This coming year tens of thousands of medium and large companies will conduct initiatives to adopt cloud computing – and most of these will fail. The cause of these project failures will be unrealistic expectations. The inoculation is a hefty dose of reality. Get your vaccine here.

No one questions the fact that IT is undergoing a revolution and cloud is at its center. You need only glance at the article titles in any business and tech publication to see this. Cloud is a critical element in achieving unprecedented agility and supply-chain optimization.

However, will cloud alone get you these purported benefits? No, it won’t. Nor will any single vendor’s solution. Nor will the time and resource investment required to get there be small, as I’ve discussed previously. Shame on the vendors, analysts, and pundits who claim so or set this expectation in meetings with their prospective customers.

Reality. The flu vaccine for cloud-high cloud project expectations.

Let’s set some proper expectations. Real change requires serious investment, time, resources, and oversight. The larger the ship, the more difficult it is to adjust course. Here’s what to expect a successful cloud adoption program to look like:

  • It will be a multi-year effort.
  • It will require investing a significant percentage of your current IT budget just to properly plan. And significantly more than that to execute.
  • It will require adopting new technology and changing the way your people work.
  • It will demand the participation of your customers – internal and external.
  • It will demand executive-level leadership, involvement, support, and prioritization.
  • It will fail if you think otherwise.

The cloud adoption flu season is upon us. The best way to protect yourself is to understand the reality of cloud adoption initiatives – that’s the vaccine.

The Business of IT

Hungry for change?

Meeting business and technical requirements is important, but to what extent is your organization ready to accept the changes that your new initiative will introduce? In my work with global clients I’ve identified three critical elements that govern the success or failure of these initiatives:

  • Diet: How much is risk-taking accepted, encouraged, and rewarded?
  • Taste: How much does past experience support or undermine the changes that will be introduced?
  • Appetite: To what degree do people see their jobs getting easier as a result?

Like we (should!) do with our eating habits, we should create a change program that respects the diet, taste, and appetite of the organization – or changes those elements if needed – to ensure maximum health. Only when you and your organization are in good health can you maximize your success and capitalize on unforeseen opportunities.