Competition and disruption are rife within the world of business and the increasing presence of smart devices, cloud technologies and big data is creating something that giants of industry are calling "Digital Transformation."
The above quote is from a Microsoft research report that has looked into whether Digital Transformation is the age of innocence, inertia, or in fact, innovation. The report takes a deep dive into current market trends and will definitely get you thinking about the potential disruptions that your business could face. Maybe you fall into the 44% of business leaders that see their business models completely changing?
Well, one of the key drivers behind digital transformation is, of course, the tech industry's beloved cloud. A solution that many of us are becoming increasingly familiar with. I heard a phrase at a Microsoft event last week that got me thinking about cloud slightly differently...
Microsoft's new narrative is accurate, but when you REALLY think about it, those two ingredients alone do not create digital transformation. Consider this...once the 'vehicle' is ready, who has to drive it?
It's your users!
Now, despite their importance to the success of business cloud migrations, users are often considered a little too late in the process, which can create new challenges once your cloud solution is in place.
So here are some tips on how to maximise user adoption and enthusiasm when migrating your business to the cloud.
"What's in it for me?"
This is one of the first questions that you will have to answer when it comes to enforcing big change into your business and it is important to know the answer right from the beginning. Think about how using cloud technology is going to make things easier for your users and how it will enable them to achieve more. When it comes to change, people like to know why it is happening so make sure you are prepared to tell them.
Understand your users
In order to answer the above, you need to understand your users and their motivations. Learn to appreciate how they like to work, what they need to do their jobs, and what they desire. Having this knowledge is gold during a cloud project. If you know what your users want and need, you can tailor your solution towards those desires. The beauty of the cloud is its flexibility.
Culture is key
Culture is HUGE when it comes to any type of change within your business. By definition, culture is "the ideas, customs, and social behaviour of a particular people or society." Your culture is unique to your business and it has taken time to develop, so remember, it will also take time for it to change. Just like your users, make sure you know your existing culture and that your vision of it's future is clear in your mind.
A little diversion back to business as usual here...What are your objectives for integrating cloud technology into your business? Do they align with the objectives of your users and the overall culture of your business? And, are they measurable? It is important to remember to quantify the change that you see during your cloud migration, rather than just observing it. People like to see percentages and statistics, this can really help with user adoption.
Find your early adopters
Yes, a cloud migration is a big project and it requires a lot of thought and consideration, but fear not! There are people within your business that can help with the speed of adoption amongst users. We call these people the 'early adopters.' They are intuitive with new technology, enthusiastic about change, and work in ways that you would like to promote throughout the business. Make these people your change champions, center them in the internal promotion of your cloud solution, and encourage them to educate and support their peers.
Cloud technology is a tool that will increase user productivity, reduce your operational costs, and help keep your business data safe but it is important to find the solution that is right for your business and your users to maximise these results. Remember that for your users, the cloud might be a new tool, learning to use a new tool requires skill, and developing a skill requires time to learn.
I heard somebody use a brilliant anecdote when discussing user adoption the other day. 'You wouldn't give a 17 year-old the keys to a brand new car, a copy of the highway code, and 48 hours later let them drive it on their own. A similar theory should apply when asking users to use new technologies.
If your business is looking at migrating to a cloud environment our in-house team of specialists can help. We will get to know your existing culture, your objectives, and the vision that you have for your businesses future so that we can recommend the right cloud solution for you and your users.
Give the team a call on 01604 704 014 or you can email them on firstname.lastname@example.org.
We have been through a cloud migration ourselves and specialise in supporting businesses transition through the process. Our advice comes from human experience!
And after all, the human element is the most important part!