The early stages of a hybrid cloud transformation bring questions and uncertainties to the organization, as well as a lot of data to interpret. Simply put, this early turnover happens in the “what to do”, “how to do” and “do” stages.
The first two are usually tackled with assessments and roadmaps, generated internally or externally, and usually result in a huge number of recommendations and initiatives that need to be deciphered. Once this challenge is overcome, an organization begins to see where it is and where it wants to go.
The next major step is to do it. An operational hybrid cloud business office or similar function is the way to go. Although a business office is functionally structured by definition, it also requires many steps that can be fraught with difficulties if the staff does not have the experience to manage them.
The Cloud Business Office serves as the central decision-making and communication point for your cloud-everywhere program – both internal and external to your company
To avoid the pitfalls, three common elements can help make the transition from assessment to operation successful:
#1 You need a fully committed sponsor
Although the assess phase went smoothly with little resistance, most organizations are starting to encounter significant resistance as they transition from benchmarking and roadmap to a hybrid cloud business office. . Every organization is unique with its own culture, but common forms of resistance can include confusing attendees, dodging meetings, postponing decisions, and combativeness. A fully engaged sponsor takes ownership and is accountable to the company for the success of the initiative. They would spearhead efforts to get employees engaged and start making those critical decisions about direction and strategy in the early stages of change.
Fully engaged sponsors also continuously work with both sides of the table, influencers and implementers. For influencers, the sponsor seeks to define strategy and direction in small, clear chunks that can be easily digested by implementers and influencers. Through this effort, the organization helps employees understand how achieving the vision is possible with concrete actions. Implementers, on the other hand, are in the weeds of the fight. They see how employees react on a day-to-day basis and see the struggles and issues with change. This is the area where a fully engaged sponsor helps facilitate open lines of communication between performers and influencers (and keep influencers reasonable).
Finally, influence comes with the endorsement of the project by a fully committed sponsor. This influence helps to actively mitigate obstacles and problems, boosting the momentum of the project towards its goals. Employees are likely to be more comfortable supporting and helping a project when a clear and strong sponsor is fully committed to seeing the project through to completion.
#2 You must have a solid foundation
It is essential for the success of any project to have clearly defined objectives and visions. Organizations struggle to define clear visions when there is no single collective team. The organization must develop and see the process of defining the vision that can be accepted and recognized by influencers, implementers and employees as an embodiment of the project itself. Personally, I like to encourage and enforce an open discussion between employees to write vision statements. Once a set of initial vision statements are drafted, there is momentum to further refine and gain acceptance in a shorter time frame. Getting faster towards the final vision also maintains momentum, keeps the vision fresh in participants’ minds, and begins to build a team.
Once the vision is in place, the organization begins to develop the strategy for the transition from assessment to operations as well as the initial operational strategy. This involves maintaining employee engagement through the clear presentation of the vision statement. It also encompasses the main steps, the impacts on current operations, the “how” to accomplish this transition and the communication strategy.
The final piece of a solid foundation is to link strategic implementation to concrete steps. Employees, after hearing the speech and seeing how the organization is approaching change, will ask, “What should I do? To do this, the team strives to develop an actionable backlog that includes small efforts that can be accomplished by a wide variety of employees and that aligns with both the vision and the strategy already defined. Unfortunately, most organizations will struggle to develop a clear backlog because they have never undertaken cloud-everywhere transformation before. Fortunately, organizations can enlist the help of experts and leverage advisors, pre-built baseline backlogs, and “have it done before” experience. Now that employees have a clear vision, strategy, and approach to execution, how does the work start and continue?
#3 You need to create excitement!
As mentioned earlier, a strong team is necessary for a successful transition and transformation. While building a vision, strategy and execution approach, a group of people came together with a wide range of skills and knowledge. Keep bringing these people together to help create excitement. As the team matures to feel comfortable working together towards a collective vision, the fear of change begins to lessen as employees receive concrete support from their teammates, a fully committed sponsor and leadership of the organization. Finally, to work in a way the organization is not used to, ask the team for input. Develop new growth that fosters passion and enthusiasm for the initiative, which inspires employees to go the extra mile and drive the initiative forward to success.
There are many pitfalls an organization can fall into when implementing a cloud-everywhere platform. It is all too common to end up in a stall or even failure, loss of momentum, failure to realize the gain from the investment and loss of opportunities to gain competitive advantage. The transition from assessment to operations is one of the biggest challenges an organization faces when implementing transformation. By selecting a fully committed sponsor, building a solid foundation, and building excitement, an organization can limit transformation failure and accelerate the move to the early stages of a functioning hybrid cloud business office.
Visit HPE and see what an edge-to-cloud adoption framework will look like for your organization.
About Peter Kloss
Peter Kloss is a cloud consultant and transformation strategist helping large clients globally. He works closely with HPE’s Advisory and Professional Services group using HPE’s Edge-to-Cloud Adoption Framework and provides the framework to many industries around the world. He has over five years of experience working with complex technologies in regulated environments. Peter holds a master’s degree in technology commercialization and entrepreneurship and a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.