The initial stages of a hybrid cloud transformation bring questions and uncertainty to the organization, and a lot of data to make sense of. In simple terms, this early churn happens in the “what to do,” the “how to do,” and the “do it” stages.
The first two are usually addressed with assessments and roadmaps, either internally or externally generated, and typically result in a considerable number of recommendations and initiatives that need to be deciphered. Once this challenge is overcome an organization begins to see where they are and where they want to go.
The next major milestone is doing 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 challenges if staff is inexperienced at running them.
The Cloud Business Office serves as the central point of decision-making and communication for your cloud-everywhere program – both internal and external to your company
To avoid the pitfalls, three common elements can help to successfully transition from assessment to operation:
#1 You need a fully engaged sponsor
While the assessment phase may have gone smoothly with little resistance, most organizations begin to encounter significant resistance during the transition from benchmarking and road-mapping to a hybrid cloud business office. Every organization is unique with its own culture, but common forms of resistance can include participant confusion, dodging meetings, delaying decisions, and combativeness. A fully engaged sponsor takes ownership and is responsible to the business for the success of the initiative. They would spearhead the efforts to get employees to engage and begin making those critical decisions on direction and strategy in the initial stages of change.
Fully engaged sponsors also continuously work with both sides of the table, influencers, and implementors. For influencers, the sponsor seeks to define strategy and direction in clear bite-size chunks that can be easily digested by the implementors and influencers. Through this effort, the organization helps employees understand how achieving the vision is possible with actionable steps. Implementors, on the other hand, are in the weeds of the struggle. They see how employees react on a day-to-day basis and see the struggles and problems with change. This area is where a fully engaged sponsor helps facilitate open lines of communication from implementors back to influencers (and keep influencers reasonable).
Finally, influence comes with the endorsement of the project from a fully engaged sponsor. This influence helps to actively mitigate roadblocks and issues, driving the project’s momentum towards its goals. Employees will likely be more comfortable supporting and helping a project where a clear, strong sponsor is fully engaged in seeing the project through till the end.
#2 You must have a strong foundation
Paramount to the success of any project is having clearly defined goals and visions. Organizations struggle to define clear visions when no single, collective team exists. The organization must develop and see the process of defining the vision that can be accepted and recognized by influencers, implementors, and employees as an embodiment of the project itself. I personally like to encourage and enforce open discussion amongst employees to draft vision statements. Once a set of initial vision statements are drafted, there is momentum to further refine and gain acceptance in a shorter timeframe. Becoming speedier toward the final vision also keeps the momentum up, keeps the vision fresh in the minds of participants, and begins to build a team.
With the vision in place, the organization begins developing the strategy for both the transition from assessment to operations as well as the initial operating strategy. This involves keeping employees engaged through the clear pitch of the vision statement. It also encompasses the major milestones, the impacts to current operations, the “how” of accomplishing this transition, and the communication strategy.
The final piece to a strong foundation is attaching strategic implementation to actionable steps. Employees, having heard the pitch and seen how the organization is approaching the change, will ask, “what do I do?” For this, the team works to develop an actionable backlog that has bite size chunks of efforts that can be accomplished by a wide variety of employees that aligns with both the vision and strategy already defined. Unfortunately, most organizations will struggle with developing a clear backlog as they have never undertaken a “cloud-everywhere” transformation before. Fortunately, organizations can seek help from experts and leverage advisors, pre-built basic backlogs, and the experience of “having done it before.” Now that employees have a clear vision, strategy, and approach to execution, how does the work start and then continue?
#3 You must build excitement!
As alluded to before, a strong team is needed for a successful transition and transformation. While building a vision, strategy, and approach to execution, a group of people have come together with a wide range of skills and knowledge. Continue bringing those people together to help build the excitement. As the team matures to feel comfortable working together towards a collective vision, the fear of change begins to diminish since employees have concrete support from teammates, a fully engaged sponsor, and organizational leadership. Finally, to work in ways the organization is not accustomed to, ask the team for input. Develop new growth that fosters passion and excitement for the initiative, resulting in employees going the extra mile and moving the initiative forward towards success.
There are many pitfalls an organization can find themselves in when implementing a cloud-everywhere platform. It is overly common to result in stalling, or even failure, losing momentum, not realizing the gain of the investment, and losing the opportunities to gain a competitive edge. The transition between assessment and operations is one of the greatest challenges an organization faces when implementing transformation. By selecting a fully engaged sponsor, building a strong foundation, and generating excitement, an organization can limit transformation failure and increase momentum moving into the early phases of an operational hybrid cloud business office.
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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 utilizing HPE’s Edge-to-Cloud Adoption Framework and delivers the framework across many industries around the world. He has over five years of experience working with complex technologies in regulated environments. Peter holds an M.S. in Technology Commercialization and Entrepreneurship and B.S. in Computer Science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.