4 questions to ask before your Cloud transformation
When you finally decide to break away for that long-deserved tropical vacation, you generally have two options. You can handle the details and the planning yourself or you can book through a travel agent. Travel agents make it easy by mapping out your vacation for you. Sure it’s a bit predictable, but who doesn’t like the idea of someone else handling all the logistics, all the details, all the problems? Alternately, when you plan it yourself, you can customize as much you want, going off the beaten path to create a trip that is as unique as you are.
When the decision is made to move business operations to the Cloud, companies have similar options. There is no shortage of Cloud integrators who promise a hands-off experience, and like using a travel agent, the chance to let someone else handle all the planning and details can be worth the extra cost. Companies can also choose to make the move to the Cloud themselves, foregoing the integration vendor and using existing in-house resources to adapt to their unique, individual situations and save some money.
There are benefits and challenges with either direction. Regardless of approach, a move to the Cloud is exciting and will impact almost everything. There will be changes to systems and how they work with one another. There will be changes to processes, teams, roles and responsibilities. And it will impact everyone in your organization.
Since preparation is key, and no amount of back-end work can make up for a spotty Cloud business case, here are four simple questions you need to ask to assess your company’s Cloud readiness.
1. Are you ready?
This is a simple question that has a lot of underlying details that need to be sorted out. Many Cloud implementations look the same when they’re completed, but up front, they’re all unique. The most important pre-work you can do is to plan your business case. At this early stage, you can map out all the changes from current to future state, determine how long it will take to realize value and decide whether this is an affordable move. Another important decision that should be made at this point is how you will measure success and gain buy-in from the key stakeholders. The elements that make up the business case are deeply varied, and the organizational implications are likely wider than you think.
2. Do you have the right resources, skills and plan in place?
Even before you start, take inventory of the team you want to drive this project. Your team needs to understand both the business and technical drivers of the Cloud integration. Now is the time to find additional resources if necessary. Just as important is planning for how the implementation will occur while existing processes continue to function. There will be impacts during the transition, and being prepared now will create a more predictable future-state.
3. Can your team handle the pace of implementation?
Moving to the Cloud is not like a typical technology installation. Implementation will come fast and at a relentless pace. While you may have an integrator who knows the technology inside and out, you still need to be prepared to make fast-paced decisions with lasting consequences. Also, as the implementation progresses, the other areas of your business need to be kept in the loop on changes, impacts and other organizational issues that may be rapidly changing.
4. Will your service delivery model be ready?
Operational change and the associated impacts across the company are often cited as the biggest surprises to companies once they move to the Cloud. Knowing this, it’s important to recognize the changes in the future state early and prepare for a new way of doing things. Processes that were once automated in the old systems might now require manual interventions. HR may rely on IT in new ways, employees may have to change behaviors and incentives, new methods of data collection and analysis may require new skill sets. We don’t have crystal balls, but being prepared for change can be just as beneficial in creating prescient outcomes.
Remember, just like that vacation, the real key is to put yourself in a position to make whichever path you travel a success. You wouldn’t plan a trip somewhere without taking the time off, making reservations and scheduling transportation. Why would you start your Cloud project without the same sense of purpose?