Unicon is publishing an article on ways of approaching decision-making about adopting cloud and/or managed services. The article is broken down into segments. The segments cover elements including: strategic, financial, architecture, security, process, and people.
We conclude the series this week by publishing the people segment of the article.
The People Element
Of course, a substantial consideration for any kind change is the people that are involved and affected. Some technical staff members will embrace cloud as an opportunity to stay current while others will perceive a threat to their future and career. It is important to consider the people-related aspects when considering cloud – what will the people change management look like: the executive sponsor that will carry the message and provide the context for “why” and “why now”; identifying advocates and nay-sayers and effectively managing them; along with appropriate engagement of people in the decision making process. In other words, all the leadership skills of the organization will likely be called upon as part of a cloud initiative, especially if it becomes broad in scope.
There are, however, some aspects of the people side that may be a bit unique. Selecting and managing a cloud provider may stretch the vendor management skills of the team. Other new skills may need to be developed or extended, examples including deployment automation tooling, new approaches to data persistence, alternate scale-out approaches, which might include content delivery networks or other app off-loading, and cloud-based caching. There very well could be difficult decisions regarding the existing levels of staffing for a number of skill sets and the issues of retention of key resources, re-training, and/or staff reductions must be considered early on.
Conclusions and Recommendations
A variety of challenges and pressures are making cloud migration a central discussion in organizations regarding the delivery of technology services. These conversations are not limited to IT discussions but transcend business, finance, and customer/end user groups. In order to make well-informed decisions regarding cloud and other "as a Service" opportunities, a number of decision-making elements must be considered. The main elements in such a decision have been presented along with a sample of the issues, considerations, and conversations related to each of the elements. Key among those is examining the overall strategic goals of the organization or institution, and understanding how these decisions fit and align with the IT strategy. The overall IT landscape and architecture will inform decision making as will service requirements (RAS), financial factors, security, processes, and people.
There have been enough high-profile service interruptions (and resulting losses of data, revenue interruption, etc.) to put a damper on the "just throw it up in the cloud, everyone's doing it, it can't be that hard" mind sets and external pressures. Thankfully, this has helped erode some of the naiveté regarding cloud (depending of course on whether one was an observer or a participant in those incidents). Unicon has been lucky enough to participate in the some of those high-profile incidents and bring some of the lessons learned to clients and partners. By considering the elements described above and engaging business/finance and service consumer/stakeholders around these, an organization can make a more fully informed decision regarding the infrastructure and operational management of their technology assets. Considering the elements described above may even highlight low-stakes opportunities to gain knowledge and traction, some of which might even be high pay-off projects. The conversations outlined also lay the groundwork for more extensive buy-in to the decisions that are made and help chart a course for executing on the resulting decisions.
Thank you for reading our article series. If you'd like to contact Unicon, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 480-558-2400.