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Change Management - Considerations in the Cloud

While many forward-thinking and technologically progressive companies have been the first to adopt cloud-based services and computational solutions, especially those in the financial sector, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the path to the cloud is clearly paved.
Change Management - Considerations in the Cloud

We must ask, is change management an essential component in a company’s implementation strategy for cloud migration?

The first aspect of unpacking this question is to understand what change management is and what it is not. Change management is a broadly encompassing term that refers to the entirety of best practices that an organization or company should follow in regard to changing from its current infrastructure to cloud-based storage and computational solutions.

The ways in which a company must manage their data, whether it be communications or applications, vastly differs not only from on-premises servers and off-site cloud services but also between each of these cloud-based applications. While these differences are more substantial in the public cloud when compared to hybrid and private clouds, they are still worthy of significant forethought and considerations.

While many companies focus on comparisons and strategies solely related to their business goals and what cloud solutions can bring to the table, they often forget the most essential part of any business – the people that work on these platforms day in and day out. When cloud migration is on the horizon, a company needs to consider how each change the cloud brings affects each of its employees. Some of the daily routines that a single person, small group, or even the entire staff may have become accustomed to over the years could change, in some cases, drastically.

Some examples that come to mind are when staff sends internal emails and where they store company-related files. Not to mention, there may have been individuals within the organization whose roles were tied rather strictly to the data management process and it needs to be considered how these roles change alongside cloud migration.

Three commonly considered best practices of change management when cloud migration occurs are as follows:

1. Align Change to Targeted Goals

Key Question: Why are we even making this change?

Whenever a change occurs in a company, it’s crucial to anticipate questions and provide the staff with a clear set of reasons why the change is occurring. Once these goals and outcomes are defined and supported by research, the essential task is to ensure the change management protocols put in place during transition to a cloud platform are directly aligned with these targeted goals.

2. Determine Centers for Change

Key Question: Why was it so easy for that department and so difficult for us?

Depending on the size of your company, there may be a few or many “hubs” or localized groups that make up the broader group working within your company. Cloud migration is multi-tiered in the effects it has on company subgroups and user adoption is key. For example, human resources may just use a new email application and store their files in a different folder; however, the web development team might be using an entirely new cloud-based software program. Thus, considering the effects on each “center” for change allows you to plan ahead and allocate retraining resources ahead of time to ensure all centers or activities in your company are equitably prepared for the cloud transition.

3. Clear Company Cloud Usage Policies

Key Question: Can I store my wedding photographs on here?

It sounds like a silly question, but, as I’m sure you are aware, many cloud packages purchased by companies include some pretty immense amounts of storage for each member of that company. It can be tempting to store our personal items in a company cloud folder that’s conveniently linked to your phone – after all, who wants to pay $6.99 a month for a terabyte-sized personal cloud when my company already paid for one for me? Now, if you don’t mind this cross of personal life and business, by all means, ignore this part of structuring your policies but my suggestion would be to have clear rules regarding how company resources can be used, whether it's email, cloud storage, or application usage.