Change management is important for Technology initiatives and since many Cloud services focus on rapid deployments, this area is sometimes forgotten. The move to Cloud has not only technology implications but also business implications. Business processes and operations can be encapsulated as services and delivered expeditiously. Change management for the Cloud should look into the strategic, technology and development changes and related impacts. If you need new tires for your car do you just go and buy the first set of tires you see or do you check specifications, compatibility, price etc to determine how this change will impact your vehicle. This may appear to be common sense but in the excitement of moving to the Cloud it is easy to get carried away and not think about all aspects of change management.
Cloud can enhance productivity by providing the infrastructure or application platforms and related tools to respond to customer needs quickly, giving organizations an edge over others that have not assessed such mechanisms, and the on-demand capabilities can lead to efficient utilization of resources. Cloud also facilitates mobility services since such services are available at a cheaper cost to the enterprise. Cloud technologists now are likely to have nightmares about managing services and their integration rather than servers and databases. There are vendors who offer frameworks, processes and tools to handle changes related to Cloud services and deployments. BPM (Business Process Management) based solutions can support process driven Change Management. In this situation the business models drive change and ensure traceability by linking business processes to changes in the requirements and analysis documentation. Structured approaches such as IT Service management with ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) may have to be refined for rapid and dynamic cloud deployments.
I have led Change Management Boards over the years and this is a good forum to periodically review the impacts and change implications of new or existing Cloud services. A Change management strategy and plans should be developed in collaboration with the stakeholders. This strategy and plans should link with the organization’s Technology strategy and plan. Cloud puts forth rapid deployment mechanisms and hence change management plans and tasks should synchronize with this approach. This synchronization is a key element to ensure that the Cloud rapid change aspects are addressed and executed effectively as part of managing change.