Move to the Cloud, but Keep Your Feet on the Ground: Stay Focused on Business, Not the Technology

At the end of last month, Tri Tuns went to Cloud Slam ’12 in San Francisco where our CEO, Jason Whitehead, was invited to give a presentation about the newest challenges in cloud adoption: the users.

As one might expect at a cloud conference, Cloud Slam ’12 leaned heavily toward the technical and many people were talking about the amazing changes and possibilities the cloud, now in its infancy, will bring. The conversational overtones were reminiscent of the early days of the Internet.

Jason’s talk was one of the only “business-centric” presentations at a very “techno-centric” conference, and we were happy to offer an alternative perspective on the cloud and cloud adoption.

While we were already thrilled to be invited, once there we found out after receiving consistently good ratings from the selection committee, Jason’s speaking proposal was chosen from more than 1,000 submissions! Thank you Cloudcor and Cloud Slam ’12 organizers, we were pleased to be part of it.

In keeping with Tri Tuns’ focus on the people-side of system implementations, Jason was different from most of the other speakers who discussed urgent and emerging issues regarding the more technical aspects of the cloud. Jason addressed the non-technical side of the cloud: the people using it.

As we heard one person say, “It’s never the software that fails; it’s always the fleshware.”

Jason’s talk addressed how when it comes to the cloud, and migrating thereto, many of us do so because we think it’ll be that Holy Grail trifecta: better, faster, cheaper than what we’re doing right now.

But low up-front costs (for the buyer), the often-blinding speed of change, and on-going updates and changes take their toll elsewhere….and in every direction: the vendors, the customers, the users.

What we see time and again is that the laser-focus on “better, faster, cheaper”, defining “success” within the narrow confines of technology (did it go-live on time and on budget?) and managing organizational change in the traditional ways leads to business failures that could have easily been avoided in the first place.

Further, Jason outlined the inherent issues with traditional change management and its inability to accomplish business goals today. The old ways of “go live and go home” and “train and blame” just don’t work, especially in today’s workplace.

In essence, while the cloud has changed the game for vendors, clients and users, the cloud is also an excellent proxy for all the other technological changes organizations go through.

In today’s climate, with today’s workforce organizations must focus on behavior and performance management issues that can easily be addressed by effective user adoption programs requiring specific activities, deliverables and resources. Traditional change management just doesn’t do that.

And at the end of the day, ROI will not be determined solely by “up time”. ROI is far more contingent on the people, the “fleshware”, involved.

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