Cloud

How to Make the Move to the Cloud – Part 2

In Part 1 of How to Make the Move to the Cloud, I covered the first three of five steps to ensure a successful move to the cloud. Having assessed your current application footprint, secured both business and leadership sponsors and developed a migration plan, it’s time to engage with your implementation team and execute on your plan.

4. Engage with the Implementation Team
At this stage, you have a plan and know where you’re headed. Now you need to assemble an implementation team to execute on that plan.

Your team will be comprised of both internal and external resources. On the home team you’ll typically have the executive sponsor, a senior manager driving the project who takes on the role of program manager, subject matter experts familiar with the IT and business strategies influencing the migration, and the application administrator. In addition, you’ll have the business analysts and users who will benefit from the new cloud technology. They will be your alpha and beta testers.

Look to your implementation partner to provide cloud specialists, developers, system architects, and project management. You’ll need to identify the key contacts on your team who will work closely with these implementation partner resources.

Now is the time to communicate with the business regarding change management. This is when you put on your marketing hat. Change is not always embraced with open arms, even when current processes are broken. Communicate, communicate, communicate! You’ve already secured executive sponsorship, so use that avenue to announce the project, who is on it, and most importantly, why the company is investing in cloud applications.

When people feel they are in on the “ground floor” of a fundamental change in business systems, you’ll get greater acceptance. Include the larger population in the project somehow as well – maybe have a company-wide contest to name the project. Generate excitement and it will pay off.

5. Execute and Deploy
Execute to your plan. It’s a simple statement, but may projects go awry because it’s relatively easy for projects to get off track. Every project starts with an expectation that business users know what they want. However, there are often needs not considered during the requirements process that surface.

How you handle these unforeseen needs is critical to your project’s success. For example, in a traditional on-premises BI deployment, such changes could easily mean more time and resources in addition to project delays. In a cloud BI deployment, it’s entirely possible these new needs could be met with self-service BI capabilities.

Consider starting with a pilot group to implement some of the process reengineering and change management as a part of the implementation project. This “walk before you run” approach gives users an opportunity to see their business processes in the cloud in action. Any missed steps will be caught, allowing users to address functional requirements before deployment.

One of the tremendous benefits of a cloud strategy is agility. Responding to newly identified needs as a result of a conference room pilot, doesn’t need to derail the project. In the cloud, agile development is the norm.

The biggest key to user adoption is getting them involved in the implementation process. Participation in the requirements, prototyping, and conference room pilot sessions are invaluable in developing a sense of ownership within the user community.

Training the administrator and involving him or her in the implementation of the system is also critical in terms of their ability to own and maintain the system after the initial implementation. Investing this time up front will pay huge dividends in system adoption and ongoing maintenance.

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Susan Welton

Susan Welton is a Senior Marketing Manager at Perficient.

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