On the road to recovery, cloud provides relief (part 2) People gotta move…
In my previous blog I made a statement that the cloud is a blessing for the HR manager. I also nuanced the effect technology has on the business.. It is not uncommon for managers to think that people gotta move, especially in times of recession. But in reality, people only move if they WANT to move. Change must involve the people, not be imposed upon the people. This may sound a bit soft but history has shown that in the end it only works this way …
Cloud computing is pushed by technology and processes can be optimized by applying this technology in a smart way. But what about the people involved? What’s so special about the cloud that makes people change easier? I think there are three aspects to mention: recognition, maturity and the necessity to show results in a relatively short term.
Thirty years ago computers were intended for businesses. ICT played hardly any role in private lives. Today technology is everywhere. Usually your home equipment is smarter and more advanced than your office equipment. BYOD (bring your own device) is increasing everyday because employees are accustomed to using consumer web technologies and tools that increase their productivity. In the workplace they expect a similar ‘consumer like’ experience. Not to mention the need to be part of social networks, collaborate, update and communicate in an easy and accessible way. Cloud computing provides all these comforts in a relatively easy and cost effective manner. Companies do not have to make huge investments (CAPEX) to provide smarter solutions. The recognition of people allows for faster acceptance.
With the arrival of cloud computing, IT is no longer exclusively owned by the CIO and his department. It has moved to the business owners. Not only have the departments and people become more mature, but the way software works and the agility it provides means a chance for everyone that understands the power of technology to use it. ICT is no longer the necessary evil of that other department but a serious business enabler. That motivates people, leads to creativity and drives change!
John Kotter, a leading writer on organizational change management describes a helpful model for understanding and managing change. Each stage acknowledges a key principle identified by Kotter relating to people's response and approach to change, in which people see, feel and then change. After the first steps (vision, motivating, communicating) step 6 is decisive: create short-term wins. And unfortunately, that is where many projects strand. Complex and multidisciplinary projects delayed change and made people skeptical. It seems that cloud solutions can be implemented quicker and especially shippable in smaller parts. Proto typing is much easier. Results come faster which motivates people to move on because they see tangible results into practice.
For many, the cloud implies that they want to move. Another group will not move at all or will move slowly and under protest. And there’s a group in between. Change can be hard, especially when it involves technology. Although some people relish the opportunity to play around with new software and hardware, others balk at what they perceive as a disruption to the normal routine. This may sound a little bit pessimistic but it’s intended to be realistic. Coming back to Kotter, one of the first steps in his model is building a guidance team and communicating for buy-in. Change needs to be understood and managed in a way that people can cope effectively with it. Change can be unsettling, so the manager logically needs to be a settling influence.
I’m convinced that cloud computing technology is shifting into sixth gear as more people begin to adopt the benefits of using it. The next generation of software is getting very sophisticated in managing hardware and software resources for end users. One of the biggest ways that cloud computing is impacting every day user’s life is the ease of access that people have to information. Never before have we seen a technology that allows a person to access all of their files, in a central location, on the internet that is accessible from any internet-abled device.
In my next blog I take a deeper dive in the technology behind the cloud. The technology that promotes agility and that makes it possible to provide processes as BPaaS (business process as a service).