Most organisations implement new technologies because they want to integrate or automate particular operations, or add new products to their offering. Without the right approach costs can quickly get out of hand and the planned benefits of the technology may fail to be realised across the business.
In a study of 4,500 large scale IT projects, McKinsey & Company and the University of Oxford found that, overall, IT projects ran 45 per cent over budget, seven per cent over time, and delivered 56 per cent fewer organisational benefits than first predicted.
According to Gartner analyst Tom Bittman, 95 per cent of private cloud implementations go wrong. This figure includes cloud implementations that were deemed to be successful but failed to actually help the organisation achieve significant business goals.
One of the key variables that impacts the return on investment (ROI) of an IT project like migrating to the cloud is the level of change management involved. McKinsey reports that the level of employee and managerial support for a change program determines its success rate. Where people are truly invested in change, it is 30 per cent more likely to stick, meaning better ROI for technology and training. 
When migrating to the cloud, businesses need to consider more than the technical specifications. A common mistake when estimating the ROI is the assumption that there will be 100 per cent technology adoption when it goes live. This is rarely the case, as staff must to be trained in how to use the technology, and it can take a time to transition existing software and operations to the new platform.
As organisations and individuals go through the adoption curve of the new technology platform, it is essential to accelerate and institutionalise the adoption of the new technology, processes, and behaviours to sustain the change over time.
At Brennan IT we suggest that businesses reconsider their cloud approach, potentially slowing down to ensure the cloud strategy is appropriate and entrenched before moving workloads across. If you want to achieve business transformation it is no longer about the technologies you use, but how you apply them in your business. Change management plays an essential role in ensuring the journey from the old business state to the new is completed in the most optimal way with minimal disruption, and that the new status quo can then be sustained over time.
There are five ways your business can use change management to increase its likelihood of a successful cloud implementation:
- Scope upfront. Review the plans for the entire project upfront, considering immediate and future requirements. This helps avoids situations where your business is moves faster than it’s ready to, causing overspend and, potentially, solutions that aren’t fit for purpose. With a future view in mind, it is easier to tackle the transformation bit by bit, project by project.
- Make IT a revenue generator. Previously a cost-centre, IT can generate revenue and far better ROI if your business uses the right cloud strategy. Cloud can help businesses scale at need and innovate faster, freeing up intelligent people to move faster. Viewing cloud simply as a cost-cutting measure undermines its potential.
- Expect change to cost. To achieve benefits from cloud, people must use it. This means implementing strategic change management programs, i.e. education and training sessions from your provider. This can incur costs but delivers a greater ROI by ensuring the technology is used to its maximum potential.
- Keep a structure. For some organisations, moving to the cloud means wholesale change. However, it can be useful to maintain the same structure that supported legacy systems, simply moving it to the cloud. It is important to discuss with your cloud provider upfront what your organisation wants to achieve from the cloud and what systems you currently have in place. This will help develop a tailored, best-fit solution for your business.
- Use a combined approach. While many people treat cloud as a Waterfall project, where each element is implemented one after the other, an Agile methodology can often add value. For many businesses, leveraging the structure of Waterfall with the flexibility of Agile deployment, and incorporating a strong change management element, is most successful.
It is important to seek professional help when beginning your business migration to the cloud. A strong partner will be able to map out a strategic cloud approach that delivers business benefits and only moves as fast as your business can support. The right partner can offer a strong project management structure that incorporates proactive change management, taking into account both the commercial and technical requirements.
If you would like Brennan IT to help you on your cloud migration journey and to find out how we can be of assistance in developing a tailored change management plan, visit http://www.brennanit.com.au or contact us on 1300 500 000.