At Kloud we get incredible opportunities to partner with organisations who are global leaders in their particular industry.
Listening to and observing one of our established clients inspired me to write about their approach to change management in the cloud around the SaaS model.
Let’s start by telling you a quick story about bubble wrap.
Bubble wrap has taken a very different journey to what it was originally intended for. It was meant to be used as wall paper. Who would of thought that to be the case?!
It turned out that at the time there was not a market for bubbled wallpaper and the product was slowly fading into oblivion had there not been innovative and outside-the-box thinking. Bubble wrap’s inventors approached a large technology company in the hope that it could be the packaging material for its fragile product – the result of which revolutionised the packaging industry and today bubble wrap is a household name for many reasons.
In cloud computing we find that cloud suppliers have a wave of new features designed to change and enhance the productivity of the consumer. The consumer loves all the additional functionality that will come with the solution, however at most times does not understand the full extent of the changes. Herein lies the challenge – how does the conventional IT department communicate the change, train up end users and ultimately manage change?
We get ready to run all our time intensive checks so that people know exactly what is about to change, when and how it will change which is challenging to say the least. However, when you ramp this up to cloud-speed it clearly becomes near impossible to manage.
Change can be likened to exercising your muscles. The more you train the stronger you get, and change management is no different – the more change you execute the better you will get at managing it.
Many organisations keep features turned off until they understand them. Like my client says “I think this is old school”.
The smartphone has been a contributor to educating people on the new way of handling change. It has helped gear people up to be more change ready so we should give the end user the credit that they deserve.
So what approach is my client taking?
Yes, that’s right, let the full power of Cloud permeate through your organisation and recognise that the more time you spend trying to control what gets released as opposed to what doesn’t, the more time you waste which can be better used to create more value.
Enable features and let your early adopters benefit, then let the remaining people go on a journey. Sure, some might get it wrong and end up using the functionality incorrectly but this is likely to be the minority. Remember, most people don’t like change whether we like to admit it or not. As a result you need to spend listening to feedback and seeing how they interact with the technology.
Now let’s address the elephant in the room.
If we enable everything doesn’t it lead to chaos? Well let’s think this through by looking at the reverse. What would happen if we did not enable anything at all? Nothing. What does nothing lead to? Well, to be precise, nothing.
Think about when Henry Ford first rolled out the self-propelled vehicle which he named the Ford Quadricycle in an era where people struggled to look past horses. Did he ever dream that one day there would be electric cars? Probably not. Which is ironic considering he was introduced to Thomas Edison!
My point though? If you try and limit change you could very well be stifling progress. Imagine the lost opportunities?
Unlike bubble wrap which eventually will pop, Cloud services will continue to evolve and expand and so our way in handling change needs to evolve, adapt and change. Just maybe the only thing that has to pop is our traditional approach to change.