WHY SHOULD WE MOVE TO THE CLOUD?Companies across the globe are shifting their software and systems to the cloud. This was illustrated in dramatic fashion by Dell’s 2015 Global Technology Adoption Index. According to their research, 82% of companies globally are already using cloud-based technologies.
Why is this happening?The reasons for moving to the cloud are well documented. Cost savings, getting things done faster, and better allocation of IT resources are the most common. But Dell’s study also added a compelling new reason to the mix: companies using cloud technologies experienced between 46% and 51% higher growth rates than those who didn’t.
- Have higher adoption rates and happier end users
- Roll out more successfully
- Realize higher ROIs
- Avoid push-back from lack of buy-in or understanding
- Avoid lost productivity from users not fully taking advantage of new systems
Facing the Inevitable Challenges of a Cloud MigrationMigrating to the cloud is not “easy” by any stretch. You must weigh factors such as time, cost, security, and satisfaction when planning your migration. A solid plan that accounts for each of these factors invariably yields better results. By the same token, lacking a coherent plan heightens the risks, which has kept some organizations out of the cloud despite its many advantages.
The Benefits of Moving to the CloudSometimes you need to make an investment before you can earn a reward. Change management is like that. Investing in a formal user adoption process as part of your cloud transition can have a huge impact on your ROI.
How change management and Google Cloud work together to impact your bottom line:
- Improving the efficiency and timing of your rollouts
- Getting users to adopt new systems more quickly and smoothly
- Reducing security and regulatory risks from the improper use of new systems
- Training users to utilize new systems more fully and efficiently
- Reducing technical support costs with better employee preparation
- Identifying new, streamlined capabilities enabled by new systems
- Identifying old, inefficient workflows to avoid
A common example of this can be seen in organizations migrating from Outlook to Gmail. Without a user adoption program, most new Gmail users will try to use Gmail the same way they were using Outlook. They’ll create tags and labels just like before – and they’ll be wasting a ton of time. A user adoption program could show them that Gmail’s advanced search capabilities makes tagging unnecessary. Instead, they’d learn how to use Gmail’s powerful features to spend less time organizing their email and more time contributing value to the company. Productivity can make all the difference in your organization's success.
Google’s research into change management programs presented some startling results. Even a poor change management program provided 105% ROI when migrating users to the cloud. And while a full-service, best-in-class change management program might be pricier, the expense was more than offset by a 135% return.
Want more proof? Projects with excellent change management programs are six times more likely to achieve or exceed their goals. And firms with highly effective change management activities are three-and-a-half times more likely to outperform their industry peers financially.
Sure, you can make that transition to the cloud alone, or without a user adoption strategy. But why would you want to, when investing in change management clearly produces so much more value for the effort?
Managing Your Users' Adoption Experience During A Cloud Migration
While the main purpose of a change management process is to prepare your end-users for change, success actually starts at the other end – the top.
When asked about the most important factors in successful change management programs, 84% of companies reported executive leadership as one of their top three. The influence of executive leadership is shown to translate directly to the front line, where it was seen as the #1 factor in achieving higher levels of employee engagement and buy-in. The next two highest influencers were increasing consultations with front-line employees and better communications.
The top three factors noted above drive the Cloudbakers’ change management process. So how do we use them to lay the groundwork for a successful cloud transition?
- What communications systems are currently in use?
- What systems should be replaced?
- What are the budget, timetable, and rollout constraints?
- How have employees been trained before? What’s worked and what hasn’t?
- What segments and user groups are present and how does their usage differ?
- What’s the geographic distribution of employees and how will they be reached?
The point of discovery is to find out who is involved and what needs to happen for the transition to be successful.Identification
While some companies name one or two executive sponsors and drop all the responsibility on their shoulders, the best practice is just the opposite. Executive sponsors are important, but so are advocates along your front-lines. In fact, Google suggests that identifying 5-10% of your employee end-users as change champions is ideal. And of the companies strongly agreeing that change management did deliver against their objectives, 67% said that change champions played a key role.Unfortunately, many end-users aren’t naturally equipped for the role of change champions. That’s why you should look for a cloud migration firm that offers coaching programs specifically designed to help your champions understand the importance of these roles and to fulfill them more effectively.
One mistake that many companies – and even change teams – make is to woo their champions, but ignore the naysayers. Negative feelings in your organization can run deep and be hard to pinpoint, and taking the time to do so is well worth the effort. We use our Transformation Labs to provide an important method for turning detractors into advocates before and after a launch. It helps them discover use case scenarios that get them excited about the new tools. Give those naysayers a voice in communications and trainings to sway these important influencers to your cause.
Communication is the third phase in preparing for change. But since it’s also a continuous effort impacting every stage of a transition, we’ll address it more thoroughly in the following section.
Don’t underestimate the power of marketing internally to your employees. Indeed, a huge portion of change management is ensuring that communications are extensive, frequent, prolonged, accurate, and entertaining.
Personalized help site
Paper (newsletters, handouts, flyers/posters)
Once you decide on which communication channels make the most sense for you, the next step is to establish the actual configurations and messaging. A good change management program provides email templates for key communications. It also trains admins in each channel how to: set the channel up, invite appropriate users, plan and curate content, and interact with submitted questions and feedback.
This training can take a variety of forms: informal, self-paced learning, remote instructor-led training, or in-person classroom.
Sample User Adoption Training Program
Cloudbakers has a number of proprietary training modules that we offer to our clients, depending on their needs. These trainings are constantly updated based on Google's automatic feature updates, and a number of specialized trainings can be offered to users as well. These special sessions could range from task management with Google Cloud to the ins and outs of Hangouts, Google Chrome, and a library of others! At the minimum, you and your team should have the following at your disposal:
Core Training Offerings
Intro to G Suite Package
Gmail Basics Training
Google Drive Trainings
Train the Trainer and Google Champions Sessions
Of these, self-paced learning is the most popular, with 83% of companies reporting it as their primary means. It’s interesting to note, however, that companies with robust change management programs utilized remote instructor-led sessions more (75%). They also used classroom instruction far more (45%) than those companies with light or no change management programs (7%).
The best training plans, of course, offer a mix of these training styles. That’s the Cloudbakers approach.
Cloudbakers offers a comprehensive list of ready-to-go training modules. We start by determining if users need basic introductory training or more in-depth walkthroughs. We recommend using our highly skilled professionals to conduct these trainings, although we sometimes offer train-the-trainer engagements, too.
Good training anticipates the questions your people will have. That’s why we enlist some users to start playing with the systems well before deployment. We want to hear those questions, get their feedback – and find out which trainings would be most useful for their groups.
Then we develop a training plan specific to your employees, taking all this information into account. We want to know which trainings (and their sequencings) need to be conducted prior to deployment. What will users need to know on Day 1? What trainings will help familiarize them with the new systems enough to minimize productivity losses and security risks during your transition?
A user adoption approach to training also ensures more participation. In their study, Google found that training participation rates were all the way down to 22% without change management...but with an excellent change management program, the participation rate rose all the way up to 40%.
Post Go-Live Support
A true change management program doesn’t end with your launch into the cloud. It extends well past your Go Live event(s), offering strategic schedules of communications and training. Some of the change management tactics Cloudbakers has found to be most successful after deployment:
Send tips & tricks emails with updates to the G Suite products
Keep Q&A contact information easily accessible and top-of-mind
Provide progress reports with hard data on rollout and results (such as drive usage, files shared, % of users sharing files, % of users logging into Google, etc.)
Hold strategic meetings with leadership to discuss progress reports, Google Ecosystem, security and compliance audits, and other useful reports
Identify “naysayers” – you know, the folks who resist change. Build a use case for them that will get them excited. One example could be the C-Suite’s executive assistants and helping them prep for board meetings (always a tense, challenging situation). These opportunities are golden — win them over, you win everyone over.
Hold periodic ‘Transformation Labs’ with specific departments in order to create better processes around the tasks you’re still doing the old way.
The main points through this phase are to continue your excitement and momentum beyond launch, to push for better adoption and usage results, and to support the new systems by answering questions and offering additional training as needed.
Approximately six to eight months after your Go Live events, you should reach out again to your users with messages such as:
- We’re still struggling with...
- Here’s what’s changed...
- Ready for the next level? Here’s how to take the next step...
Conclusion and Next Steps
In this blog, we’ve shown the value of change management for your cloud transition. Specifically:
Achieving higher ROI from your new systems
Reducing your IT costs
Improving user adoption and satisfaction rates
Making it easier to meet state or federal regulations, such as record retention and privacy standards
There are many more benefits. Of course – these are just the ones that directly impact your bottom-line. We’ve also shown that not all change management programs are created equal. If you want the best results from an “excellent” program, you need to work with industry leaders such as Cloudbakers.
Your Change Management Program can be customized and “tailor-made” to your organization!
Excellence in change management is a Cloudbakers specialty. With our exclusive change management solutions, you’ll enjoy all the benefits of cloud computing... while minimizing your risks.
So if you’re ready to lift your company into the cloud, the next step is simple: take advantage of Cloudbakers’ complementary Best Practices Review. If you would like a downloadable version of this post to share with your team, please download here.