If you're about to embark on a cloud migration, the last thing you might be concerned about is end-user satisfaction. After all, everyone wants to upgrade their systems, right? Everyone wants to use modern cloud technology, right? Everyone wants to use the same cloud-based software titles – such as Gmail, Outlook, Microsoft Office, and Google Docs to name a few – that they use at home.... right?
At least, you're wrong if you think winning end-user satisfaction is that easy.
As a company, you have your reasons for undertaking a cloud migration. Those reasons include factors such as cost, scalability, maintenance, upgrades, architecture, and more. The thought that end-users might not like the changes seems an afterthought.
Why wouldn't they?
Because most people have a natural aversion to change. Even if you think that change will be "good" for them, they might not want to be bothered by it. That’s why it’s so important to pick the right partner for your cloud migration – a partner who anticipates this resistance to change and knows how to use it to your advantage.
So why would employees who use Google Docs at home resist a cloud migration that would allow them to use those same software tools at work?
Too many decision-makers look at that question and discount it. They feel as though the cloud migration will actually be doing those employees a favor. Because of this perception, they don't see the need to address team morale or end-user satisfaction up front – they assume the migration itself will make those measures go up instead of down.
But end-users see things differently. They don't see changes as "just making things better”, as in their minds, things may be made better for administrators but not them. They’re more concerned with how those changes will affect them. Some of those concerns might be:
- Disruption of work over a period of time
- Reduced productivity
- Losing all their current shortcuts and workarounds to get things done
- Having to learn new systems and features
- Dealing with the hiccups and bugs that accompany new systems
- Poor experiences with previous implementations or trainings
Any of these reasons could cause what high level decision-makers might view as an inexplicable resistance to change. But the truth is this: even the users of a much-maligned legacy system will, over the course of time, learn how to use that system as efficiently as they can. They'll discover the routines and shortcuts that make their daily work predictable. And that's what they stand to lose when migrating to a new system, even if it’s a better one: predictability.
Winning Hearts and Minds
So how do you deal with that natural resistance to change?
With a structured change management program, of course. One of the key benefits of adding a change management program to your cloud migration is to win the hearts and minds of your end-users.
As we discuss at length in our white paper, From DOA to ROI: Navigating Corporate Cloud Transitions with Change Management the time to begin thinking about end-user satisfaction is on day one. Not day one of implementation, but day one of the planning process.
A good change management program will:
- Answer questions and concerns employees have before the systems are implemented
- Solicit feedback from employees to assess their perception of how new systems will affect them
- Communicate the benefits for end-users of the new systems
- Communicate the benefits for the company of the new systems
- Preview the new systems and how the changes will impact employees
- Identify major concerns so you can develop strategies to deal with them before implementation
The key to effective, Cloudbakers-style change management is that it addresses resistance in a pro-active rather than re-active manner. In effect, you “win the hearts and minds” of your end-users before you even launch the systems.
One myth about change management is that change management ends once the migration work is done. This is not even remotely true.
When, exactly, is a cloud migration “done?”
Is it when the first wave of systems launches? Is it when the previous and/or legacy systems they’re replacing are officially turned off? Is it when all your systems are migrated to the cloud? Is it when the systems go live, when the end-users are fully trained, or when utilization rates hit a certain percentage?
The very notion of “done” is uselessly vague… it often has more to do with managers signing off on a project than on any real usage factors.
A change management program, on the other hand, should continue long after your cloud migration project ends. That’s because change management is all about maximizing efficiency and improving end-user satisfaction always, not just during and up until day one of Go Live.
Let’s face it: day one of a software launch is not going to be your high point of end-user satisfaction. But with change management, you can:
- Ramp up excitement and anticipation for the “event”
- Improve familiarity with the systems to allow a smoother transition
- Communicate known problems and workarounds
- Have resources ready and platform experts on hand to help guide new users
All these activities help minimize the disruption of a cloud migration. They also help improve user adoption numbers as well as end-user satisfaction with the new systems.
Beyond your Go Live day, change management should be your primary strategy for improving adoption and satisfaction. Some of the continuous improvement methods you’ll find in a Cloudbakers migration plan are:
- Sharing “power user” tips
- Communicating progress and “best use” stories
- Expanding FAQs and knowledge bases
- Soliciting feedback from end-users
- Developing plans for continuous education and/or system improvements
Start Planning for End-User Satisfaction Now
If you’re even thinking about a cloud migration, the time to start planning for end-user satisfaction is now. With Cloudbakers as your partner, you can take advantage of all our cloud migration experience, including our ground-breaking change management program.
We’ll show you how to start a satisfaction baseline if you don’t have one. What do they like and dislike about the systems they’re using now? What new features or capabilities would improve their daily routines?
Mine the data you already have, then develop strategies to obtain the additional data you need. End-User Advisory Councils are an excellent way to engage your influencers – and possibly your detractors, too. Post mortem surveys after every launch will tell you what you did right and wrong. Periodic follow-up surveys will illustrate whether end-user satisfaction is evolving in a positive or negative fashion as they gain experience.
With a Cloudbakers migration plan, you’ll see how being proactive instead of reactive with your end-users can make all the difference – the difference between judging your cloud migration a success versus a disaster. Choose a smooth, successful cloud migration… contact Cloudbakers today.Originally published on April 12, 2018