You’re still with me! That’s great! We are onto our penultimate blog in our series of 6 exploring the people and process requirements of Cloud transformation. As you know by now – a quick recap and then we’re into our final reason.
Cloud utilisation should be the focus not just adoption to drive the needed benefits and competitive advantage and that is achieved by ensuring a balance between people, process and tech with your transformation
We’ve covered the need for clarity of intention and prioity, the C-suite leadership coverage and a deep-dive into the world of risk. This blog, covers our final reason and a theme that has run throughout the preceeding 3:
REASON 4: PROACTIVE UPSKILLING
In all the other blogs I’ve made reference to education – of the Board, of the Risk function to name a few and that really is a fundamental part that all too often doesn’t start early enough.
With the dominance of CTO/CIO led transformations, education is often restricted to technical training and technical teams and even more scarily often only those directly involved in the creation of Cloud infrastructure or applications.
There is an unspoken assumption that cloud is an evolution of previous development approaches and people can “pick it up”. That is not an effective way to approach the collective-action organisational wide utilisation of Cloud that delivers ROI and creates competitive advantage.
It has to come from within as well as from outside
Organisations needs to lean into the reskilling challenge across all areas. Yes, an injection of new people with knowledge and experience is needed to head the journey both technically and culturally. It is after all unfair to ask people to change without a role model and visible example of what that looks like, but unless you love a redundancy approach that is only part of the equation.
With over 2 million Cloud related roles unfilled globally, no one can afford the cost or time of adding a whole new Cloud division let alone injecting cloud experience into every aspect of the organisation. Change has to be made internally not just externally.
“External Change is not possible unless an internal change is done.” – Vraj_Mk
There is a lot of fantastic generic Cloud training available, but what you need is the specifics of how your organisation is going to be using the technology to deliver competitive advantage. It’s the customisation of the infrastructure to comply with your risk model and security guardrails, the tooling choices you have chosen, the aspects of the process that are now automated, the way evidence of control is now collected. All of these aspects need to be articulated in a way that allows your teams from board to junior to appreciate and get onboard with the change.
“External circumstances will not change until internal belief systems change.” – Miles Munroe
For Everyone, not just for Techies
One of the key stated advantages of Cloud is the level of automation – this means that what your employees focus on shifts from “doing” to “managing” in many areas – a higher value-add set of roles – but results in a lot of employees that do not have the skills or mindset to work in the new world, unless you help them.
As stated it is not just roles in tech that need to change – Cloud is often coupled with a DevOps approach – so that’s a lot of Operational roles that are no longer required, and it is a big shift for many of the key control functions – risk, security, legal, finance and procurement to name just a few – all of them need to be educated into how the use of cloud, the associated automation, the shift to opex, the change to risk taxonomy etc of how your organisation is utilising Cloud will affect their roles on a day-to-day basis too. This needs to be planned alongside (preferably in advance) any of the technical implementations.
An organisational wide education and reskilling programme can totally overhaul the effectiveness of the technical delivery – akin to that step-back and really understanding what the tech can do for each individual function and resource.
This aspect is probably the most common reason why Technology-led change fails to deliver in a sustainable fashion. If you swap out the tech without changing the skills, knowledge and mindset of those that use it, they will essentially morph that new tech back into the old tech by applying old thinking, old habits and old resourcing ratios etc –just making the new tech a more expensive version of the old.
Start at the top
Linking this back to blog 2 on the top-down approach, education needs to start at the top and ensuring the board and senior leadership teams all have a depth of understanding and appreciation of Cloud. We have seen great success with Board Cloud days – utilising online training provided by the likes of CSP themselves or multi-cloud training solutions like A Cloud Guru, coupled with in-room discussions around various aspects like risk, or finance.
Once the top table have an appreciation, they each need to have a systemic programme for their area – sharing the ways Cloud can positively affect their areas – leaning into the fear of the unknown; fear of the impact on their roles and offering them insight into how their areas will change and reassuring them that the organisation will support them in reskilling or maturing their skills and knowledge to take on the new world.
“You can look for external sources of motivation and that can catalyse a change, but it won’t sustain one. It as to be from an internal desire.” – Jillian Michaels
Learning and development is of course a two-way street, and it is essential that you outline the mutual responsibility for a learning culture; whereby you offer access and time to re-skill whilst expecting continued performance during the transition. Your employees understand they need to drive their development personally – creating the time, doing the work and evolving themselves to be value-add employees for the new operating model, role and tasks they will be taking on.
This can afford people the opportunity to completely change their career trajectory, and supporting that is hugely inspirational and invigorating for some. You also need to not be afraid of that meaning some people will leave – if they don’t want to go on the journey with you, that’s ok. But you need to make it clear the direction of travel for the organisation is not optional.
Executed effectively Cloud should mean a smaller workforce, natural attrition can be you friend if you have a strategic workforce plan that is aligned to your collective-action plan for organisational transformation, this provides opportunities to move permanent employees into vacancies delivering benefits throughout the transitional periods.
For a great case study on a company that has realised the immense benefits of an enterprise-wide systemic learning culture then go to ACG and download their ManTech Case Study
And don’t forget, according to LinkedIn, 94% of employees say they would stay at a company longer if it invested in their career – with the level of change needed to realise sufficient benefits from Cloud to deliver competitive advantage, staff retention is a great additional benefit too.
Having covered off the 4 reasons individually, next – in the final blog of this series – the power of bring them together.
Recap on the blog series so far by clicking here