I’ve been in the cloud game for over 15 years—since before it was cool—which means I’ve watched from a front-row seat as cloud completely changed the game for business and IT leaders. Today, as even the biggest enterprises are sunsetting their legacy, on-premises systems and embracing the cloud, the work we do as consultants is more important than ever.
After all, a cloud solution can only deliver on its full potential when business processes and organizational culture are fully aligned to it.
Here at Oracle Consulting, we see our organization as the bridge between the technology and the customer. It’s our mission to blend delivery and execution with human-centered, cultural transformation.
Cloud is a culture shift, first and foremost. Get your culture right, and you can make cloud soar. But how do you shift your culture? And, why is that important?
To help bring clarity to these nuanced conversations around culture, we adhere to eight attributes that we firmly believe are at the heart of every highly functioning “Cloudy” Culture.
Of course, each trait serves a vital role, but today I’d like to explain why empowerment is the silver bullet for cloud success.
When we engage with clients, one of our imperative goals is to cultivate an environment in the cloud where people feel capable and confident to make decisions at the pace of innovation, based on a well-defined set of criteria. Empowerment, done right, signifies a team of confident professionals who are aligned around a vision.
But how do you know if your workplace culture lacks empowerment?
Do you ever find yourself fielding questions that anyone could figure out on their own? Would your team describe the way we do things as an iterative, flexible process or simply the path of least resistance?
Is it hard to recall the last time someone approached you, unprompted, with a bold new idea or an outside-the-box solution to a problem that’s been plaguing your organization?
Do people tend to keep their heads down and stay in their lanes until a moment of crisis snaps them out of it? And then what happens? Is there a spirit of collaborative ownership or do you see a lot of buck passing and us versus them language?
These are the signs of a disempowered workplace.
Let me be clear: a top-down, command-and-control organization can be effective in many scenarios. That said, I can tell you from firsthand experience that attempting any transformation as wide reaching as a cloud implementation without an empowered team can have a domino effect that derails the entire project. Lack of empowerment impedes decision making, discourages innovation, and creates finger pointing situations—all of which slow the pace of the implementation—costing time and money, and creating a negative, frustrating experience.
Empowerment is the end result of doing things the right way
Everyone knows their roles and responsibilities, and there’s mutually understood organizational clarity around the competencies needed to get to the end state.
Decisions are made on a timely basis through empowered leaders at every level—not just at the top. Innovation is woven into the fabric of your team, so people feel safe and supported to bring new ways of thinking to the table. Transparency bolsters that sense of communal purpose, and measurements are used along the way to keep the team on track.
It creates a positive, invigorating experience because everyone is equally invested in and empowered to deliver on the shared vision.
Embracing change, developing cloud-confidence
A move to the cloud is an opportunity for businesses to embrace iterative and agile processes. I’ll be honest, this is a learning curve for most organizations. And, we’ve found that sometimes the larger the organization, the more dramatic (and sometimes uncomfortable) this learning curve can feel.
To help our clients gain confidence in this new way of working, we help lead them through change—teaching, advising, and executing on quick wins to gain confidence. We draw on the knowledge of why things were done in the past, and align on how they will be done in the future, to realize their desired business outcomes.
Empowerment is the key to cultivating a cloudy culture
When people trust their decision-making capabilities, they’re more likely to promote transparency and collaboration between lines of business. This streamlines processes and bolsters versatility as people learn to shift roles across teams. All of these behaviors foster the ideal environment for a cloudy culture, which fuels innovation and leads to greater acceleration.
That’s why I tell my clients: If you're going to over-index on any one attribute of a cloudy culture, it should be empowerment. Any resource dedicated to building confidence is a worthy investment because empowered people move mountains.
Is your culture cloud-ready?
Take our Cloud Readiness Assessment and let me know what you think in the comments.
Beth Boettcher serves as Oracle's senior vice president, North America Applications Customer Champions. In this role, she sets and activates customer-first strategies to deliver exceptional experiences that build customer loyalty and advocacy.
Prior to leading the Customer Champions organization, Boettcher served as senior vice president for Oracle Consulting, and most recently, senior vice president for Human Capital Management sales.
Boettcher had a stellar 19 years at Accenture, pioneering its cloud consulting business. In the very early days of cloud, she established the first methodology used in the market to rapidly and predictably deploy software; deployed the first large-scale global SaaS solution; and helped lead the first project where a SaaS solution was integrated into a large enterprise. Boettcher worked with a creative leadership team to accelerate growth and innovation, playing a pivotal role in regularly doubling annual business and in shaping what is now Accenture's multibillion-dollar Cloud First business.
Boettcher is an energetic, innovative, and collaborative leader who believes in rolling up her sleeves and diving into the heart of our customers' initiatives.
Boettcher graduated from Southern Methodist University with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Marketing and serves on the Board of Directors for BriteCore and Colorado Technology Association.