Expert Advice for Medium and Midsize Businesses

How to Manage Change When Moving to the Cloud

Guest Author

By Tom Colbert, Director Organizational Change Management, CSS

How can your company manage the changes associated with moving to the cloud?

To succeed, small and medium businesses must remain ahead of the change curve. Business transformation in the SMB space can affect culture, the mindset of the workforce, and your future as an organization. When you consider that more than half of the entire workforce is employed by SMBs, it’s important to maintain employee satisfaction and productivity.  

When focusing specifically on cloud change management, there are three key steps:

  1. Learn how to apply organizational change management tools for the cloud, ushering in rapid end-user adoption
  2. Use a “Stability versus Sustainability” model to fully leverage the cloud and maximize benefits well into the future. Your SMB’s ability to sustain changes, even after a transformation initiative has ended, is critical to success.
  3. Discover techniques to align executives and IT to successfully deploy rapid solutions.

With Great Innovation Comes Great Change

This post is the first in a series to guide you through a change management process. The benefits of this process include:

  • Improving margins
  • Arriving at insight-driven decisions
  • Reducing the risk of technology obsolescence
  • Standardizing processes
  • Reducing costs
  • Improving operational efficiency
  • Aligning IT with company initiatives
  • Achieving rapid innovation
  • Improving customer engagement and retention

IT and Line-of-Business Alignment

As you begin this process, significant attention should be given to IT/line-of-business alignment, with IT taking a leadership role. The IT team should regularly engage with members of the executive business team to build and strengthen the relationship. To quote Harvard Business Review, the “defining attribute of a great business relationship” is “when each party has an emotional stake in the other’s success.”

Rather than employing a control type of leadership where IT simply lays down the rules, savvy IT leaders should embrace the influencer style of management. Honing these types of leadership skills helps to ensure that communication roadblocks are removed and the talents of the entire line of business team are recognized and maximized.

Additional tips for IT leaders:

  • Be open to possibilities as you offer and find alternatives in the ongoing search for the best and most economical solutions. Sometimes, you might want to keep your existing system and implement a hybrid approach to cloud. Other times, you might decide to go all-in with a unified cloud solution.
  • Help with “what-if” analyses of risks based upon your experience.
  • Prioritize IP protection, data privacy and other security-related issues to ensure that key business continuity concerns are successfully addressed.
  • Share your knowledge about the importance of architecture, including systems of record and the company’s speed and agility needs.
  • Encourage all teams to get involved in the selection and implementation process from start to finish.
  • Incorporate feedback from process participants to create the best selection of options and to achieve buy-in throughout the organization.

For more detailed information on moving to the ERP Cloud read the new eBook, Your Complete Guide to Modern ERP.

Tom Colbert, Director Organizational Change Management at CSS, leads Oracle ERP Cloud and on-premises implementation projects using change management strategies. He specializes in the human factors that can impact technology projects. CSS is an Oracle Platinum and Cloud Select partner recognized as a thought leader for its work across applications, industries, and sustainability efforts. The company was selected as the winner of Oracle’s Customer Focus award in 2017.

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