Posted on November 8, 2017 by Arun Kirupananthan
The biggest obstacles to cloud adoption often have nothing to do with technology. In my experience, many cloud efforts fail due to misalignment with internal stakeholders.
Various departments reap the security, efficiency and flexibility benefits of the cloud. Yet, sometimes those very same groups are reluctant adopters. Their reluctance is not surprising since the cloud’s many benefits also bring uncertainty. With all that the cloud can do and so much knowledge needed to get it right, it can seem overwhelming.
The challenge, of course, is that moving to the cloud in a meaningful way is not something IT can do alone. Efforts must align with the needs of IT, finance, security and strategic projects. Failing to achieve this drives up costs and creates performance and security issues. At worst, your cloud initiative is a self-fulfilling prophecy to those who hesitated.
So how do you keep people moving forward in the right direction?
Each stakeholder group has unique concerns about moving forward with the cloud. For example, IT fears losing control of infrastructure. Finance has concerns with how to budget for the cloud and new procurement models. The Security worries about compliance requirements and monitoring. C-level decision makers prompt many cloud initiatives. But, peer buy-in is also critical to success. For instance, if application teams fear the cloud, they may not use it. You can try to force your infrastructure decisions on users. A better approach is to make them want the cloud in the first place.
Here are some of the best practices I have gleaned from our cloud governance workshops. These simple steps work wonders when it comes to overcoming internal adoption barriers.
Nothing beats experience for getting over the fear of the unknown. Shed light on the benefits of cloud by showing it in action in your environment. Take a production workload – say, an app that everyone cares about — and migrate it to the cloud. “Exposure therapy” will prove the value of the cloud model to cloud-averse adopters.
Tip: Start with something manageable but important. A good workload candidate is a website or web app with a dynamic front-end and mobile user base. This will have the ideal level of importance to show clear advantages.
Cloud is not a one-and-done event. You need ongoing education, training, collaboration and communications around cloud projects. To foster this, build a new cross-functional team. Remember, the impetus to adopt cloud may have come from the CEO. Its success relies on peers working side-by-side.
Tip: To help the team succeed, move away from thinking less about “training” and more about “adoption.” Cloud is a model you adopt, not a destination you reach.
In places where cloud intersects with finance and security, governance is key. There are two aspects of governance that you must address:
Financial governance: Cloud changes your technology consumption model from CAPEX to OPEX. Meanwhile, elements like usage and performance become indicators of spend. If you don’t establish good governance processes, it’s easy to over-spend. Through good financial governance practices, the cloud becomes a boon to finance. They can divide technology costs between departments through charge-backs and show-backs. This increase in accountability may be music to the ears of the finance group. It may also make it easier for departments to get funding because they can tie it to a project.
Operational governance. One of the cloud’s biggest advantages is the ease of provisioning resources. Automation or orchestration further improve this but demand another layer of diligence. To succeed in this area, you must define roles and responsibilities. Determine the person responsible for infrastructure procurement. Decide who has authority to turn on cloud services. Assess your security posture in the cloud.
Tip: Balance easy provisioning for cloud resources with the necessary compliance and controls. If it takes weeks of paperwork to request cloud infrastructure, the advantages disappear.
These ideas will help establish the proof stakeholders need to embrace bigger projects. Showing the actual governance benefits will drive internal adoption. Start converting cloud naysayers into cloud champions!