The success of a cloud computing implementation project often depends on the ability of the organisation to embrace the change. If we are to maximize our chances of moving the organisation in the desired direction, it is critical that we get the entire organisation to buy-in to the vision and expected benefit. Especially in the case of cloud applications which bring a different paradigm of operations to an organisation.
We have to answer the key questions that are top of mind for every user:
- What’s in it for me?
- Why do we need to go through this change?
As with most things in life, positive change typically involves some level of pain. It is important that the project communication plan for cloud applications helps users understand that the change will be worthwhile and relevant to their role in the organisation.
There are many different complimentary methods that a company can employ, but one of the more effective tools is the simple newsletter. This may be in the format of a web site/intranet or a simple one-page document that gets distributed to employees on a regular basis. The format is not so important, it is the content, the audience and the message that counts. Consider the following:
- Coincide your first newsletter with the commencement of the project – possibly as early as when you’re evaluating cloud applications vs. On-premise. This way you can educate users on the benefits of cloud computing for them – such as reduced commute time due to anytime, anywhere access. Then use regular editions to phase in more details as the project moves forward
- Start with the basics – explain the broad project objectives and why the organisation is even considering cloud-based applications
- Include a message from the CEO, stamping her authority and enthusiasm on the project whilst endorsing the objectives and the “why” – C-level sponsorship is particularly important to explaining the culture change that may come with empowering each individual with real-time metrics that make them more effective in their roles
- Include interviews with the key sponsors and departmental heads - let them communicate how they expect the project to benefit their department and their teams
- Inform people how they will be trained on the new technology, and the level of investment the company is making to ensure people know how to get the best out of it
- Communicate key dates and project milestones – this is a great way to ensure that everyone commits to the timeframe
An effective newsletter is an excellent method to install an overall sense of belonging into the end-user base, particularly with a cloud application project since there are generally misperceptions to be countered or just a lack of knowledge that can lead to unnecessary concerns. Put simply, it gets everyone pulling in the same direction to ensure that the project stays true to its course.
There has been considerable research over the past years to suggest that the majority of IT project failures are not due to the technology, but the inability to effect change. The production of a simple newsletter may be something that adds minimal effort with maximum impact and can ensure the successful adoption of cloud applications within the organisation.