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The People in the Cloud


June 21, 2016

3 minute read

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This post was written by Kevin Liu, partner manager and cloud deployment specialist at Avalon Solutions, and was originally published on Medium. Join Kevin on June 29th for his upcoming session at Cloud IT Live–IT Pro 2.0: The Next Generation of Problem Solvers.

For decades, on-premise solutions have tethered our work to physical locations. It made sense when we still had dial-up connections to the internet and a phone call could disrupt Lotus Notes from loading. Today the concept is as arcane as the 8 AM to 5 PM workday in a cubicle.

Computers have shrunk from the size of a room to now fit in every hipster’s skinny jeans. So why are we still running servers in building basements and saving things locally on end-users’ computers?

Let’s address the fear: The fear of change is real. A vast majority of our work revolves around a certain set of tasks and processes. When cloud technologies are brought in to replace existing systems, many employees become fearful of not being able to adapt. “This works, I can do my work, why do we need change?”

Without change, there is no progress. When a company moves to a cloud solution, it’s not just an upgrade to the tools beings used, it drives an upgrade in the people. New tools mean that employees can learn new skills and develop improved work processes. Increased collaboration is a catalyst for new ideas and more effective communication. Changing how people work empowers them to choose when and where they want to work.

None feel more vulnerable to change than the IT professionals who keep existing on-premise systems running. Most have spent their entire careers safeguarding local servers against bloated email attachments and Nigerian princes. Only the most naive (or altruistic) of IT professionals would willingly let their jobs be eliminated. But a move to the cloud does not mean IT professionals have to be left behind.

Technology mobilizes workforces but only if IT is there to pave the way. Embracing the change demonstrates an understanding of the future workplace, it shows thought leadership. IT professionals should be pioneers in embracing cloud technology. After emails and documents are in the cloud, it is only a matter of time before everything else can be untethered.

Change management in a cloud deployment project addresses the fear of change.Four parties are critical to shortening the adoption lifecycle:

  • A committed leadership team presents a clear vision of the transformation. Give them a flag to carry.
  • Early adopters gauge the existing atmosphere and provide feedback on how the change will be received. Listen to them.
  • Passionate change champions rally the troops and drive enthusiasm during the transition. Identify them early on and leverage their influence.
  • A dedicated IT team provides training to end-users and supports the ascension to the cloud. Equip them with knowledge and resources.

Together this combination of engagement ensures that all cloud projects are by the people, for the people. A company’s future in the cloud is only limited by the reluctance of its employees. From the savannah to the cubicle, to the cloud, where are you now?

Kevin Liu (@KevKevLiu) is a Partner Manager and Cloud Deployment Specialist at Avalon Solutions. Born in São Paulo, raised in Beijing, educated in Boston, and now a Stockholm resident, he is a devoted foodie and movie binger.