Organisational Resistence to the Cloud: a view from the Field

The IT industry and many IT leaders are fascinated by the opportunities to change the economics of information management afforded by cloud computing. But what practical steps can you take to get stakeholders to buy into the vision?

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Cloud computing is the IT industry's latest obsession. It is depicted by advocates as a revolutionary to change the economics of information management. Capital expenditure on hardware and on software licences is no longer required and annual taxes for maintenance of enterprise programs goes away together with deployment cycles that take months or years. Instead, Cloud adopters stand to gain from a pay-as-you-go subscription pricing, vastly reduced procurement needs and faster time to market.

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However, every revolution attracts opposition from conservatives, skeptics and others and the Cloud is no exception. Even among those companies that have gone some way towards adopting the new model, plenty of obstacles remain in place.

What are the sources of this resistance? In part there may be inertia caused by an environment that is not prepared to accommodate the shock of change, such as an overloaded helpdesk. For others the issue might be an inability to accept that the days of endless revisions to customise software can no longer be tolerated.

Whatever the cause, organizations making the transition to cloud computing must ask key questions to provide the best possible chance of a smooth change process.

Key to success will be communicating a sense of urgency, creating a steering group, establishing and communicating a vision, winning buy- in, empowering people, showing early wins, tackling hard challenges and repeating and reinforcing change.

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