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Modernization and Cloud Adoption: The Human Side of Change Management

Cloud Adoption

The cloud is ubiquitous in nature and cloud technology inherently transforms organizational culture, as well as consumer satisfaction. In the context of ubiquitous optimization, the human aspect of unmet need becomes an important element of modernization. This unmet need for change and improvement is the primary driver of a digital services modernization transformation. Culture needs to keep pace with cloud modernization as the organization moves from legacy to cloud and from inhibited self-service to enterprise digital government.

The most important aspect of every organization is its people. While most change management approaches focus on systems and processes, Elyon encourages government clients to include the human element in its change management methodology.

Change is good when it enhances the professional growth and value of the people it impacts. A commitment to cultural change is necessary for successful modernization and cloud adoption, and organizational culture can either encourage or prohibit cloud adoption. Because cloud implementations move at cloud speed, employees will have less time to adapt to changes. Your organization can only achieve full implementation as quickly as each employee is willing and able to change their behavior. If cultural change is not managed correctly, cloud adoption could have damaging effects to your department or agency. However, if cloud adoption is implemented properly, your workforce will embrace many positive changes and be productive immediately after implementation or migration.

Cloud computing requires a new way of working, and it is important to focus on the associated change management practices during cloud deployment to give employees an opportunity to adapt to the upcoming changes. Employees need to be prepared emotionally, socially, and technically for these changes that may include new roles and cross-functional teams, and a new way of working.

Emotional Change Management

Change brings about emotions and emotions can be a stimulus for change. Change begins and ends with human beings; however, human beings are guided by emotion and it is human nature to resist change. If you focus on employees in terms of emotional maturity, it allows them to feel personally invested in the change. Employees who feel more invested in the change will have higher motivation levels to embrace the change.

"Company culture is either the number one catalyst or inhibitor to progress." Brian Solis, a leader in the digital transformation movement.

During change, your employees may take things personally. Over a period of time, however, your employees are adaptable to change if you provide them with the right guidance. Elyon recommends that you acknowledge emotions and keep in mind that an emotional commitment is necessary to sustain your employees during the organization’s modernization and cloud adoption journey. One way to do this is to replace emotions with tasks and goals that support the vision. For example, a task would be for an employee to complete an online training model and the goal would be for the employee to attain at least 80% proficiency.

Social Change Management

Most employees have an inherent desire to belong. When you hire a new employee, there is a perception of mutual obligations and benefits. Change means altering this perception. If the perception is altered too much, your employees may stop identifying with groups as they used to, which often produces negative results in the form of decreased morale and performance. A common complaint of social change in the workplace is “This isn't what I signed up for.”

In addition, modernization often changes the organization's hierarchical structure and may also change the relationship between leadership and employees. Elyon has observed that if leadership focuses on changing social working behaviors, the new behaviors will become habits. One way to do this is for leadership to model the desired behavior that supports the change. For example, if a new application is introduced as part of your modernization effort, leadership will use the application and also encourage employees to use it. Another way leadership can focus on changing behavior is to tie the changed behavior to employee reviews and incentives.

Elyon also encourages leadership to reinforce the new behavior. Employees are less likely to consistently adopt new behavior if it is not reinforced. For example, if managers are directed to spend more time coaching junior staff, coaching should be included in their performance scorecards.

Technical Change Management

Modernization generally implies the introduction of new technology. A common emotion associated with implementation of new technology is fear, especially fear of the unknown. This fear can be alleviated if employees gain awareness and understanding of the change as early into the modernization journey as possible. You can prepare your employees for technological change by creating awareness and understanding of the need for change. Elyon coaches its government clients to define the change to employees and communicate it in as much detail as possible as soon as the modernization transformation journey begins, and then continue to reinforce the communication throughout the journey. As employees become more familiar with and more involved with the upcoming changes, they will begin to develop a better understanding of how they will be affected and also become intrinsically motivated. This understanding combined with internal motivation will help to lessen their fear and encourage personal commitment.

Elyon works with its government clients to help them determine what skills will be required as part of the technological change, and perform a skills assessment for each affected employee. The skills assessment is used to identify gaps between employee current skills sets and the skills sets that will be required after modernization. Based on the identified gaps between the required skills and current skills, you can create an individual training plan for each employee. Elyon recommends that its government clients include strategic and critical thinking in each employee’s training plan. By teaching employees how to create and simulate “what if” scenarios, they will be better prepared to embrace and support the subsequent changes that will occur as part of your organization’s modernization transformation journey.

"Cultural change is required across both the IT and non-IT teams (end users)."

About Elyon

Elyon Enterprise Strategies, Inc. is a management consulting firm specializing in business design. Our purpose is to lessen executive burdens, increase organization order, and provide organizations with more hope and success while meeting human needs. We are each client’s most trusted advisor and inspire our clients to transform complexity into enterprise success.

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Bridging the gap between strategy and action

Here at Elyon, we’ve developed the ability to transform organizations through powerful processes and innovative technology. Our team helps you manage the complexities of digital transformation and overcome the struggles of long implementation cycles. 

We have the experience to execute detailed transformation projects from the foundation and planning stages through to the implementation and knowledge transfer phases.

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