Cloud IT may cost less, but does it add more?


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What is cloud adoption, and why you need it

All the talk today is about cloud IT systems. They are quickly becoming the Starbucks of the technology world – you can find them everywhere. And it seems that everyone is talking about how fast they are to setup and how much less they cost (at least initially). Which makes me wonder, are they really a good value?

Sure, no one will argue that saving time and money is a bad thing. However, this assumes that all other things remain equal. But what if this cost savings also comes with a drop in value creation?

Unintended Consequences of Cloud IT

One of the unintended consequences – and ironies — of cloud systems is that the speed at which the technology can be deployed has increased may actually slow the rate at which the organization can adopt it. You see, introducing new technology – even simple systems with an intuitive interface – kicks off a chain reaction of change within an organization. New systems come with new business processes, new policies, and new roles and responsibilities. Also, people need to unlearn old ways of working and develop new behaviors using the new system. And doing their jobs.

Cloud technology changes faster than people change

Now the rub: cloud systems go live faster than the people who use them can change to adopt them. Several cloud vendors have indicated they can (and have) had new clients up and running on their new system in less than a week. However, I recently read where it takes a minimum of 66 days for people to form new habits, and that is when they are highly motivated to do so. And when is the last time you saw a user who was highly motivated to adopt a new system? Or change their behaviors. altering how they work on a day-to-day basis?

Change Management is often lacking on cloud IT implementations

Many cloud IT projects move so fast and with such limited budgets that sufficient effort isn’t devoted to change management. Further, when change management is provided, the change methodology is often not appropriate to meet the needs and speed of cloud implementations. The result: low and slow user adoption.

5% cost savings or 25% increase in value? Which would you rather have?

While attending the CloudSlam ’12 conference in San Francisco, I listened as one of the speakers demonstrated how cloud technology had lowered costs at his company by 5%. Everyone sat there with a look of “big deal” on their faces. That is, until the speaker did the math on what a 5% savings meant in real dollars to a multi-billion dollar company was an astonishing amount of money. Real money.

But that’s nothing when you consider research shows up to 25% of the value of an IT system is typically lost due to poor user adoption. If you could increase the value of your IT system by 25% just by increasing user adoption, would you? Pretty soon, that turns into some really big money. Now do you think there is a business case for funding user adoption programs?

Why not have both?

Perhaps the best part is that it doesn’t need to be an either-or proposition. There is no reason why you can’t have both a 5% cost reduction and a 25% increase in value creation. All that it takes is a little effort on your part to make sure people use your cloud IT system.

Other Resources

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Jason Whitehead
Jason Whitehead is CEO of Tri Tuns, LLC, an organizational effectiveness consultancy specializing in driving and sustaining effective user adoption of IT systems. He works at the intersection of technology, process, culture and people to help clients actually achieved measurable business benefits from their technology investments.


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