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Driving growth in the midst of change

Driving growth in the midst of change: Challenges and insights

  • 01 March 2021 / By Mark Ardito

As organizations chart a path to recovery, many are shifting deeper into digital solutions to sell and deliver products and serve customers. At the center of these changes is the need to modernize infrastructure using the cloud to respond quickly, optimize costs and prepare for the future.

True transformation of our people, processes, and tools can be a challenging journey. From breaking down siloes to data visibility and reducing manual tasks that allow your teams to focus on delivering seamless customer experiences.

So, how do you get there?

Challenge: Leadership may not understand the realities of cloud computing or have accurate expectations of digital transformation. 

Transition to cloud computing and other digital transformation initiatives were accelerated in many companies because of the pandemic. In terms of business growth, implementing digital processes, where none existed before, the leadership team may not grasp how the changes will affect operations. This lack of knowledge can impair strategic decision-making that fosters growth.

Insight: Set accurate expectations and address any skepticism in the air through regular updates.

Create a slide deck summarizing wins, keep it up to date, and use it to maintain communication with leadership. Put the information in the context of business growth and how the wins support this.

Challenge: Focus on people who can get lost in the midst of a digital transformation. 

Technology and process can take center stage in a transformation initiative, leaving the people part of the picture behind. Putting workers in catch-up mode can slow down operations and negatively impact the expected business growth. Many digital transformation projects fail because leaders do not have the proper strategies in place to support their staff.

Insight: When starting any new initiative ask yourself:

What new skills will be needed? How will the affected employees be trained to acquire them? What do people need to know, and how often should they be updated on progress? Include a people plan in the larger plan from the beginning.

Challenge:  Is it possible to get so stuck in a solution that you can't back out?

When choosing a cloud provider, or providers, leaders make their decision based on the best fit for what they are trying to solve for now. However many fear that two, three, or five years down the line they may need to switch to another vendor but will be unable without suffering substantial switching costs.

Insight: There are a huge amount of benefits from doing cloud-native work

The fear of future cloud migration should not keep you from investing in the cloud. For example, unwinding a lambda function and moving it over to a Google Cloud function is not the daunting task that most people think because of their portable nature. Cloud products are all based on open source, each having its own flavor, but at the core, they still have a lot of the same tenants. Another option to avoid the fear and possibility of vendor lock-in is adopting a multi-cloud strategy. This also allows companies to take full advantage of best-of-breed solutions.

Challenge: Leaders must develop a data and analytics strategy to effectively manage and utilize the abundance of data that is now in the cloud.

The reality of cloud computing is that there are massive amounts of data that cloud operations will generate. Management of that data in terms of user access requires a different approach from on-premises data centers.

Insight: There are numerous facets to managing data in the cloud. 

Fundamentally, make sure your people have the right tools at hand to work effectively with cloud-based data. And don’t stop there. This requires a different way of thinking, and it’s important that you train your employees well so that they can be productive in the new environment. In terms of data management, the cloud allows greater transparency into data usage, who is using what, and where. Use this transparency to manage access, provide greater data resources to the workforce, and ensure data security.

Challenge: “Our culture will suffer because all of our staff is working from home.”

Many companies have realized that employees can work effectively while remote, even seeing productivity rise in most cases. Leaders now struggle to find the same sense of culture while their staff is no longer face-to-face.

Insight: Many leaders have recognized that the right technologies can not only support secure and productive work from home but can also be leveraged to boost morale. 

While this doesn’t mean that all companies will now be shifting to a fully remote model in a post-pandemic world, steps can be taken now to improve the employee experience. Make sure to encourage employees to use video during internal meetings. Face-to-face time, even virtually, is valuable. Find fun ways for staff to interact outside of meetings or email chains to emulate water-cooler talk or host virtual events to bring coworkers together.

Change, whether proactive or reactive, is part of growing any business. As more companies dive deeper into digital strategies, growth will need to occur in an environment characterized by change. The challenges shared here (and the meeting participants’ insights) are useful for any tech manager transforming for growth.

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