The Shift to Cloud Computing: Overcoming Resistance to Change – Part 1

The Shift to Cloud Computing: Overcoming Resistance to Change – Part 1

“Any change, even a change for the better, is always accompanied by drawbacks and discomforts.”
– Arnold Bennett (1867-1931), English novelist.

No one likes change, and a shift to cloud computing represents that very change that people oppose. Consequently, in spite of the very obvious advantages of cloud computing (See: Which Cloud Computing Quality Works For You? ), there are many who want to persist with the traditional IT paradigm. In order to determine how to overcome this resistance to change, it is necessary to know the underlying reasons behind this resistance. This article presents these reasons and discusses possible solutions.

1. People believe that the cost of change is more than the cost savings possible after the change.

This can be countered by providing detailed information about both the cost of the shift to cloud computing and the projected cost savings after implementation. Of course, not all employees need all the information; each employee, depending on company hierarchy, should be presented as much information as required to convince him as to the benefits of the move to the cloud. The cost savings may be under different heads as described in an earlier article (See: How Cloud Computing Can Save You Money ).

2. People fear they are not competent enough to make the change successful.

This can be countered by reassuring them that cloud computing merely builds upon existing technologies and will not require a radical shift in knowledge to master. Of course, sufficient programs to educate and train people will make this assurance more convincing. Programs such as the one being offered by the University of Washington (See: Cloud Computing Goes Mainstream with University Certification Course).

3. People feel they have no role models for such change.

This can be countered by showcasing companies that have embraced cloud computing. These companies would include not only new entities that have made cloud computing a part of their corporate strategy from the very beginning (See: Zynga, the Latest Cloud Computing Success), but also those who have adopted it at a later part of their lives (See: Cars on the Cloud: Microsoft and Toyota Join Hands in Cloud Computing Space).

4. People feel that proponents of change have ulterior motives.

This can be countered by clarifying that a shift to cloud computing will not result in layoffs, especially in the IT department. When a company takes to the cloud, a lot of operations are outsourced to cloud computing service providers, thereby lessening the workload of the in-house IT department. However, the employees there can be retrained for other functions, or even absorbed in the providers’ operations. Buy-in from other employees can be obtained by emphasizing how such a shift will improve revenues and reduce costs, thereby increasing profitability for the company that may trickle down as enhanced performance bonuses.

In the second part of this article, I will present some additional reasons, strategies to possibly counter them and how to manage such strategies.

By Sourya Biswas

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