The Future Decision Makers in the Cloud: Managing Expectations as Power Shifts from IT to the Executives
Could the reign of the IT department over cloud computing business decisions be coming to an end? Writing for ZD Net, Sam Shead reported on a survey that demonstrated a dramatic changing of the guard when it comes to decisions about implementing cloud technologies. Rather than leaders in the IT department, executives are taking charge of critical decisions involving the cloud signaling both the importance of cloud technology and up coming changes in the way this medium will be managed.
The report, issued by Capgemini, covers responses from 460 companies worldwide and provides evidence that a shift is taking place from the IT department to executives without IT experience. Citing the UK as one example, the report states that more times than not, business executives are the key decision makers when it comes to the cloud.
Part of the reason for this change may be the buzz about some IT people viewing the cloud as having a cannibalizing affect on their jobs. More likely it’s the growing importance of how the cloud will fit into the corporate strategy over the next several years.
Conceptualizing the Shift
By understanding the group dynamics behind these moves you can put yourself into a better position to manage these changes by understanding Tuckman’s developmental stages of within groups.
Tuckman’s research in 1965 articulates developmental stages associated with the performance of teams when uniting to achieve a goal. These stages are entitled forming, storming, norming, and performing. For now, we will consider the forming and storming stages pertaining to the power shift from IT to the business executives.
Forming is exactly what it sounds like in that everyone is working together to establish cooperation in a collegial way. The next stage, storming, seems to be where the executives are at now with the IT people. Certainly there is a need to collaborate given the technical issues involved, however it is also at this juncture when both alliances and power structures of the future are being established.
Of course the goal is to move from the storming stage into the norming and performing stages as equilibrium becomes established so everyone can work together to meet goals. However, many teams fail at the storming stage.
Managing the Shift
You can avoid failure at the storming stage by understanding the natural developmental stages found within groups as articulated by Tuckman. Change is much less threatening for players when the groundwork is laid during the norming stage. This is the best time to prepare team members for upcoming changes to help lessen emotional stress. Team leaders need to clearly spell out what the upcoming changes mean for the team member’s duties and the consequent adjustment in expectations.
If the changes are not communicated and agreed to during the norming stage, then leaders can expect serious problems during the storming stage. By communicating early, clearly, and often, leader’s can avoid a lot of unproductive ugliness later.
By Don Cleveland