The cloud has long been hailed as a disruptor of modern markets. For most industries, this isn’t far from the truth – but for some, it couldn’t be truer. 

High-tech companies are recognizing the cloud’s potential to transform not just their bottom line, but their entire operation. Over the last eighteen months, we have been helping a leading manufacturer of semiconductor components to navigate the various planes of the high-tech cloud landscape. In joining their transition, Accenture aimed to bring the cloud closer to their workforce. 

Transforming on Uncertain Ground

One of the first prerequisites of any transformation – digital or otherwise – is an understanding of your own processes; what is done where and how, why it is done and by whom. This forms the blueprint for a successful cloud migration, allowing you to embark on a journey that is tailored to your specific objectives.

Our client had already begun their cloud journey, so our goal was not to plot their trajectory but rather to ensure that the learning curve was as fruitful as it could be. As a global leader in high-tech manufacturing, they were well acquainted with disruption and sought to leverage it even while developing a long-term cloud vision.

Fortunately, learning strategies can be developed on a smaller scale with only an understanding of the organization’s current and ideal skill portfolio. Regularly scheduled learning tasks and communication exercises, as well as daily monitoring of performance indicators, can ritualize agility into a young cloud team. This allowed our client to build on a foundation that is both sturdy and flexible. 

The essential by-product of flexible and open-minded teams is an increase in interdepartmental collaboration. Business and IT, for example, have a long-standing tradition of operating in silos, allowing each department to focus on its own value proposition. However, enabling these teams to work together allowed us to navigate both existing and developing threats to our client’s transition, preempting potential potholes instead of waiting to adjust to them.

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Developing the Necessary Knowledge Systems

The only way to adjust for a workforce’s fear of the unknown is by demystifying new concepts. And since our client already had a digital environment, our priority was to contextualize cloud computing for every level of the organization to help the workforce navigate on their own.

Based on an assessment of the existing employees’ skill portfolio, we developed 108 different targeted learning programs in cooperation with the cloud service providers, focused on the different functions within the organization. This allowed employees to understand how the cloud could support their unique contributions to the business’ value proposition. And for those that were uncertain which path to choose, we also offered a wide variety of self-study learning paths. 

Though awareness programs can be composed using data, engagement programs are not as straightforward. Checkpoint, milestone and KPI tracking only convey the extent to which a workforce is or is not adapting to a new environment, without shedding light on the potential reasons why. Therefore, we curated a year-long plan with regularly scheduled check-ins – with key stakeholder groups from both, business and IT – to better support our data learnings with the personal experiences of the workforce. 

For example, we found that our formal educational materials were most effective when supported by a social learning infrastructure. The more our clients’ employees knew about how their own colleagues use the cloud, the more compelled they were to find out for themselves.

After all, the cloud is not just a one-size-fits-all solution. It is a tool that can be fitted to support numerous functions. Horizontal communication between colleagues is just as crucial for long-term change as top-down communication from the leadership.

Humanizing the Cloud

Among 200 senior IT executives, the most common barriers to cloud transitions were all found to be human-related. This makes sense, as 75% of leaders admit to lacking sufficient cloud skills within their organization. If you intend to address these concerns without overwhelming your workforce and leadership, it’s important to remember that people within big companies tend to function a lot like technology systems.

You can calibrate the skill portfolio your workforce needs to achieve a certain outcome by managing the organizational culture like a tech infrastructure – with regular monitoring, assessment and development. Technology took decades to achieve its current speed and functioning. And with the right care and attention, we can engineer the human systems to adapt to the cloud’s speed, agility and innovation.

The human side of cloud computing is all about how people work together to get the most out cloud data and technology. We helped our client prioritize their people as much as their tech by triggering the vision among various organizational stakeholders, driving continuous cloud learning and erecting a communicative infrastructure where the cloud intake process could be shared effectively. 

The cloud is an intricate and developing technology, making it tricky but extremely lucrative to leverage. Onboarding your workforce is the most important first step because it allows you to continue the cloud conversation.

Do you want to pursue Cloud Transformation and Adoption within your own high-tech environment? Get in touch with Marije Linden for an approach tailored to your business challenges.

Marije Linden

Senior Manager – Accenture Strategy & Consulting, Talent & Organization, Human Potential

Contact Marije Here

 

Marije Linden

Senior Manager – Accenture Strategy & Consulting, High Tech Industry

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