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Denial, anger and cloud

By David Cornwell: Head of Cloud Sales, Telefónica UK

I recently read a blog on cloudindustryforum.org about the 4 stages of cloud adoption. They are…

  • Denial – What cloud apps? Where?
  • Anger – Will you please stop uploading sensitive data!
  • Depression – I’ll never manage all these apps. I can’t go on…
  • Acceptance – These cloud apps are actually great for business!

While I thoroughly recommend this blog, and in almost every organisation I talk to I know these maxims are true to some extent, I’m not sure I understand why.

From my own point of view, I wouldn’t quite describe myself as an early adopter, but I strongly believe that technology can have a positive impact and will adopt it whenever I’m sure it will do so. In fact, as I write this I’m sitting in a café near Euston, writing with a stylus on my iPad in a cloud-based application. Not exactly bleeding edge – but the tech has enabled me to travel today carrying just a wallet, tablet and phone. And still work as if I would at a desk in the office.

So if technology, and in particular cloud, can help us be better, faster and ultimately stronger, why does it cause denial, anger and depression?

I think the answer lies in fear and complexity. Cloud can bring fear of the unknown, of losing control, of escalating security concerns and even the loss of relevance of the IT team to the business. And it’s hard to ignore that migration to the cloud will always bring some level of complexity.

I speak to dozens of customers every month about their cloud journey or aspirations. Almost all will either be fully ‘in the cloud’ (this is rare, but in some cases very true) or will be at some point on a journey towards cloud.  But fear and complexity, and most often the fear of complexity, are always a factor in either blocking or significantly slowing their progress to their individual goals.

So what’s the answer? If we know we’re going to end up at acceptance, at actually thinking cloud is great, how can we skip stages 1, 2 and 3? Everyone I speak to who’s now using cloud services believes it’s having a positive impact on their people and how they work. So how do we accelerate this for other organisations?

The answer is in the detail. Looking into the detail of the technology and services you want to migrate and, more importantly, into the detail of people’s behaviours and how they work.  And understanding how the combination of mobility and cloud will enable change. Once you understand the detail – and it is easier than it sounds – then the migration strategy becomes a lot clearer, with greatly reduced risk. And it can be executed much more quickly, with a far greater impact to you and your people.

In my role at O2 I’ve seen this issue many times before, both internally and with many of our customers. We’ve faced numerous challenges, built plans to alleviate them, and ultimately successfully executed these complex migrations time and time again. We know that the first step in doing this is to gather that detailed understanding of technology and people, and we’ve built a number of products to achieve this. From simple Cloud Footprint Assessments to Cloud Readiness Assessments to assess the viability of cloud and recommend a solution, and even people studies to understand the working practices of your people and why cloud services might be of benefit. I can’t deny that I’ve never seen people in denial, anger or depression over cloud, but thankfully it’s getting less and less. As someone who believes in cloud, roll on acceptance!

Ready to scale up your business? Call an O2 business specialist on 0800 028 0202 or call free from your O2 mobile on 8002.


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