“Those who fear the new are the ones who have mastered the old” – Simon Sinek.
Ninety-five percent of you reading this are in IT. Each of you is an expert in your area. You’ve lived through several integrations and the discomfort that often accompanies them. What pitfalls do you think there might be when switching to a new platform – from on premises to the cloud? Follow along as we learn how a local, global tech company moved their operations to the cloud. Some alterations were made to protect client confidentiality and to bring context to the story.
It was mid-way through the 3rd quarter of the year. You could feel the tension rising week after week in the office. People were talking in hushed tones, stopping mid-sentence as Dave, VP of IT Operations walked to his next meeting. Dave decided to start the meeting by asking his team what they believed was the cause for the hushed tones. He had his own opinion, but wanted their input. Sure enough, it seemed the whispers and anxiety where centered around the company’s plan to move a large portion of their IT operations to the cloud.
Dave was determined to turn the tide from anxiety to acceptance and hopefully enthusiasm. “We’ve spent countless hours and millions of dollars on the technology side of this integration. If the employees don’t feel comfortable and confident about their future roles, the integration could fail.”
So Dave called Matt, the Manager of Training and Development, and asked him what should be done. Matt thought about it for a minute. “What we need is to replace guesswork and gossip with factual information. In this case, we’ve already been communicating internally what we’re doing on this project, that we’re moving to the cloud, rollouts, timelines etc., and it seems more of that won’t fix this. I think what we’re missing here is some common understanding of what working ‘in the cloud’ will be like and how different it will be from what we currently do. Tell you what, I’ll call our tech training provider and get their suggestions. They’ve been working with us for years and have created many custom education tracks for us that have been right on target. I’ll get back with you in a few days.”
Matt called Wendy at MAX Technical Training the next day and explained the situation. The two of them immediately scheduled a call with Tim O’Connor, MAX’s expert on both on premise and cloud technology. After a couple of exploratory calls, Wendy, Tim, and Matt, working in league with a few of Dave’s direct reports, identified three distinct obstacles that the training needed to overcome and Tim crafted an outline for the custom training.
Tim explained, “We need to get the employees on the same page, with a basic understanding of the new terminology, and bring to light those areas that will be similar to their current systems and workflows. We also need to address those areas that will be different, how they will differ, and how those involved will be trained and supported until they are secure in their new skills. In this case, the old adage ‘knowledge is power’ is right on the mark. The more the employees know about how their day-to-day work will change, the more comfortable they will become with the change.”
The next week, Matt followed up with Dave. “I met with the MAX team and I think we’ve got a good plan outlined to turn this thing around.” Matt explained how they determined obstacles to overcome – the goals of the education plan along with the content outline drafted by Tim. Here’s what they came up with:
Three obstacles to overcome
- Misinformation and communication disconnect: Employees did not have a common knowledge base nor vocabulary with regard to Cloud Computing.
- Fear of job loss: Many employees feared the change was the beginning of the end for them. They didn’t see the company vision. How could their skills be transferred and augmented to fit the new model?
- Security awareness: Employees needed to be trained to use the cloud securely and to recognize the new kinds of security threats to which cloud use is susceptible.
The Training Plan
The content covered types of cloud infrastructure, the advantages and disadvantages of moving to the cloud, security and privacy considerations, and the basics of migrating to the cloud. Training materials were tailor-made including instructional content and examples, and workbooks. Delivery of the training was also customized to fit this global giant with operations in many countries and time zones. Over 8,000 have been trained via live, in-person or live/virtually. The live/virtual delivery eliminated travel costs.
How It All Ended
Dave and his team approved of the plan, and initial results have been very favorable. And the story is not over! With an organization of this size, implementation follows a two-year timeline and is ongoing. Today, Dave is focusing on other issues. He’s noticed the positive shift in the organization and can feel that his team is looking forward to the future instead of fearing what it might bring.
Sometimes we need a new perspective, a third-party to help us navigate our way. In the everyday world of IT we sometimes forget that while we’re really good at processes, technologies and logic, it’s the people in our organization that make the technology work. That’s why we need companies like MAX Technical Training. They help bridge the gap between the potential our technology can bring and the capability of our employees to confidently harness that potential effectively and efficiently.
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