Cloud adoption in the telecommunications industry has accelerated due to the growing need for business agility, cost reduction and the opportunity to reposition for new services and markets. But many organizations in other industries that adopted the cloud failed to achieve desired benefits mainly due to the people and organization-related challenges. A successful cloud implementation requires more than just technology; it requires the adoption of new ways of working, adding different capabilities and cultural shifts.
Communication Service Providers (CSPs) are large organizations with entrenched culture, structures and long-standing skills. Such environments can prohibit achieving agile operations and ultimately a successful cloud adoption. How can CSPs address these issues to become a cloud-ready organization? The answer lies in understanding and proactively managing people, processes and cultural requirements. CSPs beginning a cloud adoption should start the process by addressing these blockers up front.
Start with Questions to Evaluate Cloud Adoption Readiness
Cloud migration programs can be overwhelming for the technology and project teams to manage. A program can include one or more significant technological changes for the organization such as different ways to harness data, infrastructure services, on-demand software applications, machine learning and smart development. From a people and process perspective, these changes are complex, impacting people across the organization in different ways. There may be role changes, requirements for new skills and compliance and security policy changes that could impact the entire organization. To manage all this change successfully, it is essential to shift the employee mindset and organizational culture toward agile principles. This is the most challenging aspect of the technology transformation.
From the outset, CSPs should ensure proper alignment with the program objectives. The questions below can help assess cloud adoption maturity from a people perspective and identify what to add or amend as needed for success:
A Shared Vision at the Core
A critical aspect of the people-focused strategy for transformation success is to share and constantly communicate the change vision. To drive changes across the organization, program objectives must be understood. This is an important enabler for business transformation and individuals’ growth and development. Employees should see that any new skills required will enable them to thrive in a global environment that demands greater agility, speed and improved customer orientation. By focusing on people, and organizational readiness and capabilities to operate effectively in a cloud-enabled environment, CSPs can monitor the changes required to develop and implement tailored strategies and adjust accordingly.
Wipro helps clients succeed with business and cloud transformation journeys by applying Organizational Change Management (OCM) principles and best practices to guide leaders and teams. These principles build the commitment, engagement and capabilities that are necessary to become a cloud-ready organization. Putting the shared vision at the center of the cloud transformation program unites technology, process, business and people perspectives. CSPs can refer to the guiding principles to drive the required changes successfully, as depicted below:
Figure: Guiding Principles for a Successful People-Focus Transformation
Identifying Organization-Specific Changes
CSPs have different maturity levels and capabilities. While there are some common characteristics of cloud-ready organizations, the change focus areas and plans will be unique to each organization.
The sponsors and leaders of the cloud transformation can start by assessing the cloud strategy and organizational components together with the desired outcomes to identify where there are opportunities for change and better alignment. CSPs should focus on leadership, people, culture and structural aspects of organizations to assess the current state and identify the steps and gaps to build change plans for organizational and people development.
Cloud Adoption is an Opportunity for CSPs to Revitalize Business Models
The cloud is the foundation for business transformation. CSPs can reposition themselves with new products and services that significantly improve the lives of their customers – both businesses and individuals, at work and home. These new offerings can provide better personalization, enriched interactions and connected living solutions. All of this is possible, supported by a cloud-enabled digital foundation, new ways of working and emerging technologies like open architecture, scalability, artificial intelligence (AI), data analytics and 5G.
While Cloud adoption enables unprecedented opportunities, many such initiatives fail to achieve their promises mainly due to overlooking the impact on people, culture and process-related changes required throughout the organization. Using the guiding principles outlined above and building a core team with representatives from the different functions, CSPs can start to shift their journey to a people perspective. This is critical to successful cloud adoption and business transformation.
Managing Consultant, Talent & Change, Asia Pacific Region, Wipro Limited
Ozlem is focused on managing the people-side of digital transformations and developing and leading the delivery of end-to-end organizational change programs for improved business performance. She combines expertise in technology, business and people domains with over 20 years of experience working for leading technology companies in global and Asian operations. Collaborating with the digital teams and client change leaders, Ozlem helps drive tailored, value-driven solutions for successful change.