Change your company culture and get onto the cloud

Now that cloud computing is the new normal, it's the company culture -- not technology -- holding back the cloud

Technology issues don't typically stop cloud implementations. More often than not, it's the people. Office politics, unrealistic expectations, and general stupidity are the common culprits that hinder cloud computing use at many enterprises.

The vocal opponents to cloud computing we heard in 2008 are mostly quiet in 2014. However, they are still lurking. Today, they use closed-door conversations to call the cloud into question, often for the wrong reasons. By doing so, they create a toxic culture around the use of cloud computing -- or any new technologies that may prove to be innovative and helpful but threaten the status quo.

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Today, cloud computing has real momentum. Projects are beginning to ramp up, despite opposition around the use of public cloud resources. However, if a business pushes cloud computing onto an IT culture that simply won't have it, the project becomes so difficult that it is likely to fail.

To change such toxic cultures, many CIOs have simply fired those who are impeding progress. But while you can certainly scare people into agreeing with you (at least publicly), doing so is counterproductive. You end up trading a culture problem for a morale problem. I would rather have the culture problem.

Changing hearts and minds around the use of any technology is a process that begins with engaging everyone in the evaluation and implementation of the technology. Create a small, ad-hoc team of cloud computing skeptics and task them with "getting to the truth" around the value of this technology, including working a small proof-of-concept cloud project -- for example, the implementation of a small storage system or another option that can be accomplished quickly with only a small amount of risk.

You'll likely see certain results. First, those given the power to evaluate cloud computing for the company are likely to take the task to heart and provide a sound evaluation of the technology, including both the pros and the cons. Second, they are likely to feel empowered, and therefore open their minds a bit around the use of new technology, namely cloud computing. Finally, you'll get some good data around the work that's done and can use that information to adjust your cloud plans.

If you're faced with a "no cloud, no way" culture, try this approach. Change takes time, and most people will eventually come around if given the chance. And never forget that their arguments might include some valid points. You need to acknowledge that.

This article, "Change your company culture and get onto the cloud," originally appeared at InfoWorld.com. Read more of David Linthicum's Cloud Computing blog and track the latest developments in cloud computing at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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