Don't let company politics derail your cloud plans

By treating cloud transformation as simply an IT project, you can surely expect the rest of the business to place barriers in your way

It's Tuesday morning. You're running a multi-million-dollar cloud transformation project, moving more than a thousand workloads to the public cloud. You're called into a meeting and told that your budget has been frozen until finance, legal, and compliance have had a chance to review the project. You'll be in waiting mode for as long as six months -- so much for that cloud transformation project.

Unfortunately, that scenario is not rare. To avoid it happening to you, find a path through the corporate politics, using creativity and a bit of psychology. Here are some tips:

First, make sure you broadly share your plans. That means including finance, legal, operations, compliance, R&D, and any other organizations that may end up blocking your progress. You'll find that people and organizations are blocking progress because they are asserting their authority, and they are doing so because they believe they were left out of the process. Be as inclusive as possible. 

Second, set up a cloud business office. Take key employees from across IT and the other parts of the organization and empower that group to be the single authority around budgets, vendor agreements, legal contracts, and so on. This shared, centralized authority ensures all stakeholders aren't bypassed or blindsided, gets you out of the IT/business finger-pointing, and lets the group make quick decisions as the cloud project progresses or encounters issues.

Third, make sure everyone understands the importance of moving to the cloud. Although most executives today understand at least at a basic level that using the cloud provides a strategic advantage and operational savings for the company, they don't understand how much it will help, nor do they understand the metrics that determine success or failure. It is very important that they understand -- once they understand and have appropriate metrics, they will become helpers, not hinderers.

IT people are often not good at company politics; I know that I'm not. I had to learn through trial and error how to work around problems with people, not machines. This need is the reality of IT in any large company.

Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.