4 essential tips for creating the Cloud transformation roadmap
In our previous post, we stressed the importance of being prepared for Cloud transformation and posed four questions you should ask before you begin. In this second of four articles, we move to the roadmap and explain how paying attention to some easily overlooked areas can keep your Cloud transformation on track.
An effective Cloud transformation roadmap starts with developing the business case and ends with implementation. The roadmap plots a path between those points, taking all the business case requirements into consideration. The main goal of the roadmap is to articulate how the different elements of the project sequence and interact with each other as the project progresses.
“Some of the most important people in your Cloud transformation are the project and program managers.” Jeff Kays, Conduent Principal – Management Consulting
Consider large-scale construction projects as an example. The vision may be clear: Build an office building. But to transform a hole in the ground into 30 stories of state-of-the-art business offices there are an astounding number of line items to be checked off — even before breaking ground. A properly staffed team to manage and drive the build process forward is needed to simply get the project off the ground, let alone complete it.
Adhering to the following four tips will help ensure your Cloud roadmap is built for success.
1. Understand change impacts holistically
The butterfly effect is a theory that explains how a small change in the current state of a system can result in large differences in a later state. Similarly, something not identified in your Cloud roadmap’s current state analysis could cause significant problems down the line. By taking a holistic look at both the current and future states of your Cloud transformation you can prevent something that seems small and inconsequential from becoming a big problem later on.
Following the data is the best way to understand interdepartmental dependencies. How data is used, how it flows and where it resides drive decisions that can undermine your success if not accounted for at the start. In an interconnected environment, data is relied on by your team, the broader organization, external suppliers and clients. If the flow and use of data are understood holistically and end-to-end up front, you’re more likely to avoid surprise change impacts down the road.
2. Secure the right resources
A construction company can’t build an office tower without people to manage the project and do the actual construction. Once completed, that building can’t operate without people to handle the facilities, the security and the maintenance. Similarly, your Cloud transformation needs people for the construction phase as well as the end state. What often gets lost in the move to the Cloud is the understanding that people are essential throughout the project and need to be considered as you develop your roadmap.
Some of the most important people in your Cloud transformation are the project and program managers, who keep the project on track, follow the roadmap, live the business case and are able to move in an agile fashion when obstacles come up. While it’s easy to see a Cloud transformation as one large project, these people bring the ability to see the hundreds of individual tasks and sub-projects that make up the whole.
3. Get comfortable with change control
Repeat after me: “Our business case and our roadmap are living documents.” People love to consider their project documentation done once it’s been created. This couldn’t be further from the truth. A successful project requires that you recognize and accept that your documentation will be in a constant state of change.
For your roadmap to be effective, you must accept that changes, updates, revisions and gaps are all part of the journey. By recognizing an unexpected change and adapting the roadmap to account for it, you’re doing what we call change control. You are bound to stumble on some unknowns and some risks —some will have an immediate impact, others will affect your go-live date — and what matters is how you handle them. If you don’t have a process in place, risks quickly become issues.
4. The 80/20 rule: Big stones, little pebbles
In most projects, 80 percent of the value is achieved with 20 percent of the effort. Which means your roadmap should start with planning the big, critical activities and filling in the rest as you go. Don’t wait for completion or perfection to get moving.
Think of your Cloud project like a pile of large stones and little pebbles you need to fit into a jar. To get everything in there, you must first fit the big stones (the 80 percent) and then pour in the little pebbles (the 20 percent) to fill up the rest of the space. Those big stones are your big pieces, the non-negotiables and the pieces that are most valuable to the project. The pebbles are all those other things that have to be completed.
There is no perfect project. And no integrator or in-house resource can promise a Cloud implementation without hiccups. Your roadmap is what keeps you on the right track and ready to respond. Keeping these four areas front of mind as you shape your roadmap will help put your Cloud transformation in the best position to succeed.