Recent research conducted by Gartner suggests that an estimated 95% of Cloud transformation projects fail to deliver the expected outcomes and benefits.

So what’s the problem? Why aren’t the promises of Cloud transformation a reality for most organizations?

The move to Cloud calls for both technical expertise and organizational changes. More often than not it is the strategy (or the lack of it) behind the transformation program, not the technology, that’s to blame. A lack of planning and preparation for the rapid pace of change and the impact of the changes is essentially behind many of the issues.

What does it mean to be Cloud ready?

Let’s hone in on the concept of Cloud readiness – after all, this is what essentially can make or break a project from the start. Why do many organizations go into Cloud moves unprepared? How well is ‘Cloud readiness’ understood among organizations embarking on transformational change?

We decided to conduct our own research to find out. We wanted to gain detailed insight into the unique formation and management of Cloud transformation programs (those about to start, already started or near completion).

We surveyed professionals across IT, operations and HR functions to understand the role of the business case, the data architecture strategy, the function of the program management office (PMO) and resources in place for Cloud implementation and beyond.

On the basis of the findings, we concluded that more than 70% of these organizations are not ready for the move to Cloud. Unfortunately these organizations are positioning themselves for failure before they even start. We cannot over emphasize the importance of being prepared and planning properly for implementation.

Let’s start with the business case. Our survey highlighted that 88% of respondents do not have a comprehensive understanding of their business case for moving to the Cloud.

This finding drives home a core issue behind a lack of Cloud readiness. The creation of the business case is the most critical process for assessing organizational readiness for Cloud. Simply put, if your business case doesn’t do its job, there will be no reliable way to assess your organization’s readiness for the journey.

The business case goes far beyond seeking approval for investment. It provides an in-depth appraisal of all things operational and cultural that can impact the project. It examines the detail surrounding the current state versus the desired future state, and how long it will take to realize value. Our survey revealed that less than 20% of respondents have carried out this necessary gap analysis prior to embarking on a move to Cloud.

Download our Cloud business case template for appraising the current state, solution and resource options. It offers an effective means of documenting the Cloud transformation action plan and strategic roadmap,

What about measuring success?

Our survey revealed that only 35% of organizations have in place targeted measurable improvements to existing KPIs and/or SLAs. The absence of these meaningful metrics will pose problems for measuring success further down the line. You cannot underestimate the importance of managing expectations and achieving buy-in from key stakeholders. Overlook this and the legitimacy of your project will be questioned.

The need for speed

Sixty-five percent of organizations surveyed are not fully prepared for the rapid pace of Cloud implementation. This inherent lack of agility is fuelled by improper planning and allocation of resources. It will be exacerbated if the adoption of Cloud technology is new and therefore uncharted territory. Our survey found that more than 70% of Cloud transformation projects do not have the necessary resources, skills and plan in place.

Turning anticipated failure into success

Have faith. Cloud transformation projects can be successful. There’s enough knowledge to leverage from program management experience to make your Cloud investments stick. And, in our experience, employing a change management approach, underpinned by the principles of change advocacy, is an effective means of ensuring your project meets your criteria for success.

The important role of change advocacy

Cloud transformation projects are made up of many moving, disparate parts, orchestrated by a mix of external consultants and in-house expertise.

Change advocacy is often best delivered by employing a consulting partner to manage the overarching program and its constituent parts, and provide experienced, knowledgeable and objective representation across all aspects of the program. In the absence of this, it’s virtually impossible to anticipate the pitfalls and bridge the gap between vendors and integrators. Furthermore, it’s the role of change management to support the organization to ensure that the proper planning is completed, that the full range of potential risks are anticipated, and ultimately that the benefits of the transformation are realized.

Change advocacy isn’t a new concept, although its role in the context of Cloud transformation programs is often misunderstood. Many organizations believe all they need is a Cloud integrator and some additional expertise to handle communications and training. The reality is that this alone is insufficient.

If you’re about to embark on the journey to the Cloud or you’re already on it, you’ll find our articles on the key steps on the climb to the Cloud useful:

Step 1: Get ready for change

Step 2: Define the strategy and roadmap

Step 3: Successfully manage the transition; and

Step 4: Implementing Cloud and beyond.

Visit our Cloud Transformation Consulting solution page for more resources.

You can view a one page summary of the Cloud readiness survey results here.