In my professional services role, I see many customers make a common mistake when it comes to cloud computing deployments: they simply forget about the de-centralization of their workforce.
The implementation of cloud computing has many benefits over and above traditional software deployments; however, one benefit in particular can turn out to be a “double-edged sword” if not handled correctly—that is the fact that you can deploy the software from one location to the entire universe of end users. By using web conferencing software to communicate with employees, it’s technically possible to deploy the entire global system from a single location without ever meeting the actual users.
So let’s examine why this might be a problem. In a traditional software deployment, you’d need to visit each location to prepare hardware, software and databases. It’s likely that you’d also spend time with the local user community while you’re there, conveying the benefits of the proposed solution and perhaps even giving them a sneak preview.
All too often, I see companies take advantage of the benefits of a cloud-based, centralized distribution, but in doing so, they assume that the remote users will simply fall in line and take on the new software without any prior involvement or input as to the functionality and benefits of the proposed solution. The end result is often a resounding rejection of the new system and the failure to meet end-user requirements.
The moral of the story is as follows: be it cloud or traditional software deployment, you simply MUST involve the users who will be affected by the deployment. Involve them early and involve them often. Make sure they understand what’s in it for them and the “why” behind the implementation. It’s a very simple step in the process and cannot be overlooked.
Quite often users simply want to feel like they have had their say. Failure to involve them early on will, more often than not, lead to failure of the project.