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Digital transformation culture shock: Why a hybrid approach keeps your employees happy

10 May 2018

Article by Chris Tithof, Australia and New Zealand country manager and sales director for Unit4. 

Digital transformation is a buzz word that many organisations are latching on to, however for good reason, as it is a necessity across all industries in today's economy.

If a company wants to succeed and remain relevant, it must focus on meeting customer demand through growing and evolving the customer experience journey digitally to compliment the physical.

The culture shock that ensues from this transformation can be difficult on people in any organisation, but there are measures businesses can take to smooth the process.

Starting with changes like cloud migration, which represents a big shift in the way people interact with systems and each other, it’s often one of the first considerations for a company undertaking digital transformation.

For a big business, embracing cloud fully is a huge undertaking. They frequently require hybrid support from vendors long term to make the transformation manageable, and not just from a technology perspective.

A hybrid approach is one strategy that can meet corporate and customer needs, while managing the inevitable move to cloud in a way that ensures people are prepared for – and on board with – the change and the journey involved.

Pros of a hybrid cloud approach

Balancing the rate of change with the challenges of an organisation's culture can be overwhelming at times, especially when resources are consistently stretched past the current cultural comfort levels.

In light of this, a hybrid cloud approach can ease the transition and even nurture organisational talent at the same time. Here are some of the considerations:

Flexibility and scalability: Hybrid approaches allow companies to maintain efficiency by keeping some data onsite while moving other data to the cloud solution.

This gives people time to get used to the idea of cloud services but also motivates the impetus for change through a clear demonstration of how well the cloud can meet the business’s needs.

Trust development: By combining the existing resources with the new ones, people learn to gradually trust in the innovation process.

Development in a more controlled environment leads to the ability to test and stage applications with reductions of cost and failure.

Cost reduction and added security: Cloud solutions reduce the total cost of ownership while maintaining trust in system security. As monolithic systems are gradually replaced, stakeholders and end users will witness the savings that cloud services provide and also see that security can be maintained by keeping the most sensitive data on-site until trust is gained by the organisation.

Existing asset maximisation: For those concerned with abandoning existing assets (playing the sunk costs argument), the hybrid approach allows maximum usage of the existing assets while meeting new demands with space in the cloud.

Capacity is no longer bound to on-site space, but these valuable resources aren't just pushed to the wayside, either.

Talk the talk to make the transition easier on end users

Business changes are still a barrier for many companies.

Recognising that resistance to transformation is just as much socially driven as it is driven by fear of the unknown, is a big step in countering the problems that can occur during the process.

Encouraging new thought processes and shifting the focus from technical details to focus instead on all the positive changes that are taking place can help reduce resistance and increase receptiveness.

Anytime technological transformation is attempted, organisations should always put people first. Positive outcomes occur when people are willing to participate in the change, and engaging employees as part of the process is key to making the transition go as smoothly as possible.

Ensuring all teams maintain personal involvement and efficient communication throughout the process can help facilitate the acceptance, adoption and acceleration of digital transformation.

Smooth the transition to hybrid

In the past, organisations had few choices when it came to advancing their technological infrastructure.

Many larger businesses have been struggling with the idea of moving from completely on-premises systems to an all-encompassing private or public cloud service solution.

In fact, it is nearly impossible for enterprises to make the switch in one go because of the complexity of the systems used.

Utilising a hybrid cloud approach provides a buffer for change-resistant employees and departments and also offers the means for swift and successful forward movement for the people who are already on board with the transformation.

Once they complete the first step to move into a hybrid cloud model, enterprises can gradually make the transition to full cloud with less complexity, so it’s easier to manage and introduce people to new cloud behaviors.

Any change in an organisation can produce anxiety and cultural shock. But digital transformation doesn't have to disable a company's operations.

Using a hybrid approach can ease the transition and keep team members happy across the board.

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