Modernization: The linchpin for effectively managing change in the cloud

When we talk about transitioning to the cloud, this entails more than taking the familiar structure of your legacy systems, throwing it up there and hoping for the best. Transformation is challenging and requires management on multiple levels, but it is ultimately worthwhile.

Change in the cloud provides an excellent opportunity to implement relevant cloud-based capabilities and modernize your legacy systems, shaping your company into an agile and consistently successful organization.

Like most major IT investments, cloud transformation requires a cross-cutting center of excellence with the charter, governance, leadership, expertise and clout needed to achieve enterprise-wide results. This cloud CoE should include a program management office (PMO) to facilitate the financial, communications, transitional, technical and operational challenges associated with enterprise-wide cloud implementations. The cloud is just another form of infrastructure, so treat it as such. The crucial issue is the modernization of the requirements of IT environments.

Organizations struggle with cloud transformation by trying to modernize too much at once and not knowing where to start.  Our experience has shown that initial cloud success is often achieved through the implementation of new requirements as opposed to the maintenance of existing legacy systems.

These new cloud-based requirements can be anything from implementing a portfolio and program management platform-as-a-service solution; to large scale internet data ingestion; to enterprise case management; to designing a suite of analytical tools.  As the organization continues a longer-term modernization journey, they often find ways to supplement legacy systems with cloud-based services.

The key to long-term success begins with expertly managing the short-term. Learn to leverage a launch-and-learn approach using a short-term road map aligned with your cloud center of excellence. The program management office orchestrates change, schedule, cost, IT and services in a repeatable, balanced and step-driven way to drive short-term success.

Keep your road map simple. Adapt and gain success by picking easily implemented initial solutions that can be deployed and mastered in a few months.  Use the CoE to achieve visibility and trust for your efforts and leverage the PMO to put ideas into action.

Worry about the gnarly legacy hybrid solutions later, once you gain some experience.

Rick Hill is senior vice president with HumanTouch, LLC in McLean, Virginia.

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