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London Business Matters

February 2017 Your business 37 Digital transformation – the human element Competition and disruption are rife within the world of business and the increasing presence of smart devices, cloud technology and big data is creating something that giants of industry are calling Digital Transformation. According to a Microsoft research report 44 per cent of all business leaders think their existing business models will cease to exist within the next five years. The report assessed whether digital transformation is the age of innocence, inertia, or in fact, innovation. It took a deep dive into current market trends and gets people thinking about the potential disruptions that their business could face. Maybe you fall into the 44 per cent of business leaders that see their business models completely changing? Engine and fuel One of the key drivers behind digital transformation is, of course, the tech industry’s beloved cloud. A technology that many of us are becoming increasingly familiar with. I heard a phrase at a Microsoft event that got me thinking about cloud slightly differently... “Cloud is the engine, data is the fuel.” Microsoft’s new narrative is accurate, but when you think about it, those two ingredients alone do not create digital transformation. Consider this: once the ‘vehicle’ is ready, who has to drive it? It’s your users! Despite their importance to the success of business cloud migrations, users are often considered too late in the process, which can create new challenges once your cloud solution is in place. Adoption So here are some tips on how to maximise user adoption and enthusiasm when migrating your business to the cloud. “What is in it for me?” is one of the first questions that you should be able to answer when it comes to enforcing big change into your business and it is important to know the answer right from the beginning. Think about how using cloud technology is going to make things easier for your users and how it will enable them to achieve more. When it comes to change, people like to know why it is happening and how it will benefit them, so make sure you are prepared to tell them. Motivations Understanding your users is key to answering the above, you need to understand your users and their motivations. Learn to appreciate how they like to work, what they need to do their jobs, and what they desire. Having this knowledge is gold during a cloud project. If you know what your users want and need, you can tailor your solution towards those desires. The beauty of the cloud is its flexibility. Transformation Culture is “the ideas, customs, and social behaviour of a particular people or society” and it is absolutely key to the success of business transformation. A common frustration amongst businesses is that change doesn’t happen quickly enough, but remember, your culture is unique to your business and it has taken time to develop, so it will take time for it to change. Understand your existing culture and make sure that your vision of its future is clear in your mind. Intuitive Yes, a cloud migration is a big project and it requires a lot of thought and consideration, but fear not! There are people within your business that can help with the speed of adoption amongst users. These are your early adopters. They are intuitive with new technology, enthusiastic about change, and they work using technology that you want to promote throughout the business. Make them your change champions, centre them in the internal promotion of your cloud solution, and encourage them to educate and support their peers. And then… breathe. Solution Yes, cloud technology can increase user productivity, reduce operational costs, and help keep business data safe, but to maximise your investment you must find the right solution for your business and its users. It is important to remember that for users, the cloud might be a new tool. Learning to use a new tool requires skill, and developing a skill requires time to learn. Look at it this way. You wouldn’t give a 17 year-old the keys to a new car and a copy of the highway code, and 48 hours later let them drive it on their own. A similar theory should apply when asking users to use new technologies. Hannah Brady is a marketing and PR executive at ACS Office Solutions www.acs365.co.uk by Hannah Brady


London Business Matters
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