Why The Cloud Might Not Be Right For Your Long-Time Employees

Deciding to abandon your company’s entire on-site infrastructure in favor of a cloud-based environment is no quick and easy process.
Besides weighing the big-picture costs and benefits to your business, it’s also critical to consider the individual personalities inside your company and how they’ll receive this kind of transition.
Will they welcome the change with open arms? Will they be hesitant to disrupt their current workflow? Will they be so averse to the whole thing that it’s not even worth the fight?
I, for one, have lost count of how many times a client’s knee-jerk response to any mention of the cloud has been along the lines of “Oh, (the partners/our CEO/so-and-so in management) will just never go for that; it’s out of the question.”
It might seem like bullheadedness to those who are already “sold” on the idea of the cloud, but sometimes these employees are right to balk at the idea.
It would, for instance, be a complete waste of time for you to seriously consider a cloud migration if:

  • You have no need for remote access, even during inclement weather
  • You don’t need to be able to contact your employees or clients when you’re away from your desk (much less send a file)
  • You’re comfortable with your data existing at your offices and nowhere else (from both a security and a disaster recovery standpoint)
  • You’re fine with buying and installing new servers every four or five years
  • You’re fine with replacing your desktop computers every three or four years.
  • You aren’t concerned about attracting Millennials as clients or employees
  • You wouldn’t glean any competitive advantage from having data that is more secure and a team that is more available

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There have certainly been cases where I’ve advised clients to steer clear of the cloud; it is simply not worth the investment of time or money if your business won’t get any meaningful value out of the solution.
But if the conditions above sound far-fetched to you, you are likely in the same boat as most companies these days; the prevailing trend is for businesses to value the mobility, security, and predictability that (many, but not all) cloud solutions have to offer.
And in that case, your best course of action is likely to proceed thoughtfully and deliberately with a migration. To ease any lingering hesitation or resistance, be sure to provide your employees and management with:

1. Proper education

Some folks may be intimidated by concepts that are foreign to them. The cloud especially can be shrouded in vague marketing terms; you may just need to cut through the hype and explain the solution in plain English.
On the other hand, they may be “educated” with false information that you’ll have to debunk.
Some, for example, may believe that a cloud environment is necessarily vulnerable, when in reality the right cloud solution will be far more secure than an on-premises scenario (not to mention more accessible, flexible, and responsive).
Take the time to myth-bust and re-educate your team.

2. The tools to be successful

Set your staff up with training that is commensurate with (1) their abilities, and (2) how “different” the new solution will actually look and feel.
The latter will depend on what solution you’ve selected; some cloud environments will actually function exactly like your normal Windows desktop — you just have to take one extra step to “launch” your desktop from your machine.
Others will have a bigger learning curve, and in those cases you’ll need to invest more time into helping your staff navigate the new territory.
Regardless, make sure the less-savvy folks get some extra hand-holding in order to be comfortable and effective.
From there, be sure that you have a resource at the ready to support your staff two days, months, years down the road.
Even a tight rope isn’t all that scary with the right safety net.


As originally published in the American City Business Journals.