Start when the market adoption of cloud computing approaches your firm type. Successful technology adopters learn about an innovation first. Then they require persuasion to implement based on visible value. Only then does the decision to implement occur. The actions you should take, in order, are:
- Determine your RELATIVE ADVANTAGE from the cloud solution. How much better is the cloud solution vs. existing or alternative solutions? Also, consider if the cloud solution would be preventive or incremental. Preventive innovation lowers the probability of some unwanted future event or risk. Typically relative advantage is a combination of economic and non-economic motivations. Most IT projects rely upon some form of ROI analysis to establish relative advantage. Sadly, relative advantage is not always economical, and ROI determination is often flawed or biased. Seek visible improvements to business and customers first. Then any cost savings. Relative advantage to IT and customers must be clear and agreed upon by all stakeholders. Inability to show sound relative advantage is a strong predictor of failure.
- Understand, document, and agree on the COMPATIBILITY of the cloud solution. How consistent is the proposed solution with existing values, experiences, and needs? Be specific. Use a table or spreadsheet to document requirements. Being more consistent makes adoption easier to grasp and less threatening. Success rate increases when a cloud solution is consistent with IT needs (such as network capacity) and business or customer priorities.
- Study the COMPLEXITY of the cloud solution. How difficult to understand and use is the cloud solution? One way to overcome complexity is training and education. More complex innovations often require significant (re)training to be successful. These innovations are less likely to suffer from unexpected consequences after adoption. (See COMPATIBILITY above.)
- Make sure the cloud solution has TRIALABILITY. Establish criteria to validate the cloud solution’s relative compatibility and complexity. Then perform a trial to verify relative advantage. Trialability is the ability to experiment with an innovation on a limited basis in a real-world situation. Be ready for reinvention during the trial. Trials often show that you need to change your relative advantage, compatibility, and/or complexity assumptions for better or worse. Trials tend to improve adoption success. The earlier in the diffusion-cycle and the higher the costs and risks, the more important trials become.
- Determine if the expected relative advantage arises from the trial and is visible to others — OBSERVABILITY. The more visible the benefits and outcomes from usage of the cloud solution the more likely the adoption will be successful.