Cloud solutions offer a broad range of benefits: They are easy to implement, come with best-practice processes, a user-friendly interface and are constantly updated. Thus, they foster agility and innovation. Therefore, more and more companies are currently moving to the cloud. They hope for a fast and sustainable user adoption, allowing them to quickly realize the targeted advantages and to compensate for the investments.
Nevertheless, user adoption should not be taken for granted. Let’s have a look at three common misunderstandings around cloud implementations.
MISUNDERSTANDING #1: SAP cloud implementations are first and foremost IT projects.
It is obvious that the implementation of a cloud solution leads to technological changes. In practice, these changes can often be handled professionally – and quite fast, as cloud solutions are more or less “ready to use”. Less obvious are the changes triggered by the provided best-practice processes. The existing processes must be adapted to the new standard and the new way of working. This can lead to new roles and responsibilities, modifications of the organizational structure and quite often also to a shift towards a new, digital mindset.
This means change in many dimensions! Therefore, cloud implementations are much more than IT projects, they are holistic business transformations, impacting the entire company.
The high usability of cloud solutions makes organizational change management in cloud implementations redundant.
Sometimes, decision makers and project leaders tend to think that moving to an IT solution with a modern, easy to handle interface automatically leads to happy, committed users. They under-estimate that even a change for the better is still a change. Users want to know why the change is necessary, what it means for them, they want to be supported in building up new skills and unlearning previous habits – and they want to be taken seriously with their hopes, concerns, and fears.
Therefore, accompanying cloud implementation projects with organizational change management is not a “nice to have”. It is an important investment in helping the users to adapt to technological (and of course processual and organizational) changes and thus to foster user adoption.
MISUNDERSTANDING #3: Preparing the users well for the go-live ensures a high user adoption.
Of course, preparing the users for the go-live is an important milestone. And a cloud implementation project usually ends shortly after the go-live. But this does not mean that the change is over: Cloud solutions are improved on an ongoing basis, and the users regularly receive updates. This means that the users have to get used to constant change. Therefore, organizational change management should not be terminated with the project end, but continue to work with the business, e.g. by leveraging the implementation and maintenance of support structures and expert networks. These measures help the users to integrate updates into their daily working routines and thus foster a constantly high user adoption.
To summarize: Organizational change management is key for the successful implementation of cloud solutions, because it systematically addresses the people side of the projects. Project managers, business leaders and functional experts should build up generic know-how regarding the people-related challenges of cloud projects, the dynamics of user adoption and the way organizational change management can support the project.
The learning journey Discover Organizational Change Management for SAP Cloud Projects can serve as a good starting point. In addition to valuable input and learnings, it also provides hands-on support for project leaders: Self-assessment questionnaires help to get a systematic overview of the specific project situation and the resulting change management needs, and practical recommendations guide the way to getting started with organizational change management. Integrated quizzes help to reflect the learning progress and offer the opportunity to receive a digital badge as a record of achievement.