I have been fortunate enough to have been exposed to many different companies throughout my career and it is true, no two are the same but there are many similar business fundamentals that contribute to profitability and success.

Some of those fundamentals are visibility into operations, optimization, continuous improvements and predictability for delivery. It doesn’t matter what type of business, many want to strive in these areas and many end up thinking that, or are sold, software will save the day. This is especially true today and the push to the cloud is an enabler. Many are jumping on the band wagon to get there.

Can software help? Yes. Can cloud computing help? Yes. But, only if an organization is prepared and ready.

There are many organizations who have people who want to take the leap into the cloud. Too often you see an internal uprising of staff who try to sell the idea to the leadership of an organization. They talk of how great it will be to implement or turn on software that will allow access from anywhere, be device agnostic, easily capture information, create transparency, and make huge bottom line improvements. All this could be accomplished but many organizations are stuck between the cloud and a hard place.

Just a couple of the ‘hard places’ for a company are:

  • Unclear Understanding of the cloud: How is the cloud defined by an organization?
  • Many organizations have the infrastructure in place where their information is hosted and they can allow access to their information from anywhere on almost any device, so you could say they are already in the cloud. An organization must first define what cloud means to them. How is it interpreted? People need to be in sync in order to be aware what it means in an organization.

  • Unclear Purpose: What is the purpose for moving to the cloud?
  • We all want to do something cool and be leading edge, and of course every private or public company wants to become more efficient and to be more profitable but there needs to be a very clear purpose for an organization to make a change. What is the strategic value obtained by making an investment? How will this help with the company vision? Has this vision been shared with everyone?

  • Culture: Does the company have the right culture to embrace such a change?
  • No matter what type of cloud computing you want to do, the culture of an organization always wins. Culture is often driven by leadership. If the leadership team doesn’t lead, promote, or financially support these types of initiatives, then anyone trying to gain traction internally is fighting an uphill battle. This will also make change management extremely challenging. I often think of a cartoon drawing I encountered a few years ago. The cartoon depicted a person standing at a podium in front of a large group asking the question, “Who likes change?”. Everyone raises their hand. The speaker then asks, “Who wants to change?”, and there is only one person that raises their hand. To potentially influence the leadership team, be clear on how it will align to the company vision and strategy and gain their trust so they will believe in the purpose, therefore they will help lead the initiative.

  • Assumptions: Does the organization really know how things get done within their company?
  • Many organizations assume they know their processes because things get done, however if you start looking into it, they often don’t know how things get done. They know they need to improve their processes and think that software will do it, but you need to know where you are starting from before you can leverage technology. Organizations should have a very clear understanding of how things actually get done today so you can clearly identify the chasm or path that needs to be taken towards a new direction in order to obtain an improvement.

Above are just a couple examples of some questions you can ask yourself, your team, or your own organizations superiors in order to have a better understanding for why an initiative may be worth the investment or why it is taking place. Understand and create a vision people can follow. Any initial investment in gaining a better understanding up front will easily pay for itself.

If you are feeling stuck between your own rock and cloud, get in touch with us today and we can work together to guide and lead you and your organization – contact@sierrasystems.com

This post originally appeared on LinkedIn.