toddler playing with water hose
PHOTO: Phil Goodwin

Last month, I discussed how rapid changes in technological advancements — especially in the cloud — are posing different challenges to small and large organizations alike. 

As these changes continue to progress, however, organizations must keep one thing in mind: It’s time to invest in and expand IT teams.

Related Article: Everyone Is Drinking From the Firehose: Change Management and the Future of IT

Change Needs a Strategy, and It Requires Ongoing Oversight 

Once an organization has identified what change needs to be implemented, they need to build a strategy. Migrations are the first step in a cloud journey, and organizations should think about them as a time-based project. 

Many IT teams are already used to researching what tools are the most secure and offer the best and most relevant capabilities, but the increased pace of change means IT teams simply cannot keep up with everything that’s coming from the firehose in their spare time. 

Having a person whose permanent role or part of their role is to keep on top of these changes (and allowing for time for teams to plan research) will be necessary moving forward. Planning for conversations and check ins with vendors to see what new features may be coming out in existing tools can save time and money in the long-run by preventing parity investments in additional tools. 

Researching what new or unknown tools may be out there can also help organizations stay as productive as possible and help organizations plan for future change. 

In addition, there are many opportunities to bring massive value to organizations via new lines of business or new offerings made possible by previously unused technologies. 

Related Article: How to Keep Collaboration on Course in the Midst of Never-Ending Office 365 Updates

Tap Power Users to Help Co-Workers

Time and time again we talk with IT teams who are given instructions to move to the cloud and implement new technologies but are given very few — if any — additional resources to help them manage one of the most fundamental operational changes of our time. 

The result is always a slow and painful transition, and what I call “pitchforks and torches.” Massive operational changes occur, and users storm the castle of the IT department because they don’t have the resources to prepare and train their users to improve business processes. 

New technologies can often be used in vastly different ways, whether users are in the same role or different roles in the same department. It’s unrealistic to expect each user will receive custom IT training, but there needs to be as much solving for business cases as is possible for organizations to get the most out of their tech investments. 

This means extensive, easily accessible training resources, building internal communities where people can ask questions, and leveraging the capabilities of employees who may become what we in the biz call power users. They may not be in IT, but could be leveraged (and should be incentivized) to help their co-workers understand how to get the most out of existing software. 

One passionate power user can save countless help desk tickets, and often increase productivity in measurable ways for the people around them.

Related Article: The Role of Influencers in Change Management

Use Communicators to Smooth the Process

IT teams need people who can help translate business user needs to them, and sell new processes back to end users. 

Adapting tech on the IT side, then training users on the end result does not have to be the back and forth fight that many of us have experienced. And IT can help make this a reality. 

More and more, organizations are finding ways to make this a smooth — and in some cases even fun — experience, where business users see the value in change and in new tech. A common strategy is to use internal third parties (often a charismatic marketing team member) to help smooth this process, but the “process” needs to be a permanent mentality. 

The ongoing acclimatizing of users to new tech needs to be part of organizational culture, not “that mandatory training on that new software” that lacks context and fails at getting business users to see how they will actually be more productive with new tools.