How GCP Tools Can Mitigate the Environmental Stress of Digital Change
As a technology partner focused on helping companies going through industry-disrupting change, SADA is familiar with coaching clients through digital transformation. Earlier this year, we touched on the topic of change management from a healthcare perspective. Organizations should align around common goals, train leaders and staff, and communicate effectively past the initial project go-live dates. But how can an organization leverage tools available in Google Cloud Platform to make sweeping organizational change easier for employees to navigate?
Change-Stressed Employees Underperform – It’s an Expectations Issue
According to Gartner, change-stressed employees exhibit a 5% decrease in productivity. As digital-forward organizations enter into a culture of constant iteration and change, it’s essential that employees are equipped to handle a moving target. So, let’s consider an example where business analysts are accustomed to finding necessary data sources across Excel workbooks, on-premise SQL databases, and a BI tool such as Tableau. Perhaps a common complaint from these analysts is that all of this data is spread across different programs and departments – interoperability is a challenge.
Fast forward to companies leveraging data inside of Google. Google provides native tools that allow for end users and the business to gain insights without having to deploy or leverage third-party integrations. For example, information in Google Sheets is accessible within BigQuery and can be visually displayed within Google Data Studio. End users and the business can easily leverage any combination to ask questions of their data natively.
What if your analysts are familiar with Excel formulas and Tableau design, and the prospect of leveraging the Google Data Ecosystem makes some unsure of their job security? In fact, what if it’s one your analyst’s entire role is to migrate and prep data into the legacy formats? As Google highlights in its own fresh take on change management, the What and the Who questions are sandwiched between the Why and the How. A successful enterprise-level change does not just involve a week’s worth of work in orderto migrate data out of Excel and into Google BigQuery – it involves the careful consideration of employee concerns so that productivity is increased when the end goal is reached.
In this scenario, the change leader can start by identifying small segments of the business process to move into Google BigQuery. Employees can be invited to group training or even Self-Paced trainings provided by Google Cloud to obtain the new skills necessary for the upcoming change. This demonstrates that change will not leave employees in behind, but empower them with new marketable skills while making their work lives simpler.
Not All Change Has to Happen at Once, and Not All Change Has to Be Visible
In our experience with enterprise digital transformation, we often see clients fall victim to poorly defined requirements and scope creep, leaving projects mired in quicksand with no finish line in sight. The notion of “well, we might as well change this too, now that we’re here” leads to endless change projects and fatigued employees. When undergoing a major change to your digital culture, such as moving from a monolithic architecture to microservices, refactoring projects will move at varying pace depending on the complexity of the business process. By creating an API gateway on top of a microservices project, your codebase can be refactored piece by piece without drastically interrupting application performance. A methodically mapped out change plan will allow the first group of autonomous teams organized by business unit to containerize their services and establish a CI/CD deployment workflow that works. This experience can be honed, perfected, and communicated downstream to the next teams tasked with refactoring.
Without breaking out digital change into manageable chunks, enterprises risk running entire applications in an “under construction” state and causing inconsistent user experiences, discordant employee expectations, and environmental stress resulting in poor performance. At this point, businesses experience employee turnover and change initiatives are left to idle.
Google Cloud Platform provides a host of tools in support of piecewise digital transformation. As we recently wrote, they even announced Google Cloud Services as a suite of tools geared towards organizations that are not ready to fully embrace the public cloud. Organizations that use hybrid-cloud, multi-cloud, or pseudo-microservices architectures may simply be in a comfortable, steady state of change on their way to a longer-term How vision.
Communicate, Document, Listen and Repeat
As we mentioned in our employee empowerment piece last year, data migrations should not result in employees firing emails back and forth to track down the data they need. For example, JSON libraries can accompany catalog Cloud Datastore databases to allow analysts to proactively search for information they need. In order to foment employee autonomy, change processes should encourage frequent documentation, stakeholder inclusion and signposting so that employees can self-service en route doing their job, even amidst change. Likewise, engineers should feel autonomy to release iterative deployments without encountering major DevOps hurdles along the way.
When employees are on board for the vision accompanying change, and they know they will be included along the way, they will go out of their way to learn new skills and train others. The end result of a successful digital transformation is a more competitive business and happier employees that are comfortable in a state of change.