Building Your Cloud? Remember Your Workers

In dispelling the cloud’s myths, don’t forget about the employees it affects (Part two).

My post last week discussed the importance of long-term benefits related to productivity and cost when implementing cloud computing technologies. CFOs and their IT directors must understand the importance of hard costs, but they should not forget their employees who will ultimately be impacted by these changes.

"The role of IT is changing, and businesses must recognize how this change will impact their employees", HCL Technologies’ Global Vice President, Cloud Computing Sadagopan “Sada” Singam emphasizes. "IT is becoming more cross-functional, and companies must understand how their IT departments will impact business operations."

I spent nearly two years as part of a SAP implementation when I was with a different company a number of years ago. When a company executes a major technology implementation, employees become part of a major change initiative. IT is impacted more than many organizations, because their mindset must change from a transactional mindset to one of business partner. Finance has undergone a similar change as executive teams demand more strategic insight from their CFOs and controllers. IT is now facing a similar challenge.

Finance can lend its support and experience to IT as both organizations become more focused on business results. We have seen our organization shift its focus from internal control and historical reporting to focusing more on strategic planning and future results. Our change management efforts related to training and employee development can serve as a template for our friends in IT.

Employee engagement becomes even more important as cloud technology changes how we use IT. More information becomes available to employees lower in the organization, allowing these employees to have more ability to drive decision-making. The pace of business change demands more delegation of key decisions, and IT and finance must work together to provide the right information to key employees. "Employee engagement and relationships must be a key part of all IT initiatives," Singam says. "This new level of engagement will be very high as employees have more access to information more quickly than in the past."

I have used cloud technologies in a number of past jobs as well as in my own business. IT is quickly becoming a tool for all employees to access the data to make key decisions. This access will only help companies make decisions more quickly and with better information, but this increased power also increases the responsibility of everyone in our organization. As finance leaders, we must be at the forefront of these change management efforts.