Cloud Walking – 5 Ways to Make the Cloud Work For You

May 29, 2010 by  Filed under: Management 

I’m guessing that the last thing in the world that you really need to be reading about right now is more “cloud” talk. The world of IT is experiencing a form of “cloud fever” in which every company seems to be talking about how they are going to use cloud computing to become more successful. Well, talk is cheap and in the end it’s starting to look like nobody really has a clue as to how to go about actually doing this. How about if we lay down some practical steps that you can take to use the cloud to make your IT team more successful?

Step 1: Appoint A Cloud Champion
You’re going to need to have someone step up and become a clear cloud booster in your organization. There’s no problem with this being you – if you’ve got enough pull. If you don’t then you need someone farther up the food chain to come forward and tell everyone that this is what we’re going to do.

Step 2: Make Using The Cloud To Collaborate Mandatory
Come on, you know how us IT folks are – once we get used to doing something one way, we hate to change. Add on top of that collaboration tools who’s primary purpose is to get us to share our hard learned information, well you can guess just how popular that idea is going to be.

You are going to have to change how your team gets compensated – using your cloud-based tools has got to become a required part of everyone’s job. New polices like “you have to make three updates to our wiki each week” are the way to start things rolling.

Step 3: Focus And Share
Saying that you’re going to start using cloud based tools to collaborate better without having a driving goal is the wrong way to go about doing this. Instead, pick one set of information that your IT team needs to do a better job of sharing and start by focusing on how that information is created. This is going to make it much easier for you to measure your success.

Step 4: In With The New, In With The Old
Just because your team starts to use some nice new shiny cloud based collaboration tools doesn’t mean that you get to throw all of your old tools away. I’m going to bet that like most of the corporate world your team uses Outlook for email and it’s going to be important that at the bare minimum that you find a way for your new tools to work with Outlook.

Step 5: Training, Training, Training
The best collaboration tool in the world isn’t worth the code that it’s written in if nobody can figure out how to use it. Unless you’re using an app that was written by the user interface engineers at Apple, you’re going to have to take the time (and expense) to make sure that everyone who is going to be using it knows how to get the most out of it.

What All Of This Means For You
Managing a team of individual IT workers who operate in unconnected silos is just about the hardest way to get anything done. As an IT Leader your task is to find ways to get everyone to share information and to work together.

Cloud based collaboration tools provide an excellent way for you to get your team to work together and share information. These tools are even more valuable if your team is distributed across multiple locations.

There are no “silver bullets” in IT. Cloud based collaboration tools are very useful, but unless your name is Harry Potter they aren’t going to magically fix all of your team’s issues. However, they are a step in the right direction and they may be the most important step for you to take…

Dr. Jim Anderson
http://www.TheAccidentalITLeader.com

Dr. Jim Anderson understands what it is like to both work in an IT department as an employee as well as a manager. Dr. Anderson is willing to share with you his 20+ years of experience in order to explain how to attract, motivate, and retain top IT staff.

If you want to follow Dr. Anderson on Twitter, he can be found at:
http://twitter.com/drjimanderson

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