Is Your Cloud Investment Falling Short? 10 Steps to Turn it Around.

When investing in technology there are typically high expectations for delivery of its advantages to your organization and also there is at least a general understanding of the related risks. This applies to Cloud technology investments, with some additional perceived and real benefits and challenges. Despite its advantages, success still relies heavily on the people using it to gain value - something that has never been a straightforward task and continues with Cloud technology. Should your cloud investment fail to meet expectations, what then?

Companies have different options in such cases. They can choose to continue investing in the project in the hopes that it will eventually pay off or begin to cut their losses and move on to something else. They will generally try to evaluate the shortcomings and make changes accordingly. Ultimately, deciding what to do when a cloud project doesn’t perform as well as expected is a complex one that depends on various factors.

Many potential causes could be contributing to the diminishing returns of your investment, and you’re not alone in that. PwC found that over half of enterprises are struggling to see cloud ROI. Flawed assumptions are prevalent. Technology change itself is generally not the cause of a project’s risk – the risk lies with the people who use the technology. The greater the “touch” with your people and their process, the greater your inherent risk with a technology project. Decision-makers may believe that technology will solve problems for their people, and they will assume that employees will quickly adapt to new technologies when, in reality, it takes time for people to learn and adopt new ways of working. As a result, ignoring the critical nature of putting your people first, projects often stall or experience unexpected delays. Finally, decision-makers often underestimate the cost or go with a low-cost option to save money which doesn’t always provide the best value.

Through personal experience, being called in by software vendors to resolve these situations, I can attest that certain “best practices,” political and practical realities, and a focus on systems rather than people can all work against you and hinder your success. I’ve outlined these challenges in further detail, explaining how the current established approach to systems implementations stacks the odds against you (read more here). I highlight these challenges to help you see the bigger picture – there is a way forward, despite missed expectations and waning confidence.

Fortunately, there are ways to ensure that your cloud investment pays off in the long run. Here are some tips for getting the most out of your cloud solution:

Here are Ten Steps to Take When Your Cloud Investment Isn’t Living Up to Expectations


  1. Define Your Objectives: It’s essential to clearly understand what you want to achieve with your cloud investment. This can be easy to lose sight of when the project is facing challenges and you’re focus is meeting daily critical requirements and short-term needs (while avoiding failure). As a result, you may feel the gap between your current results and your investment expectations is expanding with every passing day. To regain your focus, take advantage of what you’ve learned, critique and practically redefine your approach, and, if needed, refine your objectives. It is difficult to focus on your goals while addressing your practical needs, yet that is the discipline you must have.
  2. Take Stock: Have a clear understanding of what resources are being used and how they are being used to meet your objectives. Look for underused or unused resources and identify areas with shortages or surpluses. Step away from the daily demands of meeting critical requirements and assess your resource situation relative to your objectives. For example, highly trained resources are relied upon to keep the project moving forward in times of crisis, but their focused efforts can also cause them to miss the bigger picture. By taking a more holistic view of your resources, you can make more informed decisions about allocating them.
  3. Re-allocate Resources: Once you clearly understand your resource usage patterns, you may need to reallocate your resources to achieve your objectives. Determine whom you need and how much of them you need and make any necessary changes or tough decisions to get back on track. This may involve shifting responsibilities or reorganizing your team. Even if these changes are initially met with resistance, they can be vital to enabling your team to make the most of your investment. It’s still possible to bring in new resources ready to take on the challenge of the updated system and help backfill any gaps. As a leader, it’s essential to step up and make difficult decisions to drive the project’s success.
  4. Implement Automation: Automation tools can help reduce costs, save resources, and become a reliable part of your business processes. However, don’t make the mistake of considering automation as an advanced aspect of the implementation to be tackled “when things stabilize.” Instead, recognize the clear benefits of automation for your investment and its practical advantages for your team. Even if your team is initially hesitant or fearful about automation, provide support and encouragement to leverage its practical benefits so that they may focus on other aspects of their changed business processes.
  5. Maintain an Effective Program Management Office (PMO): Your PMO doesn’t need to be large, but it should effectively support the project and drive a return on investment. Ensure your PMO provides the timely information you need to make decisions about resources, accurately report to executive stakeholders, and identify and address potential risks and issues. In addition, the PMO can help identify gaps between project management perceptions and the realities experienced by individual team members performing organizational tasks. If your PMO effectiveness is lagging, consider corrective actions – you need your investment in the PMO to count.
  6. People-First: Make sure your employees remain the initiative’s centerpiece. Companies often put technology in the spotlight and assume the alignment of their people with the technology. The results are predictable – a competent technology that underperforms where it matters most – the people (Read more about putting your people first here)!
  7. Strengthen Your Security: It’s important to have well-established protocols and plans for security and system administration and to exercise and test them regularly. Consider bringing in outside expertise to evaluate your current state and suggest improvements. If you have a contractor not performing up to par, your best option may be to remove them (yes, even if they have political ties). A breakdown in security and controls can seriously undermine your team’s confidence in the system, especially in the cloud. It’s essential for your team to feel that you have control over the new system rather than feeling like it has become a monster that threatens the organization.
  8. Message Your Benefits: Effective communication is key to the success of your cloud investment project. Make sure to regularly reinforce with your team and stakeholders the bigger picture and the benefits of the project, and communicate in a way that is easily understood and well-received. It’s also important to seek feedback from your team and stakeholders and follow up on it so that you can respond to their concerns. By staying engaged with those impacted by the project and those who are influential in its future, you can build support and momentum throughout the organization. In addition, your team is counting on you to help them understand the project’s value and progress and manage their perceptions.
  9. Do Not Lose Your Edge: Your team’s emotions and spirit can significantly impact your project’s success, lifting you or bringing you down. You’ve had an edge in the investment and have been a driving force. However, the realities of going live and any real or perceived problems with systems and processes can heighten emotions and spill over into your team’s personal lives. Therefore, it’s essential to be understanding and empathetic while remaining forward-looking and focused on the bigger picture. Even if your team is not expressing this or doesn’t believe it, they count on you to be a strong leader and handle criticism with understanding. Don’t lose your edge – it will be crucial to maintaining momentum and driving the project forward.
  10. Seek Help from Experts: If you feel that your cloud investment still needs improvement and you need help achieving your objectives, consider hiring a professional to help optimize your system. However, suppose you believe you are heading down the wrong track and losing hope of achieving your objectives for your people. In that case, it may be time to seek assistance from a partner like Meta (aka Mayday Meta) – a partner with a proven track record of helping organizations resolve, realign, and regain their initiative, with a focus on people-driven return on investment, in challenging circumstances.

If your cloud investment needs better results relative to your expectations, these steps can help you turn things around and get back on track. There is also specialized help to get you there if you need it. Getting help from a partner like Meta can offer valuable experience and support in getting your project back on track. As a result, you can overcome your challenges and achieve your desired outcomes with the right approach.

Still have questions? Our team of experts is here to help. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you achieve success with your cloud transition.

Edward Bouryng Bio