Perhaps nothing benefits from hindsight quite as much as enterprise software projects. We’ve all heard horror stories about projects that were abandoned, significantly overran cost and time budgets, were barely used by staff, or failed to deliver on promised benefits for the entire organisation, managers and individual employees. However, the majority of IT project failures aren’t due to the technology, but the inability to effect change and a lack of communication.

So here are my top five tips to bear in mind for a successful cloud implementation:

[easy-tweet tweet=”Successful #cloud implementation tip 1: Carefully select your internal project team” via=”no” usehashtags=”no”]

Carefully select your internal project team: One key end goal for cloud implementations is to enable accurate and sophisticated data reporting. In order to ensure every single employee enters and updates their information in real time, it’s vital that there is buy-in for the new system throughout the entire organisation. An inclusive, cross-departmental internal project team which includes members from HR, payroll, finance, IT, security, training, recruitment and a project manager or business analyst can help to accomplish this goal.

[easy-tweet tweet=”Successful #cloud implementation tip 2: Include other key communities in your team” via=”no” usehashtags=”no”]

Include other key communities in your team:  Additional project team members are required if the company serves a particular vertical – for example, add in the head of professional services, if you’re a consulting firm. If you’re working with an external systems integrator, make sure one or two of their core experts are on your team and treat them as part of your organisation – that way, you establish a good forum to communicate your organisation’s needs. In addition, their experience from prior cloud implementations will be very valuable.

[easy-tweet tweet=”Successful #cloud implementation tip 3:Defining roles and keeping the team together” via=”no” usehashtags=”no”]

Defining roles and keeping the team together: Once you’ve selected your team, define roles including a primary contact, a coordinator and an internal rollout and communications lead. If your cloud implementation is taking place in phases around the world, do ensure that your internal project team takes the lead on each phase. Do keep your team intact and move them around your organisation on an as-needed basis since they are becoming experts and learning from each rollout they’re involved in. This is also an important factor in helping drive consistency in cloud implementation across regions.

[easy-tweet tweet=”Successful #cloud implementation tip 4: Agree on a message” via=”no” usehashtags=”no”]

Agree on a message:  Your implementation team shouldn’t have to argue the merits of the cloud project with other staff. Instead, make sure you already have a clear internal message in place – ideally, a single sentence – as to what your organisation hopes to achieve by adopting the new cloud platform. This message is vital to be able ‘sell’ the entire company on the importance and benefits of the move to the cloud. The best way for every employee to view the move is as a business decision not a technology, decision, where each individual has access to and ownership of the system. You will also need a C-level executive whose role in the project is to champion its benefits at a high level throughout the company. This will also ensure that the move to the cloud is seen as positive throughout the business.

[easy-tweet tweet=”Successful #cloud implementation tip 5: Communication is key” via=”no” usehashtags=”no”]

Communication is key: There is often a great deal of integration and configuration involved in every cloud implementation. Consider which types and levels of integration are applicable to your organisation both today and in the years ahead. Cloud projects will often talk about unifying and simplifying processes. Be clear on how the implementation will effect each area of the business today and communicate this message to your consultants as well as your own internal teams. 

The importance of training and communication around a cloud project are often undersold. But getting it right ensures an organisation and each of its departments understand the functionality and benefits of the cloud implementation into their part of the businesses. Ultimately, this helps all employees to understand the positive impact it will have on their day-to-day work.

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Mark Woodhams, Managing Director, EMEA, NetSuite

Mark Woodhams is NetSuite’s EMEA Managing Director, previously serving as the EMEA Sales Director. Prior to NetSuite, Mark worked within the Oracle Applications business and was responsible for the Manufacturing Retail and Distribution Vertical, as well as the Services, Transportation and Construction Vertical. Earlier in his career, he was credited with building the Indirect Channel at both Hyperion and Brio. With over 30 years of experience in the IT industry, Mark has worked across a number of disciplines in the field of ERP, CRM, ecommerce and Business Intelligence.