Finding the Why
As a Cloud Systems Engineer, I’m lucky enough to be able to work with customers from all around the globe, and hailing from many different industries. I act as a guide for those customers who are transitioning into a new way of working: a cloud way of working.
It is undeniable that making the transition to the cloud is a complex technical undertaking, not to be taken lightly.
What is less commonly understood is that cloud migration projects rarely fail due to technical reasons.
There are many clear advantages offered by the cloud. There can be significant cost savings - although of course that’s not all there is to life. Perhaps the most significant benefit of the cloud is that it takes away the limitations of what you can do, allowing you instead to focus on what you should do.
During the pre-sales stage of a project, customers often ask how something should be done. I usually respond to this question by asking instead why that particular thing should be done in the first place. This is not always received well, and it can be difficult to explain the reason for countering with such a question.
The reason, for me, is not a technological, but a human one.
Too often, in business and in life, we forget that everything we do serves a purpose. More often than not we also forget - or we never knew - what that purpose actually is. Once we’ve set off down a certain route, we quickly become accustomed to it, entrenching the belief that it’s ‘just the way it is’. We stop asking ourselves the questions that matter, and focus on how best to achieve what’s conventional.
A paradigm is a certain thinking pattern a person adopts. We start to develop these paradigms from the minute we are born, as external influences shape us as people.
It’s true that these paradigms can be useful, helping to structure our thought patterns. The wrong paradigms, however, can have a detrimental impact on how we go through life (and how we run our businesses, too).
Traditional IT departments are often crippled by the paradigms they have adopted over the years. When the strategic decision is made to move to the cloud, the first question that comes to mind is how that transition should be made. The why behind it is often completely forgotten.
What ensues is a painful transition, as a new challenge is tackled with an old paradigm.
When I get up in the morning, I know exactly why I go to the office. Engineering is and always has been a passion, and I enjoy it thoroughly.
I also choose to work for a company who knows exactly why we do things the way we do. We base our decisions on our vision, instead of what’s comfortable and accepted practice.
In order to succeed in the cloud, a company must set itself free from the paradigm it was forced to adopt over the years. This happens when you can step back and re-evaluate the why behind everything you do.
Are you the undisputed leader of your sector, or playing catch-up? Why is that the case?
Where do you want to go as a company and, most importantly, why do you want to go there?
The cloud has the power to remove technical limitations, but its potential will fail to be realised if we let human limitation drive the transformation. Doing the right things starts with asking the right questions. The answers to those questions is what should drive a person to do what he/she does and a company to take the decisions they do. Vision is what has shaped the world to be the way it is and will surely shape the future.
Next time you have to decide on something, make sure you know the why.