Cyclical implementation: A practical approach for cloud implementation

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saas-design-01While it’s no news technologies are moving to the cloud, the speed at which this transformation is occurring may come as a surprise.

According to recent cloud workload forecasting undertaken by Cisco, 59 per cent will be software-as-a-service (SaaS) by 2018 – this represents a 44 per cent jump since 2013.

In an increasingly fast-moving, ephemeral business environment, organizations change their processes rapidly; people, however, rarely change their habits as fast as technology.

In general, software implementations still approach SaaS projects in the same old fashion, despite the tectonic shakeup in the industry. Regardless of whether the delivery methodology is waterfall, agile, or hybrid (iterative), software implementations start a project with analysis and discovery meetings, define objectives, and deliver the “Big Implementation” in a live environment with continuous support. Even with agile methodology, the cloud implementation is typically delivered continuously with little to no allowance for user adoption.

Consequently, the organization uses the new tool for a while, but then the business model and structure start changing…again. Now, the enterprise needs a revised system, since the original requirements and processes were defined by people either no longer with the organization or no longer in charge – not to mention the fact that user adoption remained scattered and inconsistent. Adding a further layer of complication is the fact that most budgets need to be used within a certain fiscal year – use it or lose it, in other words. Executives and high-level managers need to add a checkmark beside “new software implementation” on their resumes – if the software is never used, so be it! Sadly, money is spent without achieving the business objectives.

Consider an iterative cloud implementation model, one with built-in pauses that permit a business unit to try the new module for a while then decide on the next steps and how to proceed based on user adoption. More room between implementation phases furnishes users with enough time to adopt the built-in modules, while more emphasis on user adoption means end users really employ the system. This in turn cements the company’s return on investment.

In this model – what we call cyclical implementation – budgets would be spent more strategically. Costs are defined on an ongoing basis (year over year), instead of as big upfront budgets with smaller increments for maintenance and support. Often, businesses spend a lot of money creating custom modules that later become available as part of their SaaS application upgrade – had they adopted a cyclical approach, they could have acquired those modules for free.

With a cyclical implementation approach, the business provides itself with the room and the time to continually analyze its processes, incorporating organizational changes, change of staff, and mergers and acquisitions as needed.

How about CIaaS then? Cyclical implementation as a service – an approach that continually improves your SaaS application alongside the continual improvement of your business.

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