Your Cloud Transformation: Pushing through slow cloud adoption

[fa icon="calendar"] Nov 8, 2016 1:40:00 PM / by Ben Rodrigue

Cloud is blowing up. Every organization, big and small, is looking at the cloud to increase agility, reduce IT spend and increase uptime. That’s all peachy, but why does adoption slow down after the first few months for many companies. Adoption typically follows an S-curve where initial adoption is quick and then it quickly falls off. The problem is:


1: During the downturn in adoption time; cost savings are lost.

2: Many companies can’t pull out of the curve once momentum is lost.

What’s wrong w/ a transformation stall? Delaying your transformation can impact cost savings and delay delivery of real value. Meanwhile, you are still investing in cloud consultants and overhead costs.

To avoid a major adoption fall-off, you will want to follow the Cloud Adoption Framework published by AWS.

If you are following the Cloud Adoption Framework, you should have already:

  1. Mapped your current architecture to cloud architecture
  2. Assessed your organization's readiness
  3. Staffed up a cloud team
  4. Built processes for Lifecycle and Operations
  5. Researched how to meet your Compliance Goals

Congratulations, you are well on your way to a full Cloud Transformation. Wait.. what? Cloud Adoption is slowing down? Why? Cloud is awesome! We told everyone how awesome it is.. What don’t they understand?

So, if a company does all these things right, why does adoption fall off? According to Eric Tachibana with AWS Professional Services, the real problem is Change Management. Change is hard. There is a framework called Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey A. Moore that is all about how consumer products are sold in mass markets.


The important idea here is that the S-curve is a natural law of markets. Adoption quickly grows, then it drops off only to bounce back. Like an S. Typically driving that S-curve of adoption is a bell curve of buyers (or users). The initial spike of the S-Curve is due to Early Adopters, after that drops off, the second jump in the S-curve is from the Early Majority. The Early Majority and Late Majority is where the largest group of users actually live. The adoption falloff is actually the dip between the early adopters and the early majority. That is called The Chasm. The reason for the chasm is caused is because the two groups of users adopt the cloud for different reasons. The early adopters are looking for disruption to push change. The early majority are truly looking for the status quo. They want white papers and proof that the product is mature. There is a misalignment between the two buyers. Cloud users behave in exactly the same way as buyers. The Chasm is the same for this identical behavior.

Here are 9 ideas that will help you cross the Chasm (adoption slowdown):

  1. Admit you have a problem. You did a great job gaining initial adoption but now you are stuck in a slowdown. You need to challenge yourself. Do a workshop to understand who your new segment. What is the user persona of an early adopter vs the early majority. What do the early majority need? What drives their buying/adopting behavior.
  2. You will need to change. In any startup, founders are usually pushed out for a leader with management skills that suit an established organization. The same is true for a cloud enablement team. The team and value proposition that excited your early adopters may not be what you need to sell cloud into the early majority. Keep your skilled people aboard but bring in some legacy people to speak that same language to your legacy users.
  3. Decide where you beachhead is. Win a single battle, consolidate, and move forward. Your initial planning process should be choosing your initial cloud workloads carefully. These initial workloads should give you some headway (a beachhead) into your next phase of adoption. Choose well, take your time and advertise your victory.
  4. Change your messaging. Whether you realize it or not, you are marketing to early adopters. Change your internal messaging to focus on the needs of the early majority. Early adopters want vision and the early majority want value proposition.
  5. Change your “product”. Just as with the messaging, you need to rethink your offering. The early majority want ease of use and dependability. Give that to them. Dependability is sexy to the early majority.
  6. Get the right advocates. When you are building your initial team, it should include a steering committee from other areas of the organization. Get out in front of any FUD with finance, security, procurement or legal.
  7. All we do is win. Continuously advertise your win. As you enter the chasm, change the way you advertise to address your Early Majorities values.  
  8. Be a Leader. Be engaged, listen and, of course, lead. Push your team to “level-up” and get certified in cloud technologies. Build your organization's cloud-IQ. Education removes fear.
  9. Automate all the things. Doing things manually the first few times is fine but people make mistakes. You want to scale so you need to automate. Get your engineers into DevOps and automation frameworks. Do more with less and realize the efficiency you sold to the organization.

Contact Six Nines IT so we can help you with your Cloud Adoption.

Special thanks to Eric Tachibana, AWS Professional Services.


Topics: Business, chasm, cloud, Cloud Adoption, Financial, leadership, adoption

Ben Rodrigue

Written by Ben Rodrigue

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