WAR OF THE WORLDS
What can the adoption of a new solution and an interplanetary invasion have in common?
In recent years, working as a collaborator in a multinational company in the software and cloud area, I made presentations and meetings with CMO’s, CTO’s and CFO’s of several companies from different industry segments. There were an average of 60 such meetings per year (yes, I counted, because it was on my performance evaluation scorecard). Most of the time, executives were accompanied by a CIO, an information technology director or another executive with similar responsibilities, depending on the size of the company.
I will not say that it always happened, but I often noticed a pattern of behavior that was consistent: a high level of rejection of new technologies (in this case, IaaS, SaaS and PaaS solutions). Topics such as security, availability, performance, etc. they were discussed not to be clarified or learned, but as a way to “sabotage” a cloud project or even to sow fears among colleagues. Many of the issues were already addressed or resolved, whether by technology or procedure, management, compliance, etc., but that made no difference.
I have always marveled at the resistance to change in human beings. In this case, they were enlightened, intelligent and often notable people in the IT area. At first, I thought it was some hidden agenda, bad intention or something no less disparaging. Over time, I realized that, at the end of the day, they are people, human beings with their fears, beliefs, culture. The company may decide to purchase cloud services for a variety of business reasons, but they are people who will implement, sustain, manage and ultimately use it. The fear of the different, of losing relevance, of losing prestige, of suddenly having to go “back to school to learn”, of losing a job or reducing employees is present even at an unconscious level.
One of the most important characteristics of an executive is to perceive and deal with these issues together with his team. I saw some notable examples of how to deal with changing the cloud. Likewise, I saw projects not taking off for fear of the new.
One case in particular inspired so much fear in a CIO that I ended up associating it with the scene from the movie “War of the Worlds”. It shows a terrified little girl in the car, having a panic attack because she does not know what is happening. The scene is technically daring as a perfect 360 degree turn is made, inside and outside the van.
Many IT professionals have this feeling and end up externalizing it, classifying the new technology as unsafe, inferior to their quality standards, etc. A good way to deal with this issue is through actions that take into account the human beings involved in the decision to adopt the cloud. After all, we are all subject to failure and insecure with the "new"
After all, as Peter Drucker said: