If you were to ask people whose work revolves around business technology, they would probably describe this as the Times of the Great Migration. The migration in question is the one from the traditional desktop business software solutions to those that are cloud-based or provided as a service.
Among these solutions is project management software which is one of the first types of software companies employ since even the smallest companies operate in terms of projects in the majority of cases.
Like always, migrating from desktop to cloud-based presents its challenges and things are no different with project management software.
When it comes to any change in business software, the most common and the most difficult challenge to overcome is the hostility the employees almost invariably feel towards the new solution.
In most cases, they have been using a certain desktop solution for years and they started feeling at home with it. They might have even started seeing it as an ally and not an adversary (or at least an obstacle). All of a sudden, you are pulling the carpet from under their legs and as far as they are concerned, this is a problem. A huge problem. This is their work. This is their livelihood and you are making it ten times more complicated with your decision to go cloud-based, at least in their minds.
The initial distaste for the new solution is impossible to avoid, but there are ways in which you can shorten the time needed for your people to adopt it. For one, you should always provide them with a list of improvements over the old solution. For instance, when you switch from your old desktop project management to tools like Basecamp or Active Collab , you will let them know that they can now use additional features such as integrated invoicing, budgeting and reports without having to fire up another program.
Another way to speed things up is to find a manager or even an employee who will champion the idea of switching to a cloud-based solution for you. This may be someone who has experience with this new piece of software or someone who is simply more open to new ideas.
Whenever someone does a study of the most common reasons why some companies still avoid cloud-based solutions, they discover that the security issue is one of the most commonly cited ones. For years, it was the biggest hurdle, but according to latest Right Scale State of the Cloud Report, it has finally been knocked off the first place. Still, almost a third of companies cite security as the biggest problem.
Strictly logically speaking, security concerns DO increase once a company starts employing cloud-based systems. For one, there are other parties involved and the more there are, the more chances there are that someone's security measures are not top-of-the-line. You are also never really 100% sure as to who has access to your data.
That being said, there are policies that you can implement that will ensure your vendors keep your data secure and that they employ the latest in security features. Also, since the majority of data breaches happen due to human error anyway, it is not like you will be compromising your security that much.
We have already touched upon the fact that a lot changes when a company goes from an old desktop project management software to a cloud solution when we talked about how people react to it. However, it goes well beyond this. Switching to a piece of cloud-based project management software changes up things so much that it can feel your entire project management practices have to be adjusted.
For instance, many people will find it challenging to stop relying that much on emails and it may take a while before teams finally phase them out. Once they do, it is a great load off, actually. Cloud-based project management solutions also usually require far less reporting and obsessing over the schedule on the behalf of the managers. This can sometimes put added burden on individual employees and team members. Once again, after a while, this actually becomes a good thing. Using these modern solutions will also usually require more regular input from team members, which some people will find intrusive when trying to do their tasks.
All in all, these are big changes and it can take quite a while before people get on board.
Migrating from desktop to cloud-based when we are talking project management software can be a complex and a difficult task with many a hitch along the way. However, with a bit of smart practice, a cool head and the necessary time, it will become obvious that this new solution is a much better option.