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CIOs Should Try Visualization Techniques

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CIOs have a unique opportunity to help their organizations unlock the potential of fully utilizing technology. Often, cloud migrations are viewed as a step needed to replace technology rather than an opportunity to uplevel the organization. The cloud’s benefits are well known–but we usually don’t talk about the sweeping transformations a cloud migration brings to organizational culture and to team mindsets. Often, to reap the full benefits of migrating technology to the cloud, a full paradigm shift is needed in how teams think about technology. Take one wrong step and contributors across the organization can be intimidated, feel lost, or even resent the transition.

One of the most important roles of a CIO is to help others adopt change, but casting a vision and achieving shared understanding can be difficult. One of the best ways to convey these complex ideas is with visuals. For example, a live diagram provides the necessary context for real-time cloud system data. Visualization, in other words, provides cloud migration teams with a more effective platform for collaboration.

Cloud migration with today’s remote workforce

As with any large-scale change that transforms business technology, teams may wonder how they should respond to and navigate complexity during the cloud migration process. How technology leaders guide their organizations through it can have a significant impact on both the outcome and on how effectively the cloud migration teams work together.

I can’t emphasize this enough; there’s a paradigm shift that needs to happen with a cloud migration. If leaders want to get people excited about change, which increases the likelihood of success, then individual contributors need to understand what the impact is going to be on them and their work. CIOs then need to help their organization recognize how updated systems work to augment and accelerate what team members are already doing rather than only serving as replacements.

Part of the CIO role is to sell the broader organization on the benefits of technology moving to the cloud by casting a vision. Throughout the process, guiding teams and stakeholders allows CIOs to build a coalition for success and promote buy-in. This is where visuals come in – as team members are invited to collaborate and are given effective tools to do so, they can throw their support behind the technological paradigm shift happening within the organization.

A new cloud paradigm

Paradigmatic changes arising from digital transformation can be intimidating because of their scope and their impact. Whenever new tools, new processes, and new ideas enter the organization, suspicions arise–your team is undergoing massive change and is responding to that. Consider, for instance, the mindset differences between traditional and cloud environments:

  1. Infrastructure: Every detail is mapped in a traditional environment using static documentation and diagrams. When working in the cloud, real-time data and up-to-date visualization are the new norm.
  2. Ongoing maintenance: In a traditional on-prem environment with thousands of cables, routine maintenance is difficult. In cloud environments, maintenance turns into a series of easily managed but still complex API commands and GUI adjustments.
  3. Ephemeral systems: Unlike a physical data center that employees can see, cloud environments are virtual. Without visuals, such as infrastructure diagrams, it is left to individuals to imagine what the environment looks like. This often results in confusion due to the drastically different perspectives of each individual.

Since each cloud migration marks a distinctive departure from your previous technology, your teams face a steep learning curve. Some aspects of the cloud may scare or frustrate your teams. These negative responses are more likely if your teams lack visibility. If lack of information creates fear, then knowledge is the antidote.

Cloud visualization builds trust

The anecdote is that “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Visualization is often the best way to distribute complex ideas to generate common understanding. As you move from the old into the new, having a visual representation of what your new infrastructure, or technology, is going to look like reduces pain during your migration and builds trust among your team.

Your new cloud environment might not have ten thousand cables for your team to maintain, but highly-technical people who understand how traffic logically flows through your systems are still needed. There are security groups, firewalls, serverless infrastructure, containers, and servers that someone must pay attention to within your organization. In other words–there is ample work for your team, and visualization can show that.

If you have to sell your organization on DevOps, a technology cloud migration, or another seismic paradigm shift related to technology, be prepared to use good visuals and give your team adequate context for conversation.

Cloud visualization improves alignment

With visual collaboration solutions, like Lucidchart Cloud Insights, you can leverage visuals to help build your team’s understanding. These applications allow you to explain the big picture and keep your IT teams aligned with your cloud migration strategy. By incorporating visuals, you provide information and draw others into your coalition. Your cloud migration plans should include accurate, high-quality visuals so everyone is on the same page and knows where the project is headed.

Accepting new ways of thinking is hard. With the right applications, you can make change less intimidating. Leveraging visuals during the cloud migration process supports collaboration and builds on organizational strengths to navigate complexity.

 

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