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Your firm has probably implemented a few major application software suites over the years and you have the scars and war stories of the past to guide you with new implementations. At AltaFlux we have our own set of lessons learnt from our wide variety of cloud application implementations. In our perspective, not all implementations are the same and especially cloud implementations as it brings a change to the way enterprise applications - the biggest is found in the delivery model.

As project manager both on the IT and business embrace the new way of implemenations, we wanted to share the Top 5 best practices in cloud implementation project management.

  1. Get your business ready - In the case of on-premise installation, you would have a natural lag (while the hardware and software is being installed) during which the business process gets designed or crafted. With cloud implementations, your project is ready as soon as you sign your cloud application contract. So ensure you get your business team and process are aligned by involving the right decision makers as early as possible. This helps ensure your process readiness that are required to be transformed are outlined and align with the best practices of the cloud application. 
  2. Develop an agile Project Plan - Forget waterfall based project management approaches. Cloud implementations and configurations need to take a agile requirements based project planning techniques. Don't go overboard with a detailed task breakdown for a longer period. Instead break down your work into smaller iterations. Choose an approach that reflects your culture and resource constraints.
  3. Establish a Cloud Change Control Process - You mostly are used to a Dev > Test > Production instance landscapes. While cloud application provides similar landscapes, your change control process should be crafted to reflect -- both from a project configuration change control and quarterly product updates. Cloud application vendors provide features such as - instance sync, refresh or copy at additional costs. Check your application provider to see and ensure you bake your time for change control and instance refresh strategy. 
  4. Manage End User Adoption - The frequency and quantity of product updates originating from many cloud providers may exceed some organizations’ ability to assimilate. Preparing the user community for rapid and ongoing change during the implementation and a establishing a change control program (#3) for business users is critical to launching and maintaining a cloud program
  5. Mitigate product risks - In the middle of the implementation, you have a need to "change or modify" a standard system behavior or you have stumble on to product issues. In an on-premise scenario, you call the software vendor, they send a patch, you apply and you are good to go. In cloud scenario, you have to wait for the vendor to respond and release a patch - it might not fit your overall time line. Hence #1 is important to align your process with the functionality so you can avoid any disruptions to your deployment.

I hope you found this article insightful as you begin or thinking to implement a cloud application. Feel free to contact me with any additional questions.

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