6 Steps to Move Enterprise Applications to the Public Cloud


Lance Weaver describes how he moved GE’s Enterprise Applications to the Public Cloud

How do you take a Fortune 10 company and move the majority of their applications to the public cloud? On the most recent episode of the Transform IT Show, I spoke with Lance Weaver, former CTO of cloud architecture at GE; he shared with me exactly how they’re approaching this seemingly futile task. And as we discussed his career and approaches, I found six easy steps that I think explain why Weaver and GE are going to achieve the impossible.

Step 1: Start with Attitude

GE employees adopted a certain attitude when it came to the cloud. They didn’t approach it like it was something to explore and think about. Instead, they viewed the cloud as necessary to ensuring their customers maintain a competitive advantage in the marketplace. That perspective left no room for failure.

Step 2: Go Wide

Weaver had the courage to lead this project for two reasons: his broad technical experience, and the push from his mentor, bosses, and the overall GE culture to step outside his comfort zone. He learned new jobs, new ways to lead people, and interacted with new lines of business. It was his ability to go wide that gave him the confidence he needed to attempt the impossible.

Step 3: Shape the Culture – Starting with Yourself

Anyone can make this kind of change happen; a company’s culture is really what you choose to make of it. Weaver suggested that we all must be willing to challenge ourselves, to step outside our comfort zones, to focus on the mission and strategy of the company and by doing so to create the kind of influence you need to drive meaningful change. 

Step 4: Balance Focus and Adaptability

Get a crystal clear understanding of your goals and the exact problems you’re trying to solve. By focusing on your business goals, you won’t get tied to any one technology — you’ll be willing to constantly reassess your situation to ensure you meet your benchmarks. While focus is critical, it can never be at the expense of adaptability. Always compare where you’re at to where you’re trying to go.

Step 5: Communicate, Communicate, Communicate

Communication is imperative when it comes to succeeding with any major effort to change an organization. Weaver discussed the need to communicate openly early in the process. Usually, executive leadership and surrounding teams want to be a part of the effort — you just need to have open discussions with them and give them a chance.

Step 6: Stand in Place

Big change takes big risk. Your team will likely be unwilling to do that until they understand the ripple effect when one of those risks doesn’t pay off. When things go wrong, the most important thing you can do as a leader is … nothing. Hold your ground. Take the heat. Don’t shirk your responsibility or blame anyone else. Stand in place.

Weaver went on to say that if you have a track record of delivering, if you’ve communicated, if people trust you, then your team will be willing to stand in place with you. And that will be the defining moment. It will be the moment when people understand that this is real and that they can take those big risks with you. And that’s when big change happens. That’s when you can begin to conquer the impossible.

If you haven’t yet seen the full episode of Transform IT with Lance Weaver, you can watch it here.

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About IDT

The Institute for Digital Transformation is a content and media organization, existing in the space between a think tank and an analyst/research firm. Through our network of Institute Fellows, we explore the impacts on organizations and their leaders as we transition from the Industrial to the Digital Era. Producing a wide range of insightful and thought-provoking content ranging from white papers and eBooks to interactive development programs to live events, we help develop leaders for the Digital Era and help them transform their organizations into Digital Enterprises.