The Doppler Quarterly Winter 2016 - Page 17

In the 1970s, a psychologist named Noel Burch cre- ated a learning model to describe how humans go through four stages of learning when introduced to a new skill. This model is known as The Four Stages of Competence. organizations mature as they progress through the learning curve. Wikipedia does a good job of providing the following high level summary of the model: At the unconscious incompetence stage, the lack of knowledge of the underlying technology, organiza- tional impact, and potential business value causes organizations to deny the usefulness of cloud com- puting. Some call it resistance to change, but it is really a lack of understanding of the core value prop- osition. Organizations in this stage dispute the bene- fits of cloud and use things like security, compliance, and outages as justification for continuing to run IT with a legacy data center mentality. 1. Unconscious Incompetence The individual does not understand or know how to do something and does not necessarily recognize the deficit. They may deny the usefulness of the skill. The individual must recognize their own incompetence, and the value of the new skill, before moving on to the next stage. The length of time an individual spends in this stage depends on the strength of the stimulus to learn. 2. Conscious Incompetence Though the individual does not understand or know how to do something, he or she does recognize the deficit, as well as the value of a new skill in addressing the deficit. The making of mistakes can be integral to the learning process at this stage. 3. Conscious Competence The individual understands or knows how to do something. However, demonstrating the skill or knowledge requires concentration. It may be broken down into steps, and there is heavy conscious involve- ment in executing the new skill. 4. Unconscious Competence The individual has had so much practice with a skill that it has become “second nature” and can be per- formed easily. As a result, the skill can be performed while executing another task. The individual may be able to teach it to others, depending upon how and when it was learned. This model has many parallels to how I see large organizations adapt to cloud computing. The follow- ing stages of cloud adoption are not based on scien- tific analysis or modeling, but rather how I have seen Applying the Model to Cloud Stage 1: Cloud Denial Stage 2: Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Cloud At the conscious incompetence stage, many either see tangible value in the cloud or have a mandate from the C-suite to go cloud. However, these organi- zations don’t necessarily trust cloud providers, espe- cially public cloud vendors, and they continue to apply their legacy data center thinking to the cloud architectures that they build. They also still want to be in control because they think that the cloud is only safe if they build it themselves. A lot of blood, sweat, tears and money is shed over the next year or two but the business value is rarely achieved at the levels that were anticipated. These organizations are turning their companies into infrastructure companies, instead of turning them into software companies. Stage 3: Cloud Transformation Those at the conscious competence stage have a year or two of hands on experience with the cloud and a solid understanding of IaaS. At this point, most orga- nizations realize the DIY model is complex and time consuming. Now that those driving the change understand the underlying technologies, the organizational impacts, and the potential business value, they often start looking for ways to accelerate their cloud adoption programs. This is where companies who previously said “we will never go to the public cloud” change their mindset to “tell me what I can’t run in the public WINTER 2016 | THE DOPPLER | 15