New and Better Tasting Cheese Awaits

July 31, 2017 | Daniel Staley | HCI
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Many are familiar with the book Who Moved My Cheese1, by Spencer Johnson, MD.  For those that are not (or if it has been a while since you’ve read it), the book tells the story of two mice (Scurry and Sniff) and two tiny men (Hem and Haw).  They live in a maze and their world revolves around a big pile of cheese that they find.  The men build a house of cheese and the mice and men feast on the cheese.  There is plenty to go around.  Things are great for a while.  The mice are the first to realize that eventually the cheese will run out, so they embark on a search for new cheese.  The men, however, stay behind and are in complete denial.  They keep living life as if nothing will ever change. 

Spoiler alert: the cheese runs out. 

The men experience shock, disbelief, sadness and anger before they finally accept their new reality.  Rather than starve to death, one of the men sets out through the dark maze to find new cheese.  While he dreads this uncharted journey ahead of him, he gains more courage with each new passageway he explores. He documents life lessons on the walls of the maze during his journey.  There are about 20 life lessons in total that he scribbles upon the walls.  I won’t recount them all, but a few include:

  • Having cheese makes you happy.
  • Movement in a new direction helps you find new cheese.
  • The quicker you let go of old cheese, the sooner you find new cheese.
  • Enjoy change! Savor the adventure and enjoy the taste of new cheese!

Eventually the man finds an even bigger pile of cheese than he had before and he’s extremely happy.  Plus, he has a new attitude towards change – he not only is ready for it, but looks forward to it.

This story of change came to mind as I was tabulating PwC’s fourth annual Global HR Technology Survey results, which was recently published.  In the survey we focus heavily on HR’s journey to the cloud (a.k.a., software-as-a-service).  It has been a major “cheese moving experience” for many organizations.  54% of the organizations that have moved an HR process to the cloud cite their biggest challenge as not being ready to give up old ways of working (e.g., customizations) to adopt the new processes offered in the cloud.  Another 39% responded that they were not ready for the level of process transformation required.  Do these responses remind you a bit of Hem and Haw from Who Moved My Cheese2?

But here is where it gets interesting…and where the storybook ending comes into play.  In the survey, we also asked about levels of satisfaction for those organizations that made the journey to the cloud and, separately, we asked about levels of process change implemented.  We cross referenced the two resulting data sets and we found that those who changed the most were among the happiest.  Organizations that changed between 0 – 25% of their processes made up 26% of the “very satisfied” with the cloud category.  Those that changed processes between 75 – 100% made up 47% of the “very satisfied” population.  We also found that companies were more satisfied with cloud than on-premise HR technology when we did a process-by-process comparison.  On average, there was a 15% difference in satisfaction levels between the two.

So, when it comes to HR technology and the journey to the cloud, I guess it is true what Dr. Johnson conveys in his book: the more of your old cheese that you can leave behind, the happier you will be and the greater appetite you’ll have for the new delicacies that await. 

Bon Appetit!

Read or download the full survey at Learn about the impact the cloud is having on HR service delivery and why those on the fence should reconsider making the move. Our report outlines key lessons learned for creating a business case for cloud migration, what it takes to succeed during implementation, and how the next wave of HR technologies can help with challenges on the horizon. Be the first to share these exciting insights with your organization!

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1 Johnson, Spencer. Who Moved My Cheese?: An A-mazing Way to Deal With Change in Your Work and in Your Life. Putnam, 2002.

2 Johnson, “Who Moved My Cheese? An A-mazing Way to Deal With Change in Your Work and in Your Life.