The Business and the Cloud - Where to Start

Leveraging the cloud within your organization comes with a unique set of challenges and hurdles, from staff training and role definition to organizational adoption. Without buy-in from the business, however, a move to the cloud can stop before it even starts. Some of the questions the business needs answered haven’t changed, while others have evolved in parallel with cloud services offerings.

In all of the discussions I’ve had regarding cloud adoption with my business counterparts, the talks have boiled down to 3 themes – education, value vs risk (from a business perspective) and security concerns. Over the course this series of 3 posts we’ll explore each of these topics and how to address them. The goal is to give you a view into what the business needs to know to feel comfortable with a move to the cloud.

It feels like we’ve been talking about the cloud in one form or another forever. But even within IT there are people who don’t truly understand the cloud. It’s hardly fair to expect those outside IT to see the value when they don’t really understand what it is. The earliest, and arguably most critical conversations you have with your business partners will involve some level of education.

The education you invest in early on will set the table for talking about the value and benefits of the cloud for your organization. If your audience doesn’t understand the basic concepts of the cloud, they will never fully grasp why your recommendation of a hybrid solution makes more sense than a full public cloud migration.

As dangerous as the uninformed partner is to your plans, the misinformed or partially informed business audience can be far worse. Make sure that your discussions not only include an understanding of the basics, but address common misconceptions about a business’s implementation of the cloud, especially as they related to costs, staffing and security.

And as with all cross-functional conversations, be sure you are 1) addressing what your audience cares about and 2) providing explanations that speak at your audience’s level. For instance, presenting cloud usage to the executive team of a multi-national corporation may require informing your audience on advancements in security that will address data residency concerns for your European operations, while a conversation to convince the president of a small, agile software firm to move to the cloud may revolve more around speed and scale.

In the next post we’ll look at putting the puzzles pieces together illustrating the value – and clarifying the risks - of your plans for the cloud, framed in ways that your business partners will understand and appreciate.