Once a source of much confusion among the C-Suite, cloud adoption is now a question of the past. According to a recent IDG Enterprise Cloud Computing Study, almost 75% of organizations have applications or infrastructure in the cloud. That figure will only increase.
So, what comes next? Now that the majority of businesses have achieved some level of cloud deployment, it’s time for organizations to take it to the next level. IT departments and business executives must gear up to further integrate, scale, and simplify their company’s cloud investments.
Beyond convincing endusers (a.k.a. the employees) of the virtues of operating in the cloud, CIOs must first convince the CFO that it’s worth the money. While this may seem like a simple task to some, it’s easier said than done. More often than not, it takes time and encouragement to get the rest of the C-suite to see eye to eye with IT on capital or operational expenditures.
To get their organization to prioritize cloud solutions, CIOs must demonstrate the cloud’s financial value and prove its ability to enhance their organization as a whole.
Gaining CFO Cloud Approval
Though showing off metrics can enhance the case for the cloud, numbers don’t always tell the whole story. IT leaders hoping to make a convincing argument to their CFO must be able to speak comprehensively about its ROI and relate it to the company’s broader strategic plan. To get their CFO on board, CIOs must identify how a more integrated cloud strategy can benefit everyone, from the IT department to employees to the bottom line.
Some benefits to highlight when talking with your CFO include:
Business benefits: When comparing cloud solutions to on-premises alternatives, there’s no question that the cloud offers a lower upfront cost, but there are additional long-term benefits. It’s the age old “buy-vs.-lease” debate. On-premises solutions do cost more upfront, but then you own the infrastructure throughout its lifecycle. However, even the best maintained on-prem solutions age over time — requiring upgrades and maintenance — which lead to more time and money spent. And eventually it will need to be replaced. Cloud solutions, while they are a sustained operational expense, reduce risk for IT and the business, as you don’t need to worry about maintenance and you can ostensibly end your lease at any time when a faster, better solution comes on the market (if you so choose). Since cloud solutions are updated through a central server, it’s always the “latest model,” and it’s instantly scalable to match your business needs.
IT benefits: There’s a reason IT leaders are pushing so strongly for integrated cloud-based systems. By replacing on-premises solutions with cloud counterparts, IT workers devote substantially less time to maintaining these outdated systems. Time, as they say, is money! In turn, IT has more time to focus on strategic projects that enhance their business as a whole. Over time, this will help leverage IT’s transformation from a gatekeeper to a strategic company asset.
Employee benefits: As companies build more comprehensive cloud or hybrid infrastructures, they’re simultaneously meeting employees’ needs and growing expectations around accessibility. Integrated cloud solutions create a flexible work environment, which has grown increasingly popular among today’s workforce. By providing secure remote access to employees, the cloud allows staff to work from anywhere, creating a more efficient way to get work done. On top of this, cloud solutions offer employees the ability to share files with their teams and send updates in real-time — fostering innovation in the workplace.
Overall, gaining CFO approval of more integrated cloud solutions will take more than highlighting data and metrics. To convince the C-suite to boost the cloud budget, CIOs must showcase the cloud’s value to the enterprise as a whole. By highlighting business, IT and employee benefits, IT leaders can make the latest cloud-related hot button issue the next question of the past.