As IT teams reinvent themselves to support corporate digitalization, one important task is explaining the benefits of cloud computing to all relevant colleagues, from the CFO to a corporate lawyer to a product manager.
The right investments in cloud technology will help IT teams respond to requests more quickly – especially those that require getting a new idea to market – to scale an IT service up or down in response to heightened volatility, and to adapt to a host of changing business needs.
The best communication efforts go beyond the technical details of cloud adoption or migration plans to focus on six topics that colleagues care about.
Cloud basics: Cloud computing delivers a host of features that are difficult to provide using traditional, on-premise infrastructure.
Include basic definitions of the different cloud computing models — software-as-a-service, platform-as-a-service, and infrastructure-as-a-service — to ensure stakeholders understand what type of cloud you are referring to.
Cloud value drivers: There are four primary business value drivers that motivate cloud adoption — speed, elasticity, innovation, and cost efficiency.
Ensure your strategy states how you’ve determined business needs and used that information to prioritize investments in cloud capabilities.
Cloud economics: The economics of cloud (see form at the bottom of the page) are often misunderstood, especially by those outside of IT.
Be sure to communicate that while elastic, pay-as-you-go cloud services may present an opportunity to cut costs by avoiding asset overprovisioning and underutilization typical of traditional, fixed capacity planning, it does require investment first up front.
Cloud adoption timeline: It’s important to understand the timing of cloud investments — when cloud provisioning will start and at what rate it will happen — to make the migration as cost efficient as possible.
Cloud adoption timelines should clearly convey the level of effort and requirements involved to show stakeholders that cloud cannot just be “turned on.”
Managing cloud risks: Public cloud services present flaws and new challenges that can add to the risk of cloud adoption.
Be upfront about risks when communicating to colleagues, forge consensus on what are non-negotiable risks and what are acceptable risks (i.e., the ones that can be managed and mitigated).
Talent for the cloud: Paint the picture for your audience on how IT needs to develop generalist teams that are technically versatile, collaborative and open to innovation, and how this will guide the workforce changes needed to operate on the cloud. Specific cloud relevant skills can be developed internally when possible and sourced externally when needed.
Tailor, Tailor, Tailor
Above all else, remember to keep your audience in mind. When preparing to talk about cloud computing and your cloud strategy, consider what it is about cloud computing that interests the people you’re speaking to. To help you get started, here are three of the most important decision-makers and their likely interest in the topic:
- CFO: Having visibility into the cost and balance sheet impact of cloud adoption.
- CIO: Enabling strategic value with new and efficient cloud services.
- CEO: The potential for accomplishing work faster, and support for digital initiatives.