By now, cloud computing is such a common element in our daily lives that it is essentially ubiquitous – it seems to be everywhere, all the time, no exceptions. The major benefits of cloud computing, especially in an enterprise environment, are well known at this point. It’s a more secure alternative to the “old school” method of business technology. It’s a way to empower communication and increase collaboration. It’s the only way to be just as productive from home (or anywhere else in the world, for that matter) as you can be in your office.
Yet, for some reason, it’s still a total mystery to many CIOs in particular.
Despite the fact that 74% of CFOs said that cloud computing was the thing that had the most measurable impact on their business in 2017, it is still their counterpart – the Chief Information Officer – that is holding things back. Part of this has to do with the fact that they’re still locked into an older mindset about what technology and communications are and what they can be, due in large part to the fact that the average age of a CIO is between 45 and 54 years old. Others are simply carrying around misconceptions about what it means to work with a vendor to host IT services in the first place.
But none of these are challenges that cannot be overcome with the right perspective.
Indeed, it is precisely that – perspective – that will be your most valuable asset on your journey to bring your CIO on board with everything that the cloud has to offer. If you truly want to bring these executives around to this new way of computing, there are a few key things you’ll want to keep in mind.
Don’t Sell Specs. Sell Value.
The cloud is a complicated topic by its very nature – in truth, it’s still a mystery to many IT professionals, even the ones who rely on it every day. Because of that, when trying to educate your CIO about the true power of the cloud, resist the urge to fall back on reams of technical specifications and product sheets. Really, this is little more than the fastest way to get someone’s eyes to glaze over. To really make your point in a compelling way, focus less on what the cloud can do… and more on what it can do for your business.
Don’t Sell Services. Sell Value.
Frame your arguments in a way that allows you to better address the pain points that your CIO actually has. Talk about the massive reduction in upfront costs that are typically associated with this type of technology buy-in. Illustrate the ways that you’ll be exchanging large, unpredictable costs to purchase equipment (not to mention those associated with maintaining it, upgrading it and training people to use it) in exchange for one fixed, competitive monthly rate.
Go into greater detail about the fact that your own in-house IT professionals will now no longer need to devote so much time to mundane administrative tasks, because these now fall under the responsibility of a third-party vendor. Instead, they’ll be able to refocus their efforts on those that actually matter most to the business’s long-term strategy. The ones that build better relationships and drive revenue.
Essentially, you need to be able to take what you already know and contextualize it against the confusion that your CIO has in the first place. You must learn how to speak their language, in a way.
Don’t Play to Fears. Play to Strengths.
This mentality can help clear up any confusion and support your arguments in other ways, too. Take security, for example – one of the major focal points of any CIO’s day, particularly in an era where the average cost of a data breach in the United States has just hit an all-time high at $7.35 million.
Instead of fear-mongering, or talking about how it’s much harder to maintain a secure environment when everything is still in-house, come at things from the opposite angle. Talk about how much more effective your cybersecurity efforts can really be when everything is based in the cloud to begin with.
Discuss how features like enterprise-grade firewalls, advanced encryption, proactive intrusion detection, and more, all help to mitigate risk from cybersecurity issues in a much more effective way than you can build on your own. If compliance is a factor for your particular organization, be sure to address that topic as well. Cloud providers not only have experience catering to businesses in your particular industry, but their solutions are often built to exceed the standards set by PCI DSS, HIPAA and more.
But at the same time, these again become things that your CIO will not have to worry about anymore. Your vendor handles cybersecurity. Your vendor handles compliance. With that in mind, your CIO won’t be giving up control over your technology at all. They’ll be freeing themselves from the restrictions that an in-house environment brings with it, thus allowing them to focus on the most important thing of all: actually running the business they’ve already devoted so much to.
In the end, it’s totally understandable for your CIO to still have a lot of confusion about just what cloud computing can do for your organization. After all, there are seasoned IT professionals who have been using the cloud for years who still don’t really understand precisely how it works. But that doesn’t mean you should just give up – this isn’t an argument that you can lose because in truth, it’s not an argument at all.
It’s a discussion. You don’t have to convince your CIO about the benefits of cloud computing. You just have to educate them. At that point, the cloud is something that more or less sells itself.