Charles M. Schwab was a famous American industrialist who revolutionised the steel industry. He famously said that “the hardest struggle of all is to be something different from what the average man is” and it’s a sentiment that many IT leaders may agree with.
Ever since the emergence of cloud computing, there has been resistance in businesses about adopting any form of cloud technology. A quick internet search will quickly reveal that the myths surrounding cloud computing are still strong, with people believing that cloud computing is less secure, will replace jobs or it’s too expensive to make the change.
IT professionals and CIOs don’t need convincing about the benefits of cloud technology but may struggle to convince other members of the organisation, who could control the budget or have the final say. While it can be frustrating when others can’t recognise the benefits of cloud computing, it’s best to present statistics and strategies that relate specifically to your business. This will allow others to see how the business can benefit, rather than make general claims or be drawn into a theoretical argument.
It’s also key to make sure that the arguments used to present the case for cloud computing fit the other person’s priorities. If you can convince them that cloud computing will help them to meet one of their own objectives, they may be more receptive to your ideas. With this in mind, there are three key arguments to present in support of a move to cloud computing: connectivity, efficiency and flexibility.
The increase in remote working has significantly impacted HR departments. Data suggests that by 2020, half of the UK workforce will be working remotely, so the trend will only continue in years to come. HR departments are also obliged by law to consider requests for flexible working arrangements and those looking to attract millennial graduates may need to offer remote working to meet their expectations.
With facilitating remote working as a priority, IT staff may have success with HR departments in emphasising how cloud computing can make working remotely easier. Employees can use their own devices to work from home, somewhere else in the office, with a customer or on-the-go between meetings.
However, your HR director may raise concerns about the security of devices that are owned personally by employees. While the bring your own device (BYOD) model works well in some organisations that ensure that employees follow basic cybersecurity procedures, the corporate-owned, personally enabled (COPE) model is becoming increasingly common to solve this threat.
In this model, IT managers can control the types of devices that are running their software and ensure that they are maintained effectively. While employees can still use them for personal use, this means that IT departments can install the right security software and updates. If the devices are lost, this also gives the organisation more rights to wipe the data, which is illegal on personal devices in countries such as Germany.
By alleviating concerns about security and helping HR departments meet their own objectives, you may find that the HR director in your next board meeting becomes less resilient to cloud.
Another approach to encourage cloud computing use is the benefits that it gives a company in terms of efficiency, which is a useful argument to convince your CEO with. With their backing, the move to cloud computing is a much more authoritative one that will be respected across the organisation.
Cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) software connects the different departments in a company to see where efficiency savings can be made. In a large organisation, the sales, marketing and finance departments could be situated in complete opposite sides of a building. Without regular meetings, they could be missing out on opportunities to share information.
For example, a salesperson going to see a customer could use cloud software on their way to the meeting to see whether they’d been sent the latest marketing material or see if they’d been paying their invoices recently, their order history and any specific discounts that are applied to this customer.
It’s not just anecdotal evidence either that could convince your CEO. The Cloud Enterprise Report found that 71% of businesses worldwide use the cloud to improve efficiency and IDC predicts that, this year, 70% of a business’ total output will be held back because of outdated business models and legacy technology.
Once the HR department and the CEO is convinced of the benefits of cloud computing, the next hurdle is convincing the director of finance that changing to a cloud based system is worth the financial investment.
The reasons for the investment are two-fold. By allowing a third party to manage the cloud-based software, which could include ERP and customer relationship management (CRM) systems, it takes some of the pressure off IT teams. The IT department no longer has to worry about data backups or hardware failure, as these are managed remotely.
>See also: Businesses need to talk about the cloud
Instead, the IT team could allocate their resources more efficiently, perhaps to help facilitate remote working or to work proactively to foresee the business’ next challenge.
The second financial benefit of moving to cloud software is that businesses can scale up and down their software depending on business growth. Rather than having to host servers themselves and invest more space as the business grows, cloud computing is adaptable to the needs of the business, whether it faces a sudden increase in demand or sudden difficulties because of unexpected circumstances.
Finance teams are understandably concerned about making a move to cloud computing if they believe it is a long term immovable commitment. However, the flexibility of cloud computing could help them to understand how it makes financial sense.
>See also: Top 10 benefits of cloud computing
In any organisation, there will always be those more reluctant to change, no matter whether it is an IT change, a change in policy or in leadership. Having the whole company on board, as is necessary when moving to cloud computing, can therefore seem like a difficult task.
However, armed with reasons of flexibility, efficiency and cost-savings that appeal to the individual members of the board, CIOs and senior IT managers can convince their organisations how cloud computing can help the entire organisation, rather than just the IT department.
Sourced by James Bedford, director of Infrastructure Services at CPiO Limited