Tips for Talking to the C-Suite: How to Make the Business Case for the Cloud

BY:

Dec 23, 2015

Tips-for-Taking-to-the-C-Suite-How-to-Make-the-Business-Case-for-the-CloudFunding decisions happen at the executive level, which means a convincing business case is the key. Is it your responsibility to help them decide on a cloud strategy? You’ll need to articulate the value.

The C-Suite must understand the business impact solved by cloud computing. It’ll be your job to prove increased flexibility, cost savings and scalability. A bullet-proof business case backed by financial analysis is how you do it. Here are tips on how to make your business case.

Strategy in hand

A business case requires a strategic plan for the cloud. Make your plan with these four steps:

1. Assess which IT resources and services should migrate. What have others already moved? Which use the most resources?

2. Decide what goes and what stays. Which mission-critical resources must stay on-premise? Are there applications with dependencies?

3. Look at logistics and cost. Can you create a scenario of impact to the enterprise?

4. Make it a complete case. Have you included all resources and services in the strategy? Some may not migrate to the cloud. They remain a part of your strategy.

Do the numbers back it up?

Be prepared to show the cost of what’s at stake and the savings of the solution. You’ll push those two elements against these four areas of the enterprise.

  • Security. What’s the cost of a data breach? Turn that into a dollar figure.
  • Return on investment. It’s not just hardware capital expenditure. Migration to the cloud slows or often reduces IT personnel count. Show the potential savings as a dollar figure.
  • Employee satisfaction and productivity. Yes, your IT department is happy. Cloud migration is a benefit to the entire workforce. It supports a more flexible workplace. There’s an increase in productivity—quantify it.
  • Customer service. The workforce has more time to focus on innovation. That’s a direct benefit to the customer experience.

The top 3 benefits to prove your business case

Use the financial benefits you’ve uncovered to assemble your business case. You’ll make a solid case that the cloud drives innovation and increases speed to market when you focus on the three areas that matter most to decision-makers.

1. Cost savings. The cloud lets you offload support, maintenance, and licensing costs. The provider assumes this. They also maintain data centers, servers, and other equipment. Security and support services shift to their responsibility, too. The cloud improves cash flow. Cloud computing becomes an expense. Its annual cost can be written off against business revenue.

2. Scalability. Business should only get better. That’s not always in your hands. Cloud computing allows your company to ramp up or scale down IT requirements based on what you need. You’re not hampered by a lack – or an excess – of IT resources. This can be valuable for businesses that have seasonal selling periods. The cloud supports business fluctuations in a way that traditional IT departments cannot.

3. Flexibility. Cloud computing makes your employees more flexible, at the office and on the road. They can access files using their smartphones, laptops, and notebooks. Collaboration increases, too. They can share documents and resources over the Internet. The cloud finally removes the obstacles presented by “bring your own device (BYOD)” policies.

Presentation tips

  • Use data visualization to build credibility. Data is essential to building your case for the C-Suite. Make it sharp and focused.
  • Help the C-Suite understand what it all means from a financial perspective. Show them what insights the data has uncovered.
  • Data is useless without interpretation. Use it to build a story and its result. Enhance the data with real-world examples.
  • The data and the story must point to financial gains. C-Suite executives aren’t impressed by features. They want to know benefits.

Stand by for approval

It’s not enough to know what IT resources your company needs and how cloud adoption meets them. You also must show the financial benefit. Action items backed by dollar amounts create a business case worthy of the C-Suite.

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