Cloud Computing Is the Future of IT: How to Convince Your Boss
Increase Awareness and Understanding for the Business Case
Seek out the advice from analysts, media and vendors, and use that insight to document the benefits of cloud computing. Make sure it is aligned with your internal business needs, and not with the external hype. Ensure management that the investment and payback are clear.
Assess Your Virtual Data Center
It is important for leaders to understand what capabilities (people, process and technology) their organization has today, what desired capabilities they would like to possess, and what is required (gap analysis) to achieve their objectives. Not only will the assessment provide a blueprint for missing components, but it will also provide an evolutional path to transforming a service-delivery model.
Determine Your Companys Organizational Needs
How is IT being delivered today: centralized, decentralized, chaotic, harmonized, through self-service portals or through layers of bureaucracy? Start this process with a specific department or workload to eliminate scope creep and increase the probability of success.
Walk Before You Run: Use Private Clouds First
With all the buzz around hybrid and public clouds, CEOs are often put off by the associated security risks and regulatory concerns of cloud computing. Start with a private cloud and explain the evolutionary path to delivering on-demand services in the confinement and security of your data center. Articulating the components of a private cloud will instill confidence in your CEO by breaking the cloud down into manageable chunks: Components in a private cloud include self-service management and provisioning, service catalogs, chargeback and a virtual data center.
Address the Long-Term Needs for Automation and Management
When talking with the CEO, explain why self-service management, automated provisioning, improved service delivery, resource usage metering and chargeback are core components of a highly optimized and efficient data center. eWEEK has a long list of articles on these topics.
Keep the Interests of the CEO in Mind
Investment and payback. Always think about what is important to the company, and consider why executives may have concerns over timely returns. Discuss deployment schedules, measurable milestones and return on investment with the CEO.
Consider the Companys External and Internal Customers
Consumers of IT can be both internal and external, and the CEO will be more interested in how the cloud helps their external customers. Provide the CEO with detailed information on how the private cloud will not only increase agility and save money, but also how it will provide a strategic advantage over your external competitors while also benefiting the customer.
Measure Advantages and Results of Private Cloud Adoption
Private cloud initiatives often focus on increasing the speed and agility gained through their adoption. Speed can and should be measured. Document your objectives (average time to provision, service response times), measure them and report against them. If you are not willing to set quantifiable goals and objectives, your CEO will question the end goal.
Talk in Management Terms
C-level executives likely will want to learn about the benefits of metering resource consumption and IT cost models, and what they would look like. At the core of private clouds is the ability to curb consumption by optimizing existing resources through metering and chargeback (reclaim, reuse and avoiding abuse). This naturally lends itself to good stewardship of capital and operational expenditures, and will lower the total cost of ownership.
Define Service-Level Agreements and Hold Vendors Accountable
When establishing a goal, keep in mind that it should always be quantifiable, measurable and achievable. Everyone is pitching cloud computing to your CEO. Instill confidence in your CEO that you will recommend only solutions that deliver results with realistic timelines and milestones. Your CEO understands service-level agreements and how scope creep can impact them, so start by holding vendors accountable. Document expectations, timelines and penalties; don't let the company's plan for private cloud adoption become a spendthrift project.