There was a time when gaining approval for your IT projects sat within the domain of one or two decision makers. In mid-market organisations it would typically be a senior executive and then a quick tick from the Procurement team or Finance.
But, times have changed. With IT playing a significantly larger role in how the business operates, IT is now everybody’s business; the CEO, the COO, the line of business heads, everyone wants a say in how IT impacts their roles and departments.
Nowhere is this more important than in hybrid cloud decision-making and implementation. As part of your organisation’s transformation, you’re likely considering the virtues of hybrid cloud. By 2020, Gartner analysts predict that 90% of organisations will adopt a hybrid infrastructure. With its ability to bring greater efficiencies, and afford the workforce greater flexibility and agility, it’s a crucial component of your business’ evolution.
Yet, because of its far-reaching impacts across the organisation, more and more of your business leaders want to understand and have an influence in the process. As an IT leader, this means you’ve now got to do significantly more to convince people that hybrid cloud is not only right for the organisation, but right for them too.
Naturally however, business leaders will have concerns about shifting to hybrid IT deployments, especially if they’re new to the decision-making process. While some applications and workloads will inevitably stay on premise, others will move to the public cloud if the promised efficiencies are to be realised.
But, with that move come concerns; the security of the public cloud, potential data loss and leakage, regulatory compliance and the integration of public cloud with the rest of the organisation’s IT environment to name but a few.
If you’re going to deliver hybrid cloud effectively, here are common four concerns you need to tackle head on to help bring your business leaders confidently along for the ride too.
#1 “How do I know what’s going on?”
Communication is everything
As with most things in life, if it’s not communicated properly, you’re immediately onto a losing battle. And, according to Australia’s C-level executives, it’s something IT leaders need to seriously work on. Just 16 percent said they were very satisfied with the communication of cloud capabilities, adherence to project timelines or budgets, and the effectiveness in meeting company objectives.
Make sure you not only devise a plan but insist on regular meetings with those whom hybrid cloud will impact. Understand their concerns, devise ways to work together to overcome them and constantly re-evaluate if the project will meet their expectations and objectives.
#2 “How will hybrid cloud impact our department?”
Consider people and processes, not just technology
When it comes to hybrid cloud adoption, the biggest challenge isn’t technology. It’s the people and processes that have to adapt to accommodate it. This takes time, limiting the effectiveness of its adoption.
If, like most mid-market organisations you have a solid history of legacy infrastructure, you will have a longer transition period. Make sure you discuss the appropriate training and new skills required of these teams for successful adoption.
#3 “But I can’t see where our data is now”
Maintain cloud visibility
When you shift applications and workloads into the cloud, the ability to ‘see’ said applications and the data they hold can seem to disappear. It’s a natural and often concerning thing for line of business leaders. You can’t manage what you can’t see. Which is where integration between your on-premise environment and those applications and workloads in the cloud is critical.
A lack of integration between say financial information (held on premise), versus some aspects of customer experience tools (located in public cloud), may mean business leaders lack the complete picture to make the best decisions if applications aren’t joined up.This is where implementing hybrid cloud can become complex. The increasing amount of integration points required, makes operating this environment challenging. As part of the planning process with line of business heads, understand their requirements and what they need to enable them to make decisions. Once you understand their requirements, you can focus on working out how to deliver this for them. This is where IT becomes a true business and strategic partner.
#4 “What cost savings are you going to deliver?”
Talk not just to Capex vs Opex, but the company’s growth strategy
All too often, discussions around cloud economics centre on the shift of IT from Capex to Opex. Which is fine, only in so much that it focuses on your organisation’s financial strategy.
A hybrid cloud strategy is part of a wider business strategy conversation, and to be a truly effective IT leader, it needs to be discussed in terms of overall business strategy. How do the anticipated long-term cost savings from implementing a hybrid IT environment fund growth opportunity elsewhere in the business? Similarly, can short-term costs be covered by the efficiencies they create across the business?
These types of discussions will immediately elevate the status of IT from back room operations and cost centre, to boardroom business enabler.
So much to consider, so little time to do it
While you’ve likely yearned for IT to become recognised as a crucial part of business strategy, with it comes the extra responsibility of bringing the entire organisation along for the journey too. That means an increasingly bigger role for you as an IT leader to make sure you tackle hybrid cloud concerns head on.
You’ve not only got more people to convince, and more challenges to overcome. Suddenly, you’ve got to become a great communicator too, working with line of business heads to ensure their requirements can be delivered. But, if you get it right, your standing and reputation as a business enabler will be significantly enhanced.