Cloud is business, not technology

02 November 2018

Cloud – that great, all-encompassing solution to solve all IT problems.  This is what many IT companies and departments would have you believe.  But that’s not always the case.

Cloud can address some imminent challenges that companies face, such as replacing aging hardware or placing a ‘cost-per-user’ model onto your email requirements, giving more flexibility, but these decisions in isolation do not make for strategy.

An IT strategy in isolation of a business strategy does little to address the business challenges, nor does it help realise the real benefits that Cloud can produce.  We fully appreciate that any IT strategy will seriously look at the financial return on investment and total cost of ownership models as part of the expected diligence, but really this is only part of the story.

Cloud as technology

Why does a disjointed approach happen so frequently?  We believe that organisations generally see Cloud as a technology, rather than a core business component.  Organisations look to the IT department to decipher and work out how best to make use of this ‘technology’, with commercial governance applied by the finance department.  The reality is every department has a stake in this and should be more involved in the strategy.

Organisations have put a lot of time into refining processes to line up with IT procurement and business processes surrounding the design build and support of IT systems.

The amount of time this takes has historically been a source of frustration for business departments who wish to be agile and responsive. The blame for this is often apportioned to the IT department as they are often viewed as key to the progress of initiatives which require technology in their solutions.

IT are often required to measure business success, but with a large disconnect in the business requirements and pressure on the IT department to deliver quickly, this often leads to conflict.  As a result, many projects fail before completion.

Cloud as a business enabler

Cloud is often relegated to tactical projects as outlined above. Email is an easy decision if you are looking to upgrade anyway.  And what does this give you?  A new place to put your inboxes with a new interface and is managed easily and remotely.  Plus, that budget-ready ‘cost-per-user’ number that finance needs.  Is this success?  Possibly.  Measurable?  Perhaps not.  The financial impact is, but when has a new email system really delivered business benefit that can be measured?

Marketing in the Cloud

The Cloud allows departments like marketing to work more effectively and gives them the chance to build campaigns around new-to-market products quickly and tear them down again just as quick. They can respond to the success, or failure, of each campaign by providing more or less capacity to each campaign.

Every department should be able to align the needs of their departments with the technology they use which should be front-and-centre to any discussion around Cloud.  This is only possible if you have a business strategy aligned to an IT strategy for the various aspects of Cloud provision.  This is not a new concept, this has been the case since before Cloud was established. It’s just the parameters like execution, speed and payment mediums have changed.


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