How to Gain C-Suite Support for Cloud Initiatives

Organizations across the globe accelerated cloud adoption last year in order to support their remote workforces. Flexera’s 2021 State of the Cloud Report finds that virtually all companies now use some form of cloud, with the vast majority adopting a multi-cloud strategy.

Challenges remain, however. As Flexera CEO Jim Ryan noted, “cloud isn’t magic or the land of milk and honey.” In fact, more than a third of U.S. businesses report they have failed to realize anticipated benefits from their cloud migrations.

IT Expectations & Realities

A persistent disconnect between executive expectations and IT realities is often a barrier to cloud success. According to Wakefield Research, 82 percent of IT leaders say their companies’ leaders don’t fully understand how the cloud works, and 76 percent say executives underestimate the time and cost of cloud management. If the cloud strategy isn’t tightly aligned with broader business strategy, it can result in misaligned objectives, stalled projects, and friction between IT and the C-suite.

Making the Case for Cloud Communications

Effective communication is the key to properly aligning expectations. Non-technical executives might generally support cloud projects, but often don’t fully understand how they will deliver specific improvements. IT leaders sometimes fail to make a convincing business case for cloud migrations, relying instead on industry-specific jargon and highly technical language when pitching projects.

Getting C-suite support for cloud initiatives requires a different type of conversation. Cloud usage isn’t just an IT issue — it will touch every aspect of the business. As a result, IT leaders must be able to demonstrate how cloud initiatives link to business strategies that support the organization’s overall mission.

Here are some of the ways to discuss cloud initiatives with C-suite executives:

  • Take a business-first approach.

    Before detailing IT benefits, address specific business outcomes your cloud project can deliver. For example, you could make a pitch for improving key contact center metrics such as first-call resolution and average handle time, and then work backwards to show how a Contact-Center-as-a-Service (CCaaS) solution can deliver that outcome.

  • Prepare a proof of concept.

    Many executives have been burned in the past by signing off on IT projects that failed to deliver the promised value. A proof of concept that demonstrates how a cloud service or application works in real-word conditions is a valuable tool for demonstrating that a proposed solution meets a business need.

  • Have well-defined objectives and metrics.

    It is important to clearly define the resources that will be required to produce a specific business outcome. You should develop a complete list of all incremental projects, including a summary of the people, processes, applications, hardware and services that will be needed for each.

  • Understand your timeline.

    Long-term plans are important for broadly establishing your organization’s direction, but the rapid pace of technology innovation can change things in a hurry. Don’t look too far down the road when making decisions about planning and funding specific IT initiatives.

  • Don’t focus on cost alone.

    Cost reduction can be a compelling reason for moving workloads and applications to the cloud. However, cloud cost overruns are fairly common — often because organizations don’t account for secondary costs associated with cloud migrations, including readiness assessments, connectivity upgrades, security and skills development.

Aligning cloud initiatives with specific business outcomes is key to winning C-suite support. If you are unsure how to make your case, we can help. IPC consultants understand how to present technical information to non-technical audiences, and we can help you build a solid business case for moving to the cloud.