Cloud System Integration & Support: Questions to Ask for CFOs & CIOs
If your organization is looking to shift more of its IT resources to the cloud, you are not alone — as the majority of companies have embraced cloud solutions.
Cloud adoption numbers in today’s technology supported world speak for themselves:
- 94% of enterprises use cloud services
- 67% of enterprise infrastructure in now cloud-based
- 92% of business have multi-could strategy in place or in the works 🔗
But before you go too far, it is wise to take steps to ensure your CFO and CIO agree on where you are going and how you are going to get there.
The best way to start is by conducting candid conversations about how the cloud is going to help achieve key business goals.
Questions to ask when considering Cloud system solutions:
1. How Does Cloud Computing Help Lower IT Costs?
CFOs and CIOs are probably already on the same page about the cloud’s ability to help reduce overall costs by shifting capital expenses to operating expenses, and that shared understanding will provide a good context for this conversation.
Questions to Ask During The Start of Your Cloud Discussion
- What portions of IT can be run less expensively by moving to the cloud?
- To what extent can we expect to decrease capital spending as a result of moving to the cloud?
- Will it be possible to save by buying Software as a Service (SaaS) licenses as needed rather than having to project our needs up front?
As you explore this topic, also keep in mind the impact of moving to the cloud on financial processes that you oversee, such as budgeting, fixed asset management and tax reporting.
2. What’s it Going to Cost to Get Us on the Cloud?
Alongside the conversation about what the cloud can ultimately save your business is the question of upfront costs.
Questions to Ask When Considering Cloud Migration:
- How much will your organization need to invest in evaluating cloud services providers and selecting the right one?
- What about migrating systems and training people – how will those costs stack up against the savings the cloud will deliver?
Even if the long-term savings are clear, it is vital to have a firm grasp on the initial costs, as well as costs associated with potentially reduced efficiency and income while making the transition to the cloud.
3. Does Cloud Integration Add Strategic Value?
In addition to helping internal IT run more smoothly, organizations benefit most from cloud applications that also add value to external customer relationships.
Questions to Ask About How the Cloud Drives Strategic Value:
- Is the cloud going to allow me to quickly develop and test new strategies? If so, how is that going to work?
- How is the cloud going to play a strategic role in analytics? Will migrating to the cloud make it possible to leverage cloud-to-cloud integration to improve analytics?
4. How Do We Address Security and Compliance in the Cloud?
Concerns about security in the cloud is not as great a barrier to adoption as it once was, but you still need to feel confident that the business will remain secure as you move IT to the cloud.
Questions to Ask IT Leaders When Considering Cloud Security & Compliance:
- Do we need to get our internal audit involved when we migrate to the cloud?
- Will we be able to continue to follow our security protocols and audit policies, or will we have to change them based on the cloud platform we choose?
- Do you anticipate we may be more secure in the cloud, given that cloud services providers will have dedicated teams for change control, patch management and other processes that enhance security?
- And if that is the case, do we need to rethink our security strategy to rely less on our own data centers that may not be as secure as we once thought?
5. Do We Have a Plan to Deal with Shadow IT?
Shadow IT is on the rise, as more IT devices, software and services continue to be outside the ownership or control of IT organizations.
What is Shadow IT?
Shadow IT can be defined as the use if any information technology system, device, software, application or service without getting prior approval from the IT department.
Is Shadow IT is Harmful?
This rapid growth is partly driven by the quality of consumer applications in the cloud such as file sharing apps, social media and collaboration tools, but it is also increasingly driven by lines of business deploying enterprise-class SaaS applications.
In the age of cloud computing, all it takes is an employee with a credit card to spin up a server or purchase SaaS licenses. Shadow IT can also become a compliance concern when, for example, an employee stores corporate data in their personal DropBox account.
Questions to Ask Regarding How to Protect Your Business Against Shadow IT:
- How can we protect our corporate data from exposure to unsecure cloud applications?
- What is the strategy for preventing cloud-enabled shadow IT from compromising our data security?
Bringing It All Together
They also have an opportunity to forge an alliance to be sure moving to the cloud generates greater business value for the organization.
If you are a CFO, sitting down to ask questions and exchange views with your CIO is a great way to start to develop a shared vision and approach to cloud computing that will serve you both well – and serve the organization overall.
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