The Seven Habits of Highly Effective CTOs

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective CTOs

“While we are free to choose our actions, we are not free to choose the consequences of our actions.”
– Stephen R. Covey, management guru and author of the bestseller The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.

I will readily admit it; the title’s a derivative of Covey’s self-help book that has sold more than 15 million copies in 38 languages since it was first published in 1989. Although the seven “habits” I am about to mention will never help as wide an audience as Covey’s general advice, they can definitely help the CTO (Chief Technology Officer) of the future navigate the big, bad world of cloud computing.

1. Adopt and Adapt

First of all, adopt cloud computing. If that’s a no-brainer, the second part – adapt – may need some getting used to. Moving to the cloud is a paradigm shift in how IT is treated in an organization; for example, the CTO will learn to have to trust the service provider with his valuable data. And accepting this will require a high degree of adaptability.

2. Be Inquisitive

Once you decide to migrate to the cloud, know what the right questions to ask are; questions such as:

  1. What kind of cost savings can I expect and how do I achieve them quickly?
  2. How can I cut back on capital expenditure without compromising on access to latest technology?
  3. Which cloud computing products and services sync well with my existing infrastructure?
  4. Is there anything so highly confidential that I wouldn’t want to put on the cloud?
  5. What kind of training will my employees require to get the most out of this migration?
  6. Are there any legal restrictions that prevent me from putting data on to the cloud?
  7. What cloud computing structure should I opt for?

The following articles will help you in formulating the correct questions, and seek answers to them:

Cloud Computing For Dummies: SaaS, PaaS, IaaS And All That Was

Is Cloud Computing Secure? Yes Another Perspective

Cloud Computing Risks (And How to Deal With Them)

Computing Without Borders – What Works, What Doesn’t

3. Be Realistic

Popular literature has made “cloud computing” the technology buzzword of the decade. You may have even read that moving to the cloud can cut your costs by half while doubling your efficiencies. While monumental improvements are definitely possible, you will face several teething problems when making the shift from traditional IT infrastructure to cloud computing. Be realistic in your expectations and don’t promise the moon to the board of directors.

4. Prioritize

Cloud computing offers several advantages – reduced costs, improved efficiencies, increased scalability, expanded redundancy, etc. However, you may have to make a choice regarding which specific characteristic is more important to you. While it is technically possible to have your cake and eat it too, some prioritization will help you set your house in order.

5. Diversify

This is a maxim that has held its value since time immemorial – do not put all your eggs in one basket. Although cloud computing does have several advantages, shifting en masse may cause more problems than benefits. A staggered shift implementing hybrid clouds is recommended.  (See: Having the Best of Both Worlds with Hybrid Clouds.)

6. Negotiate

This is especially important when dealing with cloud computing contracts, since this area hasn’t matured. Consequently, there are lots of legal lacunae you will have to negotiate in order to get the best possible deal for your firm, besides protecting it from future mishaps. I had discussed this issue in an earlier article (See: The Small Print in Cloud Computing Contracts ).

7. Be Aware

Now, your attention should not flag once a cloud computing solution has been implemented. Since this is a young technology, it is very likely that better alternatives will soon be available. Your ability to continue adopting the latest innovations will determine your firm’s continuing success.

By Sourya Biswas

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