Bringing Information Technology to the Forefront through Cloud Computing
“Business has only two functions – marketing and innovation.”
– Milan Kundera, Czech novelist, playwright and poet.
This is an age of marketing. From pins to planes, everything’s branded. Therefore, unless you can market your product or service, no one will buy – even if it’s the best one round. The same holds true for individual career growth. There may be several competent people around, but the employee who rises in the company hierarchy and gets the fat bonus is the one who catches the eye of the senior manager.
Now replace “employee” in the above sentence with “CTO (Chief Technological Officer)” and “senior manager” with “Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and the Board of Directors,” and it still holds true. In other words, the CTO’s personal growth in the company is tied into his visibility with the CEO and the Board. This article is directed at that CTO who is interested in increasing his personal stock with the powers-that-be.
The CTO knows well enough that in non-IT (Information Technology) sectors, IT is considered a support function. Although it may be a necessary requirement for every kind of business today, other functions rule the roost when it comes to visibility and taking credit for success, functions like business development, operations, and – no surprises here – marketing.
In order to be considered more than a support function, IT has to show itself as the driver of business and the source of tangible benefits for the organization. Migrating from traditional IT infrastructure to cloud computing can do exactly that.
Two of the clearest determinants that cloud computing can have a tangible impact on are costs and efficiencies. Consider the following example. You are the CTO of a firm that has thousands of employees spread all across the globe, most of whom need to communicate with each other regularly. It is obvious that email communication is an integral aspect of business. Now, if you convince the Board to adopt a cloud-based email service like Gmail, you can immediately reduce costs of operations on the Income Statement. Combine that with the ability to share documents through Google Apps and you can directly affect productivity and efficiencies as well.
And operational costs are not the only area where you as the CTO can project cloud computing as a better alternative. If your company is expanding, the Board will be most happy if you tell it that capital expenditure for additional server and related hardware is not required; a fixed service fee, that can be increased or decreased as per demand, will suffice (See: How Cloud Computing Can Save You Money).
Perhaps it will be difficult to push the redundancy and disaster recovery angle unless actual disaster strikes, but the recent earthquakes in Japan and New Zealand can be definite talking points. (See: Earthquakes and Cloud Computing). Also, with “going green” being the management mantra of the decade, perhaps the energy-saving capabilities of cloud computing can be a determinant in pushing IT to the forefront (See: How Green Is Cloud Computing?).
Of course, you will have to be conscious of the risks. However, with proper allocation of resources and attention to detail, it is possible to minimize them (See: Cloud Computing Risks (And How to Deal With Them ) . Pay special attention to the contract you sign with the cloud computing services vendor and have Legal go through every word. (See: The Small Print in Cloud Computing Contracts).
Therefore, a move to the cloud is in the interest of the firm, the CTO and the entire IT department. With cloud computing, IT will no longer be just an enabler of business, but a driver of business.
By Sourya Biswas