The role of the IT department is changing across enterprises. A company’s digital transformation largely determines its success, from streamlining internal processes to attracting and retaining customers with innovative digital offerings. Still, many IT leaders struggle to get C-suite attention for ambitious projects. Though CIOs strive to deliver cost-saving solutions, other C-suite executives often fail to see the ROI of digital innovations and view IT as a substantial expense. Today’s IT manager isn’t a help desk for employees; they’re responsible for strategically planning a company’s storage options based on factors like security, cost, and usability. With cloud technology, IT leaders are in a position to increase company innovation while cutting costs. This provides a great opportunity for CIOs to demonstrate their abilities as strategic players in the company and gain credibility across the C-suite.
Here are three ways IT leaders can effectively implement cloud technology across their enterprises and, as a result, get a seat at the C-suite table:
1. Become well-versed in cloud system offerings
IT leaders must become well-versed in different types of cloud technology as well as its various functionalities before they can move the entire enterprise into the cloud. Many CIOs who are accustomed to on-premise configurations are wary of cloud storage and question its security and recoverability capabilities, regardless of the increasing sophistication of cloud technology. In actuality, there are many different types of cloud systems available, including private, hybrid, public and multi-cloud environments. CIOs should become well-versed in the various options to determine which is most advantageous for their specific organization.
2. Educate C-suite executives on the cloud’s benefits and dispel myths
Once CIOs understand the benefits of cloud storage, how can they get other C-suite executives up to speed? IT professionals need to adequately inform leaders from outside departments about the technology behind cloud storage in order to appeal to each executive’s respective area of interest and dispel any cloud myths that may be in play. For example, if a CEO believes that it would take too long for the enterprise to transition off on-premise storage and onto the cloud, CIOs can share information about how they can streamline cloud storage deployment. Likewise, if a CFO sees a new cloud option as too costly, it is up to the CIO to illustrate how these solutions actually have lower fixed costs and will result in substantial savings over time as compared to on-premise systems. To dispel security myths, CIOs can help business leaders understand that the security of data in the cloud has matured drastically and is often even more secure than on-premise solutions. Geo-distributed data and various layers of encryption not only protect an enterprise’s data on the cloud, but they also address another top C-suite concern by complying with regulations
3. Proactively seek new cloud solutions
Some CEOs that already understand the financial benefits of the cloud are forcing CIOs to adopt cloud technology to cut storage costs. But by the time a CEO asks the CIO to adopt cloud technology, their IT team is likely already behind the trend.
In one instance we’ve seen, a customer’s CIO lost his job as a result of waiting too long to adopt cloud technology. Their company saw their expenses decrease tenfold and saved millions of dollars each year by shifting to the cloud, which led them to wonder why their CIO hadn’t acted sooner. Instead of just considering themselves Chief Information Officers, CIOs need to be Cloud Information Officers in the sense that they must constantly be on the lookout for cost-saving, secure cloud options.
By actively presenting C-suite executives with cost-saving solutions, IT leaders become sources of company-wide innovation initiatives, rather than just technology fix-it centers. Though many business leaders are understandably hesitant to put their eggs in one basket by investing in cloud technology, it is the CIO’s responsibility to explain how it will benefit the company in the long-run. When CIOs are well educated on the different types of cloud systems that are out there as well as the benefits they offer their specific enterprises, C-suite executives will begin to see the IT department as a value generator and innovation enabler.