How to Approach and Gain Value from the Cloud

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By: Daniel Newman|

CIOs pride themselves on solving some of today’s most difficult technology issues, and cloud computing is definitely at the top of that list. The cloud presents a unique challenge because public and hybrid cloud solutions often utilize customized variables for their specific needs. Today’s CIO must focus on empowering employees, vendors, and customers with the necessary tools for a positive user experience.

Transitioning From Legacy Systems

Many CIOs face the issue of transitioning from a legacy system to the cloud. For large companies, there’s usually no simple path to follow. Sure, new applications are designed for the cloud, but what about the numerous pre-existing applications that won’t adapt as easily? These pose a greater management challenge because someone has to move, kill, or consolidate each application. I encourage today’s CIOs to use their IT teams to properly evaluate each tool’s purpose, viability, and transition.

Don’t Get Overwhelmed by Cloud Security

Cloud security continues to concern most CIOs. Security is such a complex issue because it often requires several systems tied together to cover all risk areas. Many companies depend on a medley of tools to protect against malware, antivirus, and web gateways—but it’s easy to get bogged down in the minutiae of it all.

Data loss prevention may be the number one concern. Companies that manage health records, online transactions, and social security numbers need tools in place to halt data transfer when red flags are identified. Companies that work with sensitive data must review a cloud service provider’s security framework closely. CIOs should ask about the vendor’s standard approach to security and understand their encryption processes.

Security breaches happen—not because we store information in the cloud, but because of the way we manage the information. CIOs should spearhead security procedures, but IT teams must partner with managed service providers for training, troubleshooting, and day-to-day operations.

Industry Dynamics Set the Stage

Over the next few years, industry dynamics will determine whether cloud outsourcing will eliminate traditional methods, hybrid outsourcing options will continue, or new processes will emerge. Cloud systems lack the maturity of traditional solutions, so CIOs are right to be cautious when deciding if and where cloud services are beneficial. Make your concerns known to the IT team, but listen to their recommendations for where cloud-based tools would be effective.

Future of New Cloud Services

Even though cloud-based systems lack maturity, traditional IT solutions often lack flexibility and practical adaptability. Dogmatic commitment to antiquated software slows innovation, makes solutions difficult to scale, and usually lowers profits, while cloud systems are agile and promote innovation.

Over time, service providers will likely maximize the cloud’s potential. Ingenuity is usually rife with growing pains, and managing risk through untested terms and conditions may temporarily limit service providers’ current capabilities. For CIOs to mitigate excessive costs, strategic foresight is a functional imperative. In other words, executive IT professionals should regularly evaluate the utility of cloud-based tools.

Life Cycle of Services Sourcing

Service sourcing requires sourcing strategies, vendor selections, contracting, and maintenance. This is its life cycle, and it necessitates proper planning and management. Businesses using cloud IT solutions utilize all types of methods created, combined, and packaged by outsourcing services. Subsequently, a cloud provider (CSP) can deliver these services directly to the business or multiple vendors, requiring the IT team to efficiently configure the solutions for delivery.

The Complete Role of the Cloud Service Provider (CSP)

Every business wants a cloud solution that increases productivity, but many organizations struggle to put these systems in place and effectively monitor them. Because of this, CSPs must provide initial client support to ensure cloud services are implemented correctly.

First, CSPs should begin with an assessment of pre-existing data infrastructures to identify the easiest functions to shift to the cloud. This move can begin immediately without disrupting current workflow. A quality CSP will walk clients through cloud options and explain their differences. This minimizes uncertainty and reduces anxiety commonly felt by CIOs and IT professionals during the adoption phase.

Second, CSPs should implement the solutions and employee training so everyone can use the new systems effectively. CSPs should address customer needs for availability, performance, and security. In other words, the CSP needs to do a lot more than simply deliver a solution. I strongly encourage CIOs and CSPs to hammer out these practical details before signing any contracts. This will eliminate a lot of potential conflict and frustration for companies moving to cloud-based computing.

This process shouldn’t be a stressful challenge for CIOs. Gaining a clear understanding of cloud strengths and weaknesses and relying on competent IT professionals to implement and provide training is critical to the successful implementation of cloud solutions.

 

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About The Author

Daniel Newman

Founder and President, Broadsuite, Inc.

After 12 years of running technology companies including a CEO appointment at the age of 28, I traded the corner office for a chance to drive the discussion on how the digital economy is going to forever change the way business is done. I'm an MBA, adjunct business professor and 4x author of best-selling business books including "The Millennial CEO" and "The New Rules of Customer Engagement." Pianist, soccer fan, husband and father, not in that order. Oh and for work...I'm the co-founder of V3B [Broadsuite], a marketing firm specializing in the digital space, helping companies be found, seen and heard in a cluttered digital world.

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