How to Pitch Your Business Case for the Cloud

Phil WockenCloud Computing, Financial IT, Healthcare IT, Legal IT, Predictable IT Costs

How to Pitch Your Business Case for the Cloud

Moving your organization’s IT environment to the cloud is a decision and process that involves nearly every leader within your organization. What’s more, they all have unique perspectives and driving forces for endorsing and adopting change.

In our experience providing specialized cloud services to specialized industries like healthcare IT, financial services IT and legal IT, we’ve worked with every stakeholder in the process and have overcome nearly every objection in the book.

Here’s a quick guide to help you sell the value of the cloud within your organization.

CEO, PRACTICE ADMINISTRATOR, MANAGING PARTNER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

The leadership within a company often has the business’ overall goals and objectives in mind when considering large strategic shifts, like moving to a cloud-based computing platform. They don’t get bogged down with the details, but instead consider how a move like this will affect the organization as a whole.

Consider these talking points for the business leader in your company:

  • Scale for growth – Organizations can add locations or users for a fraction of the cost in a fraction of the time in a cloud environment. Unlike the traditional in-house IT infrastructure that requires additional capital investment, space and manpower when a company grows, the cloud easily scales for growth with a simple, pre-approved, per-user fee.
  • Capex vs opex – The cloud is a monthly, operational expense rather than the large capital investment of servers, storage and network equipment. Business decision makers often like this “feature” of the cloud because it allows them to use the limited capital budget on new technologies that improve patient care or client experiences.
  • Security and compliance – Security and compliance used to be a barrier to the cloud, but it’s now viewed as a driver to the cloud. Specialty cloud services providers like Netgain are SSAE 18-compliant and have entire security teams in place to protect your sensitive data. In addition, our partnership with Azure and AWS means we have access to the multi-million-dollar, multi-layer security platform of the top hyperscale clouds. Our CEOs, Practice Administrators, Managing Partners and Executive Directors often tell us “we wouldn’t be able to hire to build the depth of security that Netgain includes in their cloud platform.”

CIO, IT DIRECTOR, IT MANAGER

The person in charge of IT within your organization is typically one of the greatest advocates of moving to the cloud. They see how the cloud can improve the reliability, availability and security of the organization’s IT environment.

Here are three vital talking points when proposing the cloud to your IT leader:

  • Augmented IT team – When you work with a cloud services provider, you have access to their teams of technology specialists. For instance, Netgain has teams who specialize in security, networking, server virtualization, storage and support. The breadth and depth of expertise are unrivaled and provides incredible bench strength to the in-house IT team.
  • Specialization – Working with a cloud services partner who specializes in the same, highly-specialized industry is a huge benefit of the cloud. Your IT team will gain a partner who “speaks their language,” allowing for a more powerful IT environment. Netgain, for instance, has been working with healthcare practices, financial services firms and law firms for nearly 20 years and has established expertise in clinical and firm IT operations and how users need to use the system. This allows us to better serve our clients so you can provide more comprehensive and expansive services.
  • Ability to focus on strategic projects – Migrating your organization’s core IT infrastructure to the cloud often frees up the IT leader to focus on other strategic technology initiatives and projects, rather than focusing on the day-to-day operations of the IT environment that can slow down longer-term innovation projects.

CFO OR CONTROLLER

Cost is a concern for most influencers, but the person at your organization in charge of finance has interests deeper than the costs of moving to the cloud. They’re often concerned about how payment terms will be scheduled, what exactly they’re paying for and how cash flow is impacted.

  • Capex vs opex – As mentioned in the CEO section, CFOs and Controllers appreciate the fact that the cloud converts a traditionally large, lumpy capital expense into a smoother, more predictable monthly operating expense. This distinction allows finance professionals to better plan for expenses and frees up cash flow to invest in business-advancing technologies.
  • Cost savings – The cloud often offers cost-savings of nearly 30% when compared to their on-site investments in hardware, software, personnel, maintenance and support. Ask your cloud provider to conduct a T-scale analysis of your current IT costs to calculate the cost of moving to the cloud. When comparing costs, be sure you factor in security, real estate, utilities and other commonly over-looked costs that are no longer required by a cloud-based environment.
  • Pay for only what you use – The cloud is a utility-based computing model, meaning you only pay for the resources you use. The resources are provisioned exactly to your organization’s needs – no over-provisioning or under-provisioning – which means they’re incredibly cost-efficient. In a traditional, on-premises computing environment, organizations purchase servers and storage, doing their best to estimate and account for future growth plans. The resources may be under-utilized for years, wasting valuable dollars. Conversely, if a company under-provisions their server or storage needs to account for only what they need today, they’ll incur higher stop-gap expenses in the future to account for higher performance needs, which almost always come at the worst possible time.

OPERATIONS

One of the top goals of any organization is to keep the “money makers” happy and productive. These include VIP users like physicians, CPAs, lawyers, partners, etc. The cloud can help with that.

When presenting a cloud solution to your VIP users, consider these points:

  • Availability – VIP users complain most about downtime or slowness in their current IT system. The cloud availability promised by the cloud provider’s SLA is often reason enough for operations stakeholders to agree to move to the cloud.
  • Security – Data breaches can cause substantial harm to an organization’s financials and reputation. Cloud providers who are willing to partner with your organization as a Business Associate (by signing a Business Associate Agreement (BAA)) take on some of the security liability.
  • Support – Having instant access to an entire team of technologists that are just a phone call away is often empowering for these VIP users, knowing they can access live support quickly and receive solutions to their needs quickly. Netgain has worked with these highly specialized organizations to develop specific VIP Support solutions that offer a dedicated level of support for VIP users when the issue at hand affects patient care or client experiences. This keeps the VIP users happy and productive.

Each organization and each functional area have their own drivers to move to the cloud. With preparation, we can help each stakeholder see how the cloud will make a positive impact on their department and the organization as a whole.

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