Thinking about moving your on-premise systems to cloud computing? There is a lot to consider when planning and executing a successful cloud IT strategy. With today’s increasingly mobile and hyper-connected workforce, trying to convince your management team why your company should move to the cloud creates tough challenges for IT teams.
Even though cloud technology is seemingly everywhere, it is still somewhat mysterious to the non-tech crowd. Few can pin down what it really means. So, where do you begin? Here is a list of five things to help demystify the cloud when talking to decision makers. Click below to watch the video or keep reading.
#1: Tell a story.
So, how DO you explain the cloud? If you are in an IT role, the natural inclination is to discuss a bunch of concepts about moving things into cyberspace and include all kinds of tech talk. More effective would be to put it in into a tangible format that people can easily understand. The best way to do this is to tell a story. Instead of talking about cloud servers and data centers, you can talk about self-storage. It's a great metaphor for putting your stuff in the cloud. But what is self-storage? It's scalable. If you have a lot of stuff, you can get a bigger space. And, if you get rid of your stuff, you can get a smaller space. When you use a concept like ownership, people can easily relate. You can explain how you still own the stuff, but are putting it in a safe, climate-controlled, easy access storage space where it's wrapped with best practices that only a self-storage provider can deliver.
#2: Visuals evoke comfort.
A picture tells a thousand words…right? By using visuals as road signs, you can quickly and easily explain the flow of information.
Here is an example to use when discussing the three types of cloud. You can describe everything you get with a private cloud, like where your information is housed in a data center, secured in cages at multiple data centers. It's YOUR private stuff – your servers, your virtual desktops and your information. You can use a visual to draw arrows that show the flow of your data.
Next, you can show the public cloud. Whether it's email hosted at Google or Office365, or the applications you're running, from Gmail to Windows Azure or Amazon Web Services (AWS), or the CRM you’re using, like Salesforce.
In this example, the hybrid cloud is pretty self-explanatory. It’s a combination of public and private clouds, maintained separately, but with the same applications running in both environments.
Another good example would be to show a visual of cloud-hosted desktops. By looking at a simple image of a Windows Virtual Desktop on a server stack in the cloud, you can show that regardless of whether they are accessing it from their desktops at the office, their laptops at home, or their iPads or phones, it will look the same across all devices. Everyone is working on the virtual desktop and accessing it from the same virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI). No matter where they go, their desktop is totally accessible. The desktop is no longer that thing collecting dust underneath your desk – it’s now just like anything else – a cloud application.
#3: Establish trust and a security blanket…start with “why?”
When you're talking to someone about the cloud, it’s important to establish trust and provide them with a security blanket. Why are we making this shift? The best way to quantify return on investment, an increase in productivity or other benefits derived from moving to the cloud is to make it measurable. Don't try to be all things to all people. Take one or two strong examples of business processes that you have improved and show how you saved a specific amount of time and money. Make this the goal. Then, when you exceed this conservatively extracted goal by a mile, they will never ever question why they moved to the cloud.
#4: Turn it on and it works.
If you are like me, and frequently talk to people in the C-suite, they don't want to be bored or bothered with the details. They don't have the time. As soon as you start talking about servers, their eyes glaze over. So, what can you do to overcome this challenge? You can simply take every concern, every issue, every point, and distill each one down into three basic buckets: SECURITY, PRODUCTIVITY, or ACCESSBILITY. At the end of the day, they just want to know that when they turn it on, it's going to work.
For example, besides having the password, how many end users are really thinking about security? They're not, and they don't want to. They just want to know that it's secure. CEOs in particular don't need to know why or how you did it. They want to know that they're secure and not at risk. Or, if they are at risk, that the risk is mitigated. That's what they want to know. They don't need to be bogged down in the details.
#5: Overcoming fear and empowering people.
Many of the concerns about cloud computing can be remedied by overcoming fear and empowering people. How do you do this? Here’s an example. My wife is a labor and delivery nurse, and the hospital recently went through a migration to a new management system. It was planned out and talked about, and they trained a “super user” for each department. They had everything in place for the big migration. It was happening on a set date one way or another. But, you know what? As a nurse in labor and delivery, she doesn’t care about technology. Her job is to deliver the baby. The baby's coming either way, and she needs to chart it. But if she can't use the application or runs into roadblocks every time she turns it on to get this essential healthcare data charted, she is going to get frustrated and simply will not be able to provide the highest quality care.
What’s most important to impart is that you're not going to drop the ball. Whether it’s advanced planning or training, you need to convey the feeling that you’re not going to leave them high and dry. You want a successful outcome and you want users to have a positive experience that will make it all worthwhile. You've invested a lot of money in a new infrastructure, so you need to get those third parties that put them in place to help you. Creating the policies, managing the change and overcoming fear is how you empower people to move to the cloud. There are plenty of resources to get the training your team needs, and you can check out the training courses and certifications available at New Horizons Learning Centers to find the right training path for you.
Where are you in your journey to the cloud?
If you have concerns about moving to the cloud, you’re not alone. Almost every company we work with is exploring how to best leverage the cloud. That’s why we put together this insightful eBook, Ending the Cloud Confusion: Understanding Cloud IT, to help break through the tech talk and demystify the cloud.
To learn more about how IBIS Technology enables companies to migrate and manage secure virtual desktops in the cloud, schedule an assessment with us. We’d be happy to set a time to answer any questions and help you get started on your journey to the cloud.