Critical questions executives should ask about cloud computing

CEO

Cloud signifies an era of computing where flexibility in IT drives business agility and higher levels of innovation and customer engagement.

Critical questions to consider

  • How can cloud help generate new sources of revenue and bolster our competitive standing?
  • What new cloud-based products and services can we develop to drive new sources of revenue?
  • How can I communicate the transformational potential of cloud to senior management and the board?
  • How can we exploit strategic opportunities while managing risks to the business?

CFO

Impacting both the top line and the bottom line of the business, cloud ushers in opportunities but also raises new risks that need to be managed. Cloud also shifts spend from capital expenditure to operational, allowing enterprises to make investments closer to the time of actual returns.

Critical questions to consider

  • How will cloud impact cost structures and governance?
  • How do I manage the unpredictability of costs in a pay as you go model?
  • What are the implications of moving to a service model from an accounting and tax perspective?

CIO

Cloud can lower IT costs, increase efficiencies and drive business growth. While CIOs understand IT, they also need to be able to communicate the benefits of cloud in a way that will resonate with the broader C-suite team.

Critical questions to consider

  • What new business opportunities will deliver the best return on our cloud investments?
  • Does our strategy enable business unit leaders to use cloud services without creating security or compliance risks?
  • How can cloud fuel innovation, deepen customer connections and make business processes more efficient

CHRO

Cloud computing can reduce human capital management costs and serve as an engine for growth. Cloud can empower teams to make informed human capital decisions while fostering collaboration and innovation.

Critical questions to consider

  • As we move to the cloud, how will we support new customer service, technical and marketing skill sets that are required for success?
  • As cloud can disrupt a company’s culture, what new ways of working should we introduce? What new skill-sets should we look for?

Chief Compliance Officer (CCO)

Cloud can help aggregate compliance requirements across the enterprise as well as provide a dashboard indicating whether different teams are complying with various regulations.

Critical questions to consider

  • As we see an increase in cloud adoption across the organization, how are employees keeping up with compliance requirements?
  • How can cloud-based solutions provide a real-time view of compliance across the organization?
  • Can cloud help with reporting processes?

Business Unit Leader

Cloud can foster innovative new products and accelerate time-to-market as well as eliminate IT bottlenecks that often slow product development.

Critical questions to consider

  • How can cloud-based solutions benefit development teams from product initiation to delivery?
  • How are competitors using the cloud to enhance their offerings?
  • Can cloud help us more effectively develop, market and test products?

Business Development/Marketing Leader

Cloud can help marketers develop deeper, more profitable connections between employees, customers and partners. Cloud can also help leaders evaluate the effectiveness of marketing programs.

Critical questions to consider

  • How can we leverage cloud-based social networks to deepen connections with our customers?
  • What new avenues can cloud open up to reach new customers?
  • Can we use cloud to energize broader and more diverse channels and communities?

IT/Operations Leader

The cloud can help achieve process and IT transformation goals—but it’s essential to select a provider that can meet all business needs without exposing the company to unnecessary risk.

Critical questions to consider

  • How should we manage our hybrid environment? Can cloud provide a view of our SLAs, chargeback and showback results?
  • What should we look for in a cloud provider in areas like security, performance and compliance?
  • What operational goals can cloud help us achieve and how can I capture and demonstrate ROI?