Lost in Translation: why IT leaders need to step away from tech when selling Cloud to the board

Cloud services are a strategic necessity for your business - which is why you need to start selling it to the c-suite in terms of goals and benefits.


CIOs and CTOs are both well aware that the only way to deliver true digital transformation is to radically change the way their business “does” IT. In order to meet the rapidly changing demands of customers, your organisation needs a more flexible IT infrastructure – and the only way to achieve that elasticity is through the use of the Cloud.

Unfortunately, the rest of the c-suite may not properly understand why this move is so strategically important. Which means that securing the necessary funding for large Cloud projects may not be forthcoming.

The reality is that CIOs and CTOs need to stop speaking “geek” and start talking the language that their c-suite counterparts understand. If your business wants to achieve its future growth targets, you need to be able to sell your plans to the board using terms and arguments they can understand.

Here are five key factors that should help make your case:

1. Improved customer experience

In a crowded, noisy marketplace customers struggle to differentiate between similar products. Price is no longer the key factor in purchasing decisions either – customer service is. Even more importantly, customers will pay more for the same goods if they receive a higher standard of service.

You may be tempted to think this is an issue for the service department, but the fact is every customer interaction is an opportunity to deliver a great customer experience. And data can play a significant role in making the experience more streamlined and pleasant.

Moving key systems to the Cloud greatly simplifies data access and availability, allowing you to build customer-facing applications that are always on for instance. This ease of access is fundamental to giving customers what they want.

2. Improved customer service

Data availability is not just a customer-facing benefit either. Increased accessibility means that your own employees will have the information they need to improve every customer interaction. Any time, any place, any device access to information comes as standard with correctly-engineered Cloud applications. This means you can serve customers whenever and however they choose. Which goes a long way towards meeting (or exceeding) their expectations.

3. Decreased capital spend

Early Cloud adopters were lured by the promise of seemingly infinite cost savings. As reality sets in, many have realised that the cost savings were more modest than expected – particularly where apps and infrastructure are not Cloud optimised.

There are still significant cost savings to be made, not least in terms of reducing capital IT spend as resource demands increase. Cloud services provide additional capacity and processing on demand – quicker and more cost-effective than specifying new capacity for your own data centres.

4. Improved data security

Data security has always been vitally important but, as GDPR goes live, there is a new legal imperative for protecting information stores. Cutting edge security (and accompanying skills) is notoriously expensive but is included as standard with Cloud services.

By moving key information resources to the Cloud, your data stores are protected by the provider’s enterprise-grade defences. Your data is also encrypted in transit and at rest, further reducing the risk of theft.

These services may not absolve you of all your security responsibilities under GDPR, but they certainly make it much easier to maintain compliance.

5. Improved scalability

Digital improvement is defined by your organisation’s ability to adjust in line with market changes and customer demands. And your IT platform must be able to scale quickly to keep up.

The pay-as-you-use billing model of Cloud services allows your business to scale infrastructure provisions without expensive investment in redundancy. This scalability works in both directions too, so if you use fewer resources, you pay less money – a win-win when you grow or shrink. Your CFO need never again worry about depreciation of unused hardware assets.

Time to think in business terms
The reality is that the more complex your technical infrastructure becomes, the more you need to think in terms of concrete business benefits. IT is fundamental to the strategic success of your business, and the CIO/CTO has a key role in translating geek speak into the specific KPIs that your c-suite understand.

This could be pounds and pence, customer satisfaction indexes, or predicted cost savings. But this means changing the way you think to match the goals of the rest of the company’s decision-makers.

Key takeaways:

  • IT is much more than a technical discipline now
  • CIOs and CTOs need to think and speak in terms of business goals
  • Requests for investment in Cloud services need to be aligned with company strategy
  • Take time to outline the concrete benefits of Cloud for non-technical users – the investment will be returned
  • Don't underestimate the importance of your pitch – Cloud uptake could define the future success of the business