[ZDNet] Best practice advice for moving to the CLOUD

While some IT leaders remain cautious about a move on demand, other executives are embracing the cloud to the fullest possible extent. One such technology chief is Chris Hewertson, CTO at hotel group glh, who has pushed a cloud-led business transformation in his organisation.cloud-business.jpg

The firm began its IT change programme three years ago. Executives wanted systems that were always available, easy to set up and intuitive for the users. Hewertson says the cloud became the natural mechanism to support business change and growth.

Today, the firm does not run any in-house servers and 95 per cent of IT services are delivered through the cloud. Here, Hewertson shares his best practice advice for moving to the cloud with other c-suite executives.

1. Use a corporate risk board to mitigate financial dangers

Going on-demand can feel like a step into the unknown. Hewertson says the support of key executive peers will be crucial. “You have to get the CFO on board,” he says.

“For most organisations, moving to the cloud involves a shift in finances, because you’re moving from a well-understood capital expenditure model to an operating cost-based model. That scares people sometimes.”

Hewertson says IT leaders must take time to explain that, while operational costs will rise, the long-term effects of depreciation will be lower as the business avoids a hit every few years when it needs to upgrade its infrastructure.

To ensure everyone understands the potential risks and benefits, Hewertson has established a corporate risk board, which highlights the potential risks of the current operation at a formal level. Hewertson advises his CIO peers to use a similar approach to receive the broad support of senior executives and to help alleviate risk, particularly at an individual level.

“When you present alternative options to a corporate risk board, they become your ally – you don’t have to single-headedly put your career on the line,” he says. “You can tell the business that you’d recommend a move to the cloud because of certain reasons, but the decision is the board’s – and the answers should speak for themselves.”

2. Find a strong business case and develop an integrated approach

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