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How to get buy-in for cloud migration

As an IT manager, you know why migrating to the cloud is a good idea. But it can be difficult to convince senior business leaders that they should invest. And that leadership buy-in for cloud migration is not only essential for getting sign-off on your budget, it’s also essential for successful digital transformation.

Migrating to the cloud involves a cultural change. You need senior leaders ‘onside’ to provide support and secure buy-in for cloud migration from all users. They’ll need to publicly support the cloud migration project and change adoption programmes. They’ll also need to be able to explain the benefits of digital transformation for the organization, customers and employees.

Below we share tried and tested ideas to get that buy-in. And in the process convert them into your best cloud migration champions!

Buy-in for cloud migration: identify an executive sponsor

Often a CEO or CFO prefers to maintain the status quo and keep IT in the dark ages. Okay, it’s a generalization and there are plenty of examples of progressive leaders flying the flag for digital transformation. However, if you’re going to meet resistance it may come from these quarters. Concerns about costs, disruption and potential failure can lead to inaction.

It’s thus a good idea to identify someone else who ‘gets it’ and will be your executive sponsor. Your CTO or CIO are a good bet. Whoever it is, they must be highly-respected, accessible and have the vision to lead cultural shift within the organization. If they’re a cloud novice you’ll need to give them a crash course. Or book a free cloud assessment to explore cloud migration with your Executive Sponsor. 

Cloud migration use cases

As an IT professional, your reasons for cloud migration may not be ones that will really engage the leadership team. So it’s important to put yourself in their shoes and identify use cases that will resonate with them.

Common cloud migration use cases include:

Cost savings

Saving money will always be a strong motivating factor for cloud migration. Yet it may be hard for leadership to see the savings, if you’re asking for budget to kickstart things. You’ll need to demonstrate the ROI. A good place to start is to compare cloud costs with your existing legacy systems.

Security 

This is another factor that will get the leadership team’s attention. Legacy systems are vulnerable to threats once support has ended and patches and upgrades are no longer available. According to a 2019 Accenture report, the cost of enterprise cybercrime grew hugely in 2018. The average cost rose more than $1 million to $13m USD (c£9.5m GBP). Not surprising then that from a security perspective the case for cloud migration is strong. A few facts and stats exploring legacy vs cloud will help you make the case.

Governance 

This is another reason that often piques interest in cloud migration with senior leaders. Some people may be under the misconception that it’s harder in the cloud. However, in many cases a cloud solution can actually improve governance in your organisation. Traditional IT solutions and their governance frameworks are often designed for a specific department. By contrast, a cloud governance framework means policies and standards that everyone follows, regardless of role, department or location.

Access and managing users 

This is probably one of your key reasons for cloud migration. It should also be one that business leaders will understand. Legacy solutions often provide far too many entry points where ex-employees and others may get access to data and systems. Controls to prevent users from gaining access to privileged information may also be limited. With the cloud you’ll get robust IAM (Identity Access Management) tools that resolve this issue and ensure your organization is compliant and secure.

Productivity and collaboration gains 

These are popular reasons for cloud migration. But if you use these business use cases make sure you relate them to the bottom line. Increasing productivity and collaboration equates to more work done and ultimately more revenue generated.

Mobility

Is there a business strategy to promote mobility and create a more agile workforce? As we have seen, the definition of the workplace has changed forever. The future is likely to be one where the leadership team want and need to offer remote working. Perhaps even to recruit people who work from anywhere. They’ll need the technology to achieve this.

Global growth

Similarly if your organisation is expanding or growing overseas, cloud solutions are an enabler for global growth. It’s not only easier to provide employees in other locations with the technology they need, it also promote collaboration.


A day-in-the-life demonstration

In our experience a ‘day-in-the-life’ demonstration is a game changer. We show your leadership team / Executive Sponsor the impact cloud solutions can have. They’ll see how exactly how cloud solutions can transform working practices and deliver the benefits outlined above.

There are plenty of cloud solution demos and videos online that go some way to providing a walk through. Be aware that these may not specifically address the use cases you’ve identified as important to your leadership team.

However, many cloud solutions providers will tailor a demo for your needs and make it more relevant to your organization. We do this as part of our cloud assessment workshop. In the first stage we schedule a briefing call with you. This is to discuss what you want to achieve, your requirements and any challenges (such as getting buy-in). Then we can tailor the ‘day in the life’ demo to common scenarios that your organization experiences.

Find out more about our free cloud assessment workshops

Proof of Concept (PoC) trials

PoC trials are often performed as part of a cloud migration project. This generally involves migrating part of your IT portfolio to the cloud to test whether it works and delivers the expected benefits.

Choosing what to test is really important. While you’ll want to select an area that isn’t business critical, at the same time the purpose of a PoC trial is to prove cloud migration can deliver the benefits you want.

Therefore you’ll need to identify an application that isn’t high risk but is valuable enough to demonstrate tangible results and provide useful insights to inform your cloud strategy.

Cloud assessment workshops

As mentioned above, a cloud assessment workshop is an excellent way to explore cloud solutions with decision makers. Make sure the cloud solution provider is offering a workshop that’s tailored to your organization’s needs. A one-size-fits-all assessment will not deliver the most value.

From this exercise you should expect a high level overview of how your business would migrate to the cloud including:

  • An analysis of your existing infrastructure
  • Recommendations and next steps covering:
    • Identity and security; email migration; file migration; user training; admin training to support usage and adoption; managed support
    • Current challenges affecting your business and how these may be offset by a move to the cloud

Next steps to achieve buy-in for cloud migration

If you’re determined to get buy-in for cloud migration from your leadership team, then we can help you achieve it. Just complete this form to get started and we’ll look forward to discussing your needs soon.

About the author

​Gemma is the Strategic Partner Manager at our Microsoft Cloud Workplace specialist partner, Cloud Business. She works closely with us at the Cloud Communications division of NTT Ltd. to drive joint business growth and add value for our customers. Cloud Business' people-centric approach helps our clients align technology with their business goals and their users.

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