Cloud is now mainstream. But moving an enterprise “to the cloud” is far from simple.

Based on our view in working with more than 75 customers in the past 12 months pursue their Cloud journeys, here are our top six tips for CIOs to successfully adopt the Cloud:

1. Address security and compliance up front

Establish policies and controls to enable the rest of the organization to start using the Cloud. These teams should include corporate security and compliance teams, as well as the IT architecture board and work closely with Cloud vendors to address specific security and compliance requirements. These include subscription management, metering and charge-back, and service-catalog definition work. Vendors are more than willing to help.

 2. Establish a Cloud transformation team

Establish a board of stakeholders before embarking on a move to the Cloud; this team will set guardrails and be a central body for accountability. Adopting Cloud services means big changes in people’s roles and skills, in processes (including automation and self-service), Cloud transformation teamand platform (standardized and heterogeneous). Different stakeholders will have different concerns and priorities. These can be addressed through awareness and education.

This team should include stakeholders from governance, compliance, and security; from line-of-business owners (demand-side); and from your infrastructure teams and vendor partners (supply-side). They should meet periodically and review progress to address issues and remove obstacles.

3. Depict a current state to demonstrate expected value

Demonstrate the potential value in light of the cost and risk of any similar initiative. It offers the benefit of global standardization, flexibility and scalability in operations, and the cost-savings of automation. Taking an accurate inventory of size, speed to value and cost of hardware (servers, storage, capacities, etc.), software (applications, network architecture), vendor contracts and service-level agreements is a great way to showcase value at every step. Set KPIs to measure progress as well.

4. If you build it, they will come? Not exactly.

Don’t build it and think they will come. Remember that collaboration is key. If only one group takes the lead in supplying Cloud-based services, this model is fraught with risk. These initiatives result in changes that can effect (and can be resisted by) the teams meant to use them, so it is important to involve stakeholders, learning their concerns and needs up front.

All stakeholders should work with the vendor(s) and adopt a model that works for whole organization. With the rapid evolution of today’s technologies and the emergence of new ones, any IT initiative should be based on future needs rather than simply addressing issues at hand. That’s why it is so important that IT and the CIO’s team facilitate this change.

5. Overcoming the “not-invented-here” syndrome

Most Cloud service providers, managed service providers, and related professional services providers have been refining their offerings for several years. Recently, large enterprises have opted to build their own multi-cloud orchestration platforms, but some have seen (and others soon will) they’re not qualified to do what a typical product company does well.

Today’s CIO needs to focus on helping leverage the value of the Cloud faster and more safely, driving innovation and increasing competitiveness. Engaging vendors, developers, application owners, infrastructure owners, and IT leaders throughout the process is key.

6. Address the fear of change

Cloud-powered IT will look different from traditional IT. So everyone will feel insecure about their role. The success of internal groups depends on their ability to adapt and work productively on the project. CIOs need to provide organizational transformation training, re-distribution of the existing workforce, and clarity about the organization’s goals and directions.

We live in an age of rapid technological shifts. Digital innovation and pay-as-you-go Cloud-computing are compelling IT organizations to adopt new tools, technologies, and processes faster than ever. This computing affects infrastructure, applications, security, procurement, and governance. These changes require CIOs to be exceptional visionaries, leaders, strategists and collaborators.

Do you have any tips to share that you have found successful to share with your CIO? I’m interested in hearing your thoughts.

Sai KrupaSagar

Sai KrupaSagar is a Vice President at Cognizant leading the Cloud Transformation services practice across European and Asia Pacific regions. Over the... Read more