Find out which benefits each stakeholder wants to achieve from the cloud and tailor your work and messaging to those benefits. When you approach each stakeholder, make sure you speak to their challenges and goals.
Pitching IT to Key Stakeholders: 5 Winning Strategies
The cloud impacts your entire enterprise – from your customer experience to your data security. Since the cloud has such far-reaching effects, it’s not something that only the information technology (IT) team is responsible for.
It’s critical to get buy-in from across your enterprise before you move workloads to the cloud.
For example, you may need to gain consensus from the chief executive officer (CEO), the chief financial officer (CFO), the board of directors, and the employees who will use your cloud services on a daily basis.
1) Show the benefits
Many IT pros love to talk about technical features.
However, your executive team may not be interested in the latest technology. Instead, they want to know how the cloud will impact your business.
For example, will it allow you to develop products faster and beat your competitors to market? Will it help you give customers more responsive service, ultimately increasing loyalty and reducing churn?
According to research by the Harvard Business Review, cloud services accelerate the benefits that IT brings to an organization in four ways:
- Business agility
- Increased innovation
- Cost reduction
Find out which benefits each stakeholder wants to achieve from the cloud. For example, your CFO may want to reduce your risks, while the CEO wants a competitive edge.
Meanwhile, employees may need fast access to apps that make it easier for them to do their jobs. When you approach each stakeholder, be sure to speak to their challenges and goals. The better you align your “cloud pitch” with what others want, the more likely you will get buy-in.
2) Address objections
When you talk to others about the cloud, you’ll encounter some objections. Some people may think that the public cloud isn’t secure.
Other stakeholders may worry that your operations will grind to a halt if the migration goes wrong. You’ll also find people who don’t like change … period.
Before you meet with specific stakeholders, try to anticipate their objections. Come armed with information that will make them more comfortable with the cloud.
For example, you can show any early successes that you have had with cloud services.
You can also discuss how you will address common cloud issues such as data security and disaster recovery.
3) Find evangelists
Partner with evangelists who are excited about the cloud and are willing to promote it to others.
You will gain buy-in quicker if you work with two types of evangelists – senior leaders and employees.
Executive evangelists will help you drive change from the top down. They can convince skeptical stakeholders that the cloud is essential to doing business today. They can also champion your cause to the CFO and help you secure budget.
Employee evangelists will help you drive change from the bottom up. For example, they can give you insights into which cloud services will make their teams more productive and efficient.
They can also offer informal support to their team after you bring in new cloud applications. This will speed up your onboarding while reducing calls to your help desk.
4) Get clear on budget and resources
One of the first questions that you will hear about the cloud is:
“How much is this going to cost?”
Work with your potential managed cloud provider to prepare a cost analysis that you can share with stakeholders. Try to determine how your costs will change as your environment grows.
Also, get clear on any other resources that you need.
For example, do you need in-house personnel to manage parts of your environment, or will your managed cloud provider take care of everything?
5) Create onboarding and training plans
The success of your cloud migration depends on how fast you can onboard employees and get them to use your new applications.
The better you onboard employees, the more you will reduce shadow IT and the security risks that come with it.
Diversify your training with programs such as:
- A knowledge base
- In-person training (Ex: “lunch and learn”)
- Video tutorials
- One-to-one sessions with someone from your IT team or an employee evangelist
- Help desk / service desk support
Ongoing Buy-In is Critical
Getting buy-in is an ongoing process. Continue to educate stakeholders after you migrate your applications to the cloud.
Offer employees ongoing training and provide senior leadership with regular updates on how your cloud initiative is helping the company gain efficiencies, innovate, and drive revenue.
You can learn more about how to successfully get buy-in for the cloud in our ultimate guide to managed cloud.