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Less stress, more success: Engage
with the business on cloud strategy

If the business is blocking your cloud deployment, your cloud strategy's success may hinge on relationship skills.

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It is your job to know who the important SaaS people and products are so that you can advise business executives in making wise decisions.

While working around people is often easier than working with them, workarounds spell trouble for your cloud-computing strategy. You don’t want your business counterparts making big application decisions without your input. And your business counterparts do not want you ignoring their objectives. What is the bottom line? Both IT and business must collaborate on cloud solutions. Fixing missed business expectations can be costly and time-consuming for everyone.

Here are five useful ways you can better engage with the business to achieve cloud computing success.

  1. Realize you’re already sitting at the same table. The openness of the cloud has made SaaS technology more accessible to everyone. Recognize that your business counterparts might already know something about cloud applications. A proactive approach positions both sides to plan ahead together, rather than arguing when something goes awry.
  2. Understand the business. Be proactive. Set up regular meetings with your business counterparts to understand their needs. Ask the necessary questions: What is the business looking to accomplish? Why is it heading to the cloud? What systems are they currently using, and why are they not working? When you work with business counterparts to better understand these elements, you can help them make smarter decisions.
  3. Take stock of the ecosystem. The SaaS market is like an ocean—vast, churning, and often deceptive in its depth. It is your job to know who the important SaaS people and products are so that you can advise business executives in making wise decisions. This is a key way in which IT provides value to the business.
  4. Be a trusted advisor. When you open communication channels and demonstrate your value and knowledge, you instinctively become the go-to group when new needs arise. Be prepared to suggest the use of a specific application when a marketing executive tells you he wants to increase opt-ins by four percent. No one will hate you for being proactive.
  5. Prepare for mistakes. At some point, you may have to manage a SaaS solution that a business counterpart bought without your guidance. Take a deep breath and let everyone know you’re going to help manage the problem to a successful conclusion. Perhaps you can decommission the application immediately or adapt it to a usable position until the contract expires. Whatever you do, offer options. This is how you build rapport. It is also how you educate business executives who might avoid interaction with the IT team because they are afraid they will always be told no. Be a yes organization, willing to collaborate.

Remember: Cloud computing has roots in both business and IT, with equally important objectives and requirements on either side. By taking a more collaborative approach to developing and launching a cloud strategy, IT teams can gain a better business understanding—and vice versa—that helps prevent future hassles and expensive errors.

For more assistance, use this cloud vendor evaluation checklist to help business executives better understand how to evaluate a SaaS vendor.

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