Use high-profile cloud projects to push your 2014 data strategy

Capitalize on the business enthusiasm for cloud initiatives to build support for your enterprise data management strategy.

“The cloud can help you deliver results to the business much, much faster that you traditionally would be able to, but in a way that maintains the integrity of data governance for the organization.”

—Andrew Bartels, founder and partner, PS Advisory LLC

Cloud deployments are likely springing up across your enterprise, led by business leaders rather than IT. Your priority, however, is enterprise data management. Capitalize on these business-led, data-dependent cloud initiatives to garner business support for your investments. Demonstrate the value of the data management strategy your team is evangelizing and the advantages of incorporating cloud data in this strategy. Underscore the need for formalized data governance to ensure the continued success of these business-driven cloud initiatives.

“The cloud can help you deliver results to the business much, much faster than you traditionally would be able to, but you must do so in a way that maintains the integrity of data governance for the organization,” says Andrew Bartels, founder and partner of PS Advisory LLC, a consulting firm that helps financial services firms and insurance agencies deploy and drive adoption of Salesforce.com.

Ensure the long-term success of cloud-based projects by building in safeguards against inherent risks. Consider issues such as the cost of data access and integration, as well as the ability to connect to your data throughout the integration process.

“Business continuity and disaster recovery often fall down the list of priorities when people start talking cloud, because it’s somehow perceived as somebody else’s problem. These issues are still critical. It doesn’t negate the responsibility of information leaders to consider these things,” says Bartels.

Building your relationship with the business

According to Bartels, you cannot rely on riding the coattails of cloud projects alone to drive support for your data management strategy. You also need to shift your relationship with the business. He recommends these three tactics:

  1. Communication: You can no longer just take off with a list of requirements and deliver a new application to the business six months later. You need to communicate and cooperate with business leaders and their delegates through every phase of the project.
  2. Involvement: The business controls the budget in most organizations. You need to emphasize the business value of your data governance efforts and get business support.
  3. Connectivity: Focus on the underlying infrastructure necessary to integrate data and avoid creating silos of information. Business leaders can request functionality, but you must focus on the data to ultimately drive business value or increase efficiency.

“When business leaders look to what’s going to be funded in 2014, they’re asking, ‘Is this going to help me?’ The cloud delivers on that. It allows you to be far more agile without some of the limitations that exist in legacy infrastructure,” says Bartels. “By embracing the cloud, by being cloud first, you can help position yourself within the organization as a solutions provider as opposed to a ball and chain.”

For more strategies on building relationships with the business, read the Potential at Work article “Less stress, more success: How to engage with business on cloud strategy.”

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