In talking with CIOs who have been successful early on in the cloud computing trend, one thing that stands out is that many of them have been able to recruit support on the business side for a cloud or SaaS project. And where that support is coming from is not necessarily at the level of upper management but more likely at the departmental level. What it takes is for both parties (IT and business) to put skin in the game.
It makes sense. According to a recent InformationWeek Analytics survey, in terms of the primary proponents for SaaS projects, more than half (54%) came from the business side, with almost a third (31%) at the line-of-business level. Of course, the biggest single percentage of SaaS proponents was from IT (37%), but the survey proves that support exists in business units for cloud computing. That is because the cloud promises what business unit managers are looking for from IT: rapid implementation, flexibility, and cost control.
What is needed to sell a cloud project is commitment. And one of the most compelling forms of commitment from a business unit manager is in terms of revenue projection. I know of at least one CIO who had a unit manager commit to doubling the size of his business if a specific cloud computing strategy was implemented. Needless to say, it helped seal the deal with upper management.
That kind of commitment suggests a savviness about the effectiveness of business technology not usually displayed by business unit managers. But they're out there, and they're anxious to explore the benefits of cloud computing. It's a matter of finding them and partnering up.One of the best ways to ensure a successful cloud computing initiative is by partnering up: Get someone (or some-ones) on the business side to agree to invest as much in terms of risk and sweat equity in a SaaS implementation as you plan to invest from your IT budget and resources. Chances are, those potential partners are out there.