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The cloud conversation starts when business and IT share a mother tongue

Alec_Wagner ‎09-13-2013 11:18 AM - edited ‎09-15-2013 06:53 PM

There are two sides (minimum) to every story, but failed cloud initiatives often devolve into ugly “we said/they said” spats between business and IT leaders. A recent Gartner report fingered lack of contractual transparency as a leading cause of dissatisfaction with cloud installations. While that may be so, a couple of articles I’ve read lately lead me to believe trouble starts brewing long before contracts are signed, much less disputed. The simple truth is that business and IT often fail to communicate effectively, and, to cocktail-shake some metaphors, aren’t on the same page from square one.


Getting cloud right begins when business first asks to meet with IT about moving to the cloud; expectations must be managed, so it’s up to IT to lead the conversation. That’s the upshot of the latest Ops article in Discover Performance, What the business is saying when it says ‘cloud’—when LOBs ask for a solution, IT must ask, “What’s the problem?” An article on the WSJ’s CIO Journal echoes that sentiment. Rachael King reports that the root of cloud dissatisfaction—and how to sidestep buyer remorse—became a hot topic at a cloud software event.


The article paints a scene most IT pros have witnessed before: A jaw-dropping vendor demo leads to a disappointing rollout. Ray Wang, principal analyst and chairman of Constellation Research, nails it for King: “What fails here is if the customer doesn’t know what they want or know where they want to go.” He also tells her that sometimes the systems integrator isn’t qualified, or doesn’t know the full capabilities of the software.


Discover Performance offers advice in the same vein: IT’s job is to uncover the real need from the business side. “When the business starts talking in technical terms,” the article cautions, “costly mistakes can happen. It’s not the business side’s job to understand the ins and outs of IT,” so IT must get at the heart of what “cloud” means to the business. It’s not about saying no, or disparaging their requests—but IT should start with “Our problem is X,” not “We want solution Y.”  Because there are several ways that the solution might not really fix the problem.


To understand how to lead the cloud conversation, as well as learn how to build consensus around other business/IT problems, solutions and goals, read the full advice on Discover Performance.


Related links:

What the business is saying when it says ‘cloud’

Workday Event Triggers Cloud Disappointment Discussions

IT needs to speak the language of SaaS

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About the Author


Alec Wagner is a longtime writer & editor, enterprise IT insider, and (generally) fearless digital nomad.

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