How To Explain The Importance Of Cloud Usage To Your Boss
by Mark Adams, on 16 Sep 2015, 14:00:00
If you use the cloud on a day-to-day basis, you probably realize just how beneficial it can be in today’s work environment. But someone who doesn’t need to regularly use cloud applications—like, possibly, your boss—may have a hard time understanding why cloud usage is necessary.
In order to make cloud applications and services an integral part of your company, you’ll need the high-level decision makers to be on board. But how do you convince them that it’s worth the investment?
Here’s how you can explain the cloud and its benefits to your boss in a way that he will not only understand, but also approve of.
First & Foremost: Understand It Yourself
Before you can truly explain cloud usage and its cost model to your boss (and get him to sign up for a service), you have to understand it yourself.
Prior to pitching the concept, dig beneath the surface for cloud costs and learn how they work—don’t let a vendor suck you into something before you’ve done your homework. Vendors love to sell entry-level plans first, then upgrade your plan to get more money from you. So learn what a service will truly cost—from add-ons, to upgrading service plans, to future hidden fees—before anyone agrees to anything.
Have all the details figured out before speaking with your boss, so you can answer any questions he may have.
Then, Speak To Your Boss
Compare It To An In-House Solution
After you fully understand the cost of cloud usage, help your boss understand it by comparing it to an in-house solution. In-house IT solutions can sometimes cost significantly more than cloud services and don’t provide as much value for the money—explain that.
A simple way to illustrate this is to look at “planning for capacity.” Without the cloud, companies have to buy a service with capital money upfront, purchasing as much of the resource as they think they’ll need over the time frame they plan on using the service. So, if your company was planning on using a service for three years, and you could potentially need 20 more users by year three than you need right now, you would have to buy the licenses for the total number of users immediately and let those unused licenses sit idle for two years.
With the cloud, you can buy what you need now, and then pay for more whenever the need arises. But, it’s important to clearly explain that your cloud costs may potentially go up due to an increased need for resources. Otherwise your boss may wonder why it’s not a fixed cost down the road. So point out that costs may increase over time, but any increase will be related to needing more users, capacity, or functionality.
Explain The SaaS Model
Another important thing to understand about cloud usage is the software as a service (SaaS) model. SaaS apps and services are pay-as-you-go models, so if you use the service, great! If you don’t use it, you can cancel your subscription. This is a basic concept, but one that can’t be understated when selling the idea to your boss.
To dig deeper into SaaS models, talk about cancellation costs and contract periods. How long are you signing up for? What is the cost of canceling the subscription? Quite often, a service can be a monthly fee, but on a 12-, 24-, or 36-month subscription period. This can be both good and bad—and something your boss needs to understand.
Long subscription periods can be beneficial because your costs will be fixed at a certain price for the duration of the plan (unless you decide to buy more). But they can be difficult when you don’t know whether or not you’ll actually be using the service 12 months from now.
Think about it this way—if you’re buying an email service (something that everyone in the company will always need), you’ll want to sign up for the longest subscription period available to get a fixed price. But if it’s a new productivity tool (something you’re just trying out or you only need a handful of users for), you might find it unnecessary after a few months—therefore, you’d want to sign up for a month-to-month subscription rather than a yearly one.
Because of this, you need to be smart in how you sign up for plans. This is something your boss should be fully aware of before any decisions are made.
Show How It Will Benefit Your Boss
One of the best ways to convince your boss of the importance of cloud usage is to not only talk about its benefits, but show how it will benefit him specifically. List a few simple, practical examples of the problems the cloud will solve, and include some that he can relate to.
For example, a file sharing system may benefit a boss or board of directors because their board minutes and meeting notes can easily be shared between each other using phones or tablets. This is something executives can instantly relate to, which will make them more likely to be in favor of the cloud.
Make Your Case
Whether your boss approves of the cloud or not, employees are going to find and use their own cloud applications—that’s just the way it is. So instead of having unapproved cloud usage run rampant through your company, take the time to clearly explain why making the right applications and services available is important.
Do your research, outline the costs, explain the risks, and define the benefits of cloud usage, and your boss will likely be on board with the cloud.