7 Easy Steps for Becoming a Cloud-Ready CIO

Article by Karan Kirpalani



Traditional businesses are now opting spin-off to a cloud-based business model. A cloud-based business model pays its way for itself while contributing to the bottom line as well. Hence this is a great profit making approach for companies and businesses to explore.

However, with a cloud-based business model there are few set of challenges that needs to be overcome at the onset to derive maximum returns from minimal investments.

The seven key steps elaborated below will help CIOs transition smoothly to a cloud-based business model. CIOs are required to carefully understand the political intricacies of working with the Board of Directors and senior management, to study patterns and find out means to achieve long-term business objectives in shorter periods of time.

1. Stay IT savvy

A sound knowledge on IT industry trends with technical background is a “must-have” credential to become a CIO. Technology know-how in itself cannot prove to be a game changer for businesses on cloud. The CIO should be able to understand the history of company origins, the strengths of the company and align them strategically in sync with the current technology to meet business goals and customer expectations. A careful integration of technology with business strengths of a company will help CIOs deliver results as expected from the industry and customers at large.

2. Identify key areas of strength to explore business opportunities

As a CIO leading the business enterprise, it is important to stay abreast of the current industry trends, understand customer requirements and make most of the company’s strengths to cash on the business opportunities available. CIOs often receive cost-sharing ideas from other organizations, and are required to justify business initiatives and costs incurred to meet those goals.

Prior to implementing a business and technology plan on cloud, it is shared with the members on board to seek final approval. Thorough study and careful analysis of business plans helps CIOs identify potentially winning business opportunities easily and accelerate growth.

3. Understand parent company’s business

Companies looking forward to growth would unlikely appoint a CIO who is just technology savvy to head the business unit. The right person for the role of a CIO should possess in-depth understanding of the parent company business lines, the political intricacies involved, the needs of customers, current market trends and a sound knowledge of IT to contribute to enhancing business value. The CIO on board should be able to forge strong relationships with internal and external partners to support business growth and development.

4. Hire and allocate “service-oriented” cloud personnel

From an operational perspective, many enterprises embarking on cloud-based business model initially struggle because the IT staff is repurposed to serve external customers and internal users as well. To deal with outside clients, your business needs certain professional skills and strong service attitude. It is the duty of a CIO to ensure right from the beginning of a commercial cloud IT operation, that the service staff is well trained to provide excellent levels of service, to meet clients’ demands and expectations.

5. Align strategic business initiatives and Manage big data

Traditional businesses slowly transforming to a cloud-based business model are hawk-eyed about the benefits offered by the medium to implement IT-based initiatives such as business analytics, enterprise mobility and cloud computing. CIOs are required to manage big data by implementing organization-wide strategies for storing and managing both structured and unstructured data. Building business-specific data models and defining standardized processes is the key to success of new cloud-based business.

6. Always venture with necessary backing

Mere enthusiasm about commercializing your cloud operation is neither going to lead you as a CIO nor the business anywhere. Stake holders and top management involvement to approve a new business idea is of critical importance before you embark on a cloud venture and begin implementation of the idea.

As you begin directing business efforts to meet long-term goals of profitability, support from critical mass of immediate clients is a must for the operation to break even. A necessary financial backing with approvals from the top management is a must before your company gets started on cloud initiatives.

7. Drive Compliance for Enhanced Security

Cloud-based businesses should stay compliant with the security norms and pay special attention to data security policies. IT teams need to define areas of data access, secure sources and processes throughout the enterprise, to make the business audit-ready and user-friendly.

In Summary

Cloud presents vast opportunities for CIOs to increase business value. Be it reinventing cost structure by using a cloud-based business model or expanding business reach through automation, cloud-based business innovation will be on the agenda of progressive CIOs.