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Is it time for the Chief Digital Officer?

There are an increasing number of cloud-based solutions available to businesses, sometimes through no more than a monthly fee via corporate credit card. These solutions are attractive to end users as they can easily be configured to meet business need, bypassing the more rigorous processes typically adhered to by IT departments. However, we argue it is even more important for your IT organisation to be at the heart of the decision-making and rollout of these cloud-based solutions to avoid a fragmented approach to cloud within your organisation – the boring old IT department, like it or not, has learned something about implementing IT systems.

There are 5 internal stakeholders to consider to ensure a robust, compliant and secure cloud implementation:

  • Digital Security: Will an end user necessarily think about the Digital Security implications of a Cloud/SaaS service? An appropriate means of authentication and authorisation, backed-up by an appropriate and enforced joiner/mover/leaver process is key to providing a secure environment that safeguards your corporate data.
  • IT: Will the IT department be involved for ongoing operation of the solution? An unconstrained set of potential providers won’t allow your organisation to learn about how to optimise your adoption, nor to develop repeatable processes and tools for management of the platform.
  • Legal and Procurement: Will a free choice of provider lead to the economies of scale and reduction in numbers of suppliers that procurement departments are typically looking for? Each new provider is likely to require bespoke contracts from your legal department, slowing down contract signing, and hence implementation.
  • Regulation and Tax: Will end users think about the regulatory and tax impacts of particular hosting locations? Inadvertently choosing the wrong hosting location can expose your organisation to new, or undesired, compliance rules or punitive tax costs that destroy shareholder value.
  • Branding: Will an end user think about following corporate branding guidelines for publically facing applications? Your external communications team will want to ensure your corporate brand is appropriately represented.

So what is the best way to mobilise this diverse group of stakeholders without excessively delaying implementation? One option is to create a high speed cloud delivery team from these groups, led by a new “Chief Digital Officer”, separate from the IT function made up of the old CIO with his legacy, bigger, slower IT systems.

Bringing the right people together on a regular basis will allow you to streamline the on-boarding process and provide a rich source of information for those departments looking to adopt cloud solutions. That will lead to swifter adoption, fewer failed implementations, and ultimately lower cost. And if you do this well, potential adopters will be more than happy to engage, ensuring that you can properly control what your organisation places in the cloud.