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Why your CFO is your cloud computing partner

Fri 13 Mar 2015
FYI, this story is more than a year old

According to Gartner, IT staff report to the CFO in 42% of organisations. A CFO’s authorisation is also needed in 26% of IT investments. And an HP study found the CFO setting cloud strategy in 17% of organisations.

Hence to implement the cloud in your organisation, you are likely to need your CFO onboard early.

Your opportunity lies in driving the cloud conversation - covering its risks and many rewards. Anticipate your CFO’s likely concerns, then pre-emptively address them.

Cloud computing increases an organisation’s flexibility, reduces time-to-market and lowers operating costs. However, your CFO will want to understand the financial impact of any cloud migration. What changes will occur to existing business processes? How will the cloud drive down costs and/or enable future growth?

As the cloud shifts capital expenditure into operating expenses, CFOs need to grasp the variable, on-demand costs likely to be incurred. CFOs will need to adjust capital expenditure, factoring in total contract value or payment streams. Other costs to factor include; legacy data migration, staff training and regulatory compliance.

A CFO will want to model impacts to revenue, profit and operating margins, in a post cloud migration scenario. There will be changes to financial processes for investing and depreciating IT assets. Providing or using cloud services can also have sales and tax implications.

Partnering with an external cloud vendor transfers the responsibility to upgrade, maintain and build underlying tech infrastructure. Show your CFO the cost savings achievable, over on-site hardware ownership plus operation. In the cloud, your organisation can also take advantage of the latest innovations, rather than waiting for purchased hardware to reach end-of-life.

One of the biggest drivers of cloud migration is to develop competitive advantages. While hard to objectively quantify, CFOs should be made aware that increased market responsiveness, organisation-wide collaboration and improved innovation are likely outcomes.

Security in the cloud remains a primary concern for many CFOs. Thirty-five percent of executives cite it as their number one hurdle to cloud migration. Compare your external cloud vendors’ processes against current security measures. Being on premise isn’t necessarily safer, as cloud vendors have the scale to invest in more robust procedures. Be ready to explain security measures to your CFO in-depth.

The cloud is a disruptive technology. Sit with your CFO to first understand the computing needs of the business, your hardware’s remaining lease/life-spans and which areas take the biggest priorities. Then review the cloud service models available, recommending only after extensive research.

Cloud computing can address existing problems or enable new processes. Work with your CFO to ensure a cloud deployment plan that minimises business disruption, and trains staff in the new technology.

By engaging and addressing your CFO’s concerns early, you will demonstrate how the cloud reduces costs, boosts efficiency and improves overall business performance. You will also have a great partner, fighting from your corner.

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