So, your organization has begun to – or soon will – dabble in cloud computing. Many organizations that move to the cloud start by looking at a wide range of cost, technical, legal and security issues that need to be considered. Then they assign someone who is responsible for implementing and managing the cloud system.
And they often skip answering a critical question: Who owns the cloud in the organization?
What is cloud ownership? What do you own?
Historically, many organizations will assign an Executive Sponsor for implementing a system. There is often a system owner – someone, often in the IT organization, who has responsibility for the ongoing maintenance and enhancement of the system. But his work doesn’t constitute ownership any more than groundskeepers own the real estate they landscape.
So, who’s responsible for cloud IT success? Specifically, you need to have someone who is accountable for driving, maximizing and sustaining effective user adoption of your cloud IT system.
Assign ownership for cloud adoption, not just the technology
Cloud computing lowers an organization’s costs and shifts the burden of system development and maintenance from the organization to the cloud vendor because now you’re paying for service you use, not a product you own. In turn, this shifts the metric organizations use for judging the success of an IT project. Cloud IT is driving organizations to progress away from rewarding “on-time and on-budget” (product delivery) to “value created / ROI delivered from people using the system” (service delivery).
With this new focus on ROI, organizations need to assign ownership for driving meaningful use of the cloud system throughout the organization.
A senior executive – with proper incentives – must own cloud adoption & ROI
Ensuring effective user adoption and ROI of your cloud system requires that a single individual be formally assigned accountability for results. This also means they will need to have the authority, expertise and resources (budget, time, staff, etc.) to take action.
Further, the senior executive must be sufficiently incentivized to make cloud adoption a priority. The level of incentives will depend on the expected impact that effective system use will have on the organization.
For major enterprise systems with the potential to greatly reduce costs or increase revenues, this may require a significant incentive such that failure to achieve ROI goals – or for exceptional results that far surpass expectations – will have a clear material impact on the executive’s compensation or future career prospects.
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