Executive Sponsorship: Don’t Migrate to the Cloud Without It

Exec Level Sponsorship_Cloud Migration

By Octavio Morales, Senior Vice President — Operations

It doesn’t matter what business you’re in or what type of project you’re managing. Change is hard. The bigger the change, the more you need senior leadership to help pave the way. Migrating to the cloud can fall into this category. And, while you might have a C-level executive such as a CIO or CTO driving the project, here are a handful of reasons why it can be a good idea to enlist executive sponsorship from outside the IT realm as well:

Alignment to business goals. In the Society for Information Management’s latest survey of Chief Information Officers, alignment to IT was the number one issue for CIOs in 2016. Having an executive sponsor from the business side of the organization can help you understand how your cloud migration strategy needs to support the business and articulate the business benefits of your strategy to others.

Cost/benefit analysis. When you migrate to the cloud, decisions will need to be made that require a thorough understanding of the cost/benefits analysis. For example, which cloud model suits your organization best: public? private? hosted private? colocation? hybrid? The most effective solution may not always look the least expensive on paper. An executive who can articulate the business reasons for choosing one over the other to the rest of the C-Suite can be an invaluable ally.

Reinforcements. Those who don’t have an IT background or understand the project’s full scope, inherent challenges and milestones can turn even minor hurdles into mountains. An executive sponsor from the business side can run interference while you focus on ensuring the project stays on track.

Someone to just say no. One of the biggest challenges with any IT project is scope-creep, where special requests increase the costs and complexity of the project. When IT leaders say no to a special request, they may be seen as “not understanding the business.” However, an executive sponsor from outside the IT realm can help evaluate these special requests, rejecting the ones that need to be rejected and finding additional funding for those that are worthwhile.

  [Related: downloadable whitepaper on Simplying Cloud Migration ]

Avoid duplication of resources. Unless necessary from a BC/DR perspective, one of the most common special requests is to keep some applications or databases on-premises. Sometimes, a hybrid environment makes sense, especially for business critical systems that don’t transition easily to the cloud. At other times, it simply results in unnecessary redundancy that drive up costs. An executive sponsor who understands the cost/benefit analysis can help decide when a hybrid environment makes sense and when it is simply resistance to change.

Enforce process changes. With all of the apps available these days, many workers are getting more comfortable working in the cloud. However, there’s a difference between running an app on your personal mobile device and bringing your corporate systems into the cloud. To protect data integrity and privacy, new processes will need to be implemented to allow a collaborative workflow embracing the modern IT – encompassing legacy IT, cloud, mobile and social media technology.

Keep compliance top of mind.  By proactively engaging security sponsors, legacy IT and cloud environments should peacefully co-exist, while maintaining the robustness necessary for compliance.  Most importantly, the proactive engagement eliminates unnecessary delays.  An executive sponsor can help ensure these processes are understood and help resolve any noncompliance issues.

Need help engaging your executive sponsors? Be sure to let us know. We’ll pair your sponsor up with one of our C-level executives who can speak their language.


Octavio_Morales HeadshotOctavio Morales is responsible for local operations and data centers in Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Washington.  An industry veteran with extensive accomplishments, Octavio has over 30 years of success leading startups and established companies.  This history of success includes cofounding TierPoint in Spokane in 2003 and serving as Chief Executive Officer until the company’s acquisition in 2012.