5 Things Every CIO Needs to Know about Cloud Computing


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Many CIOs are well-versed (or becoming well-versed) in the technical and price components of cloud systems. One area where they are still evolving their thinking is on the business and organizational implications of the cloud.

Here are 5 things CIOs need to think about regarding the rise of cloud computing.

Cloud systems shift the definition of success for IT

With lower costs, faster deployments, and less customization, cloud computing is moving the perception of success away from functionality and technical aspects of the system and refocusing it on the level of adoption and business value that the system creates for the organization. Quite simply, success is now determined by the degree to which the system is delivering measurable business value to the organization.

Systems succeed or fail after go-live

On-time and on-budget delivery of system is no longer enough. Rather, success is determined by the way in which the system is embraced by the user community in the months and years after it is deployed.

Also, with subscription-based software, organizations now re-examine the value of the system every time they need to make a renewal decision. That means that every year or two (depending on your contract) you will need to look back and see if you have gotten your money’s worth from the use of the system. Memories are short and people will quickly forget what it took to get it live. Instead, they will focus on what has happened since it has been in use.

User adoption is key to success

The key to success of cloud systems is determined by the manner and degree in which systems are adopted by users. If users are consistently and effectively using the system, the system will be viewed as a success. If the system is rejected by users and sits idle, you fail.

You need more than just change management

Conventional wisdom dictates that you need change management to get user adoption.

Conventional wisdom is right. And it is wrong.

Change management, which typically includes go-live focused training and communications, fails solidly under the banner of “necessary, but not sufficient” category. Change management alone does very little to sustain user adoption over the life of the system. Instead, you need to a comprehensive user adoption program to build and carry through full and effective system use over the life of your technology.

You need to guide the business in driving – and sustaining – user adoption

Sustained, effective system use is the key to cloud success and requires a new focus on long-term adoption. This requires that leaders from the business units take action to ensure their employees adopt the system. For many business leaders this is something they have never been asked to do before. They need your help.

The role of the CIO and IT is evolving from predominantly being responsible for providing technical expertise to being a catalyst for helping organizations navigate change, and embrace systems and achieve organizational – and financial – success. . This means CIOs and IT departments will need to increase their ability to go beyond system delivery and maintenance and facilitate change, dealing with the organizational and people challenges of embracing IT systems.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Jason Whitehead
Jason Whitehead is CEO of Tri Tuns, LLC, an organizational effectiveness consultancy specializing in driving and sustaining effective user adoption of IT systems. He works at the intersection of technology, process, culture and people to help clients actually achieved measurable business benefits from their technology investments.


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