One cloud, 5 perspectives: How the C-Suite thinks about the cloud

By Dell Inc.

What must happen to ensure a leadership team is engaged and aligned when it comes to cloud? Success on this front begins with understanding. It’s vital to recognize the various perspectives that each stakeholder brings and consider what cloud might help them accomplish. On this foundation, productive discussions can be conducted and successful decisions can be made.

CIOs, in particular, have much to gain from these efforts. With a clear understanding of each stakeholder’s needs, objectives and aspirations, it becomes possible to build greater confidence and provide reliable guidance. IT leaders are then in a strong position to forge consensus and ensure cloud strategy is consistent with the strategy of the business.

With this in mind, organizations ought to consider the perspectives of a few business leaders in relation to cloud:


As the senior-most executive leader, you’re responsible for articulating the company’s vision and providing direction to key stakeholders. You recognize that information technology has become an increasingly critical factor in your company’s ability to execute on its strategy. But you need to know how best to weave this factor into your guiding message. When you meet with analysts, media and valued customers, you want to express your vision and strategy in ways that instill confidence.

It’s vital to recognize the various perspectives that each stakeholder brings and consider what cloud might help them accomplish.

You want to know: How does cloud support your long-term vision and near-term moves in the market? What decisions must be made to ensure your executive team makes the most of cloud without putting the company at risk? How should you make this case to your respective stakeholders?


You’re responsible for marketing leadership including branding, campaigns, customer communications, product promotions, and sales enablement. You may also be responsible for a growing technology investment budget.According to Gartner, CMOs will spend more on IT than their counterpart CIOs by 2017. Cloud, as you no doubt have discovered, can help you rapidly acquire new capabilities that let you understand, engage, develop and retain customers.

You want to know: In a dizzying field of marketing applications and technologies, which ones are best suited to the execution of your marketing objectives? What are the trade-offs (pros and cons) associated with acting unilaterally and purchasing applications on your own? How, if at all, can your IT organization help you achieve superior outcomes?


You’re intent on finding new ways to reduce costs and raise efficiencies. Considering that IT represents an enormous percentage of overall spending, you are certainly interested in cloud’s potential to help you manage your spend in superior ways. You’re actively influencing discussions on OpEx/CapEx considerations and closely monitoring the analyses that goes into cloud-related investment decisions.

You want to know: What is the total cost of ownership associated with one cloud scenario versus another? What is the TCO breakdown (initial acquisition and implementation, licensing and subscriptions, integration, maintenance, opportunity costs)? What are the potential returns that justify proposed investments? Do they meet your hurdle rates? What’s the potential for moving financial applications into a cloud environment?


You’re the matchmaker in your enterprise. You are responsible for matching the supply of available resources and capabilities to the demands of the business. You’re measured on efficiency, productivity and performance but also quality, satisfaction, availability and uptime.Cloud represents a possible means of obtaining resources in a faster, more reliable and more cost-effective way than you could have ever imagined in years past.

You want to know: Where should particular workloads reside and why? What are the trade-offs associated with private, public or hybrid cloud approaches from an operational point of view? What mix of approaches will maximize efficiency and performance?


You are challenged to act as a bridge and boundary spanner. You must lock on to the objectives and concerns of other business leaders and various business units, but continue to guide your team from a technical perspective. You’re tested now to speak the language of the business, not merely the language of IT. When you lock on to the particular concerns of particular leaders, you win their confidence and support. You propel the entire organization forward in an aligned formation.

Like everyone else, you have things you want to know: How can I act as an advisor and guide to these leaders as opposed to being perceived as a reactive party? What steps are necessary to adopt and apply Cloud in the most effective way possible? How can I ensure I fully understand the strategic priorities of the business so that I can optimize IT’s approach and enablement?

As CIO, you have a particularly critical role in the era of cloud-based IT. You are the source of IT governance and guidance. You are an essential guardian of assets and infrastructure. And you are the company’s leader when it comes to successful implementation, integration, and IT-related performance. You’re challenged to lead the discussions that must now happen and address the questions your fellow business leaders want to see answered.

Cloud can bring benefits to the deliverables of each of the functional leaders, as well as the organization as a whole. It’s therefore important that a strategic approach is taken to ensure alignment and optimal benefits across the organization as cloud is adopted and evolved for the business needs.

About the Author: Power More