A Chief Financial Officer will naturally have questions about huge transitions to new technology, and that’s okay! Most likely, the cloud is already very much on his or her radar. While a move to the cloud won’t happen in the snap of a finger, CFOs can prepare themselves ahead of time to ease into the transition.
And this process shouldn’t be faced alone! A great approach is for a CFO and CIO to work hand-in-hand to ensure that innovation and financial implications are taken into account. Most CFOs aren’t inherently opposed to changes like these. They simply have a different perspective, which includes maintaining financial stability. The CIO may demonstrate the opportunities provided by the cloud, including cost savings, scalability, efficiency and speedy time to market. The CFO can then work to establish the economic benefit of the cloud. This two-sided approach helps ensure that a business is leveraging the cloud in the best way possible.
So what are some of the cloud’s features that may appeal to the CFO? Let’s take a look:
The Financial Side
The first thing a CFO will wonder about is cost, and the potential savings of the cloud tend to be extremely appealing. Many CFOs are sick of the constant costs of licenses, annual maintenance and upgrades. And when you move to a pay-as-you-go model, your business can turn huge upfront CapEx into affordable OpEx. This preserves your budget while allowing you to get what you need, when you need it. A business can receive upgrades automatically and avoid the fuss of maintenance and management. This is the type of change a CFO needs to be aware of. He or she needs to think long-term when planning a cloud move and decide which approach is best. With metered costs, the CFO can experience increased budget flexibility and work with the CIO to ensure successful migration.
When you begin to work with a cloud service provider, you pass off a lot of your costs. The provider offers resources delivered as a service, and takes care of the purchase, storage, management and maintenance of the necessary infrastructure. This enables businesses of all sizes, in all industries, to take advantage of the latest technology without overspending, from start-ups to the biggest industry leaders. Of course, it always depends on the provider and manner of integrating cloud solutions into your business. The cloud has huge potential to save money, time, and stress as the provider takes on the burden of hosting your solution.
A Competitive Advantage
Cloud computing also helps establish a competitive advantage. The CFO must realize that the cloud is here to stay, and it’s becoming the norm in the business world. According to the McKinsey Global Survey, more than 80% of respondents indicated they are using or experimenting with cloud technology. That’s a huge percentage! Organizations not thinking about the move could soon fall behind.
At the beginning, many companies leverage the cloud and cloud software to improve day-to-day operations. This creates a more efficient, flexible work environment, allowing the organization to focus on sales, expansion and innovation. As said by CFO.com, “[Cloud] frees management to focus on the product, not the plumbing.” In the coming years, businesses will continue to take larger steps into the cloud.
Changing Business Demands
Many businesses experience changes in demand throughout the year, from booming business to quieter times. That’s just the natural cycle of business. The cloud can help handle these changes because it’s scalable. It’s now possible to expand or add resources to your solution as you need them, and then decrease again as demand evens out. This allows the CFO and team to remain in sync with every business cycle.
This scalability leads to other benefits, including the possibility to reach customers across the globe and quickly bring them online, as well as minimizing energy consumption and excessive equipment.
Time to Market
Due to the scalability and efficiency of cloud solutions, an organization can experience shorter development cycles. Your team members will have the resources they need at their fingertips at all times. Whether it’s for proof-of-concept or development of new products, it’s simply easier to move forward. This allows businesses to focus on innovation and constantly decide what the next step is, rather than remaining at a standstill due to complicated computing resources.
Security and Safety
Security is a huge concern to CFOs, and that’s valid. It’s frightening to trust your data in the hands of someone else. But think about it this way: a cloud provider relies on the ability to offer a more secure solution than an organization can provide itself. If this wasn’t remotely possible, the cloud would not be growing as much as it is today. In order to do this, a great provider will offer the highest levels of security. And the stakes are high, because to many organizations, security is key. Businesses are demanding that cloud providers demonstrate transparency when it comes to data protection and security, and providers are stepping up to the challenge. Today, many cloud providers put more time, effort and money into security than organizations are able to put in themselves.
What’s more, many businesses don’t realize that a lot of their data is probably already in the cloud, whether it’s via payroll, marketing efforts or the use of online storage. It has become such a prevalent, common technology that it’s used without a thought in day-to-day activities.