Cloud is Not a Strategy

Cloud is Not a Strategy.

IT cloud may just be a fogThe ‘Cloud’ is talked about like it is a heavenly option saving IT but for many it is only a low lying dense fog clouding their vision.

Some institutions are wandering around blindly as they try out various software as a service offerings or charging ahead blindly with one ‘all-in’ cloud vendor hoping there is a clearing ahead that delivers on the benefits of cloud.  If you don’t have a clear IT strategy, you shouldn’t focus on the cloud or have a cloud strategy.  The cloud is not a strategy!

I’ve run into too many conversations lately where the ‘cloud’ is stated as the defining IT strategy going forward without many details around the overall IT strategy.  I’ve talked with a few CTO/CIOs who have shared the following experience.  Their CEO goes to the latest conference or has lunch with a CEO buddy and comes back stating that the bank or CU should be moving to the cloud.  It is, of course, common for a CEO to share the latest things they’ve heard that could help the business and it’s better to have an engaged CEO than an absent one.  This question & situation is not to be feared.  In all but the unhealthiest leadership cultures it is an opportunity for the CTO/CIO.

If leadership hasn’t talked about the overall IT strategy in the last few months, especially after going through the budgeting season and entering a new year, then there is a larger problem than cloud or no cloud.  This is the opportunity to open up more conversation.  The last thing needed in that situation is an independent strategy around cloud.  What is needed is an overarching IT strategy and plan.  CTO/CIOs, your plan may just need updated to address hosted and cloud solutions but what you must do is engage leaders in your institution to share your overall strategy.  Don’t get lost in the fog of only focusing on ‘cloud’.

There are many ‘how to’ articles and templates about writing strategy statements and plans so I’m not covering that here.  If you want help with that, let me know and I’ll point you to a peer who has a solid plan or vendor who can help.

I will instead suggest the following 4 steps:

  1. Find, update, or if needed develop your overall IT strategy and IT strategic plan.
  2. Know your institution’s goals, strengths, & upcoming needs. You will need to lead, support, follow, and adapt to the business units.
    1. Make sure the institution’s goals are restated in your plan for a clear connection between IT and your institution.
  3. Evaluate the strengths, weaknesses, and the resources available for updating your staff, your IT infrastructure, and your applications. These will influence your strategy.
  4. Engage your CEO, SVPs, CFO, COO, and other leaders as appropriate.
    1. Explain your plan.
    2. Listen to feedback.
    3. Healthy debate is good.
    4. Refine the plan to better serve the business & your IT info with any new information.

If you’ve done the four things above lately, then your strategy should already address cloud options and tools. If it doesn’t then you are missing an opportunity both for your institution as well as for you to communicate to your peers that you are staying relevant with current trends.  Remember the ‘cloud’ comes in many forms; Local, hybrid, public as well as SAAS, PAAS, IAAS just to throw out a few variations.  All of my customers have some aspect of cloud in their environment, even if it is just a specialized SAAS service such as HR services.  Know the tools available to you and address cloud in your IT plan and looking for vision beyond the fog.

 

LostCreek Fintech helps credit unions, banks, and healthcare institutions with storage solutions and large infrastructure design and implementation projects.  Contact us @ Inquiry for more information.