Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Pat Romanski, Zakia Bouachraoui, Elizabeth White, William Schmarzo, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: @CloudExpo

@CloudExpo: Blog Post

How to Sell the Cloud to a Reluctant Executive

Effectively pitching the cloud to key decision makers is a matter of speaking their language; use the power of social proof

Whether you are promoting a cloud computing agenda internally or to clients, you've likely ran across the case of the reluctant executive. Having spoken with thousands of software buyers about their interest in cloud solutions over the years, I've personally relived the experience more times than I can count.

There is, of course, a lot to consider when it comes to the cloud.  But, I've found that when I run up against reluctance on the part of top decision makers to even open the discussion, there's usually one of two things at play:  An executive intimidated by their own lack of clarity by what is meant by the cloud and an instinctual resistance based on those oh-so-pesky security concerns.  I've tackled these issues from countless angles and I've found the most success through two simple approaches:  cutting through the jargon and addressing security concerns in straight-forward, accessible terms.

Cut Through the Jargon.

What is the "cloud"?  Admit it.  It's kind of a tough question to answer.  Yes, you've got your working definition.  But that definition probably varies from that of the cloud "expert" at the next company over.  And why wouldn't it?  "Cloud" is about as jargon as it gets.  When we say "the cloud," we think of things like distributed wide area networking over the Internet, outsourced application hosting, or natively browser-based software.  How many of these boxes need to be checked off though before a solution is considered "cloud"?  If you're not answering that question, there's going to be confusion.

There's an easy remedy to this issue.  Before pitching any product or solution to a potentially less-than-tech-savvy executive, erase "cloud" assumptions by defining what you mean.  Who hosts the software?  Is it a purchase model or subscripton basis? How is the functionality technically delivered?  Start there.  Answer those questions and you've gone along way toward making decision makers comfortable that they understand what the heck you are talking about when you mention "the cloud."

Address Security in Accessible Terms

For the techier among us, the simple question, "Is the cloud secure?" can seem very 2003 when left unadorned.  It's not that it's not a valid question.  It's just that we understand the answer depends on "What cloud?" and "Secure in comparison to what?"

Here's the thing that needs to be understood:  Issues of security are fundamentally emotional decisions.  This strikes a blow at our fact-loving, data-driven hearts--but it's undeniably true.  When it comes to issues of security and safety, logic supports gut instinct--not the other way around.

So why then do we so often insist on starting the conversation with the supporting details--protocols, policies, procedures. A full appreciation of the differences we are outlining takes time to digest.  If we're honest with ourselves, we have minutes, or maybe hours, if we are lucky to present the case.

Where to start, then?  The simple answer is that the security conversation needs to be firmly grounded in accessible terms.

Keep relatability in mind when you are pitching the cloud. You don't need to lead with a rundown of the SSL protocol or encryption standards. In fact, you shouldn't. Instead, provide a familiar touchstone.  Why is the cloud secure?  Because it relies on the same standards that protect things already accepted as safe. For instance, you can identify that the same standards that protect millions of online banking transactions every day will protect their financial data.

Also, never underestimate the power of social proof.  When we see others have success, that is a powerful example.  Social proof is not hard to find when it comes to something as pervasive as cloud computing. The acceptance of the "cloud" among leading businesses is a great place to start.  Consider sharing an article like this one detailing usage of the cloud among Fortune 500 companies.

More Stories By Adam Bluemner

Adam Bluemner is the Project Specialist Manager for FindAccountingSoftware.com, a service providing free software selection assistance. Over the last decade Adam has spoken with over 10,000 companies, helping them achieve business success through intelligent software investment. Adam writes extensively on ERP and business software.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


IoT & Smart Cities Stories
Dion Hinchcliffe is an internationally recognized digital expert, bestselling book author, frequent keynote speaker, analyst, futurist, and transformation expert based in Washington, DC. He is currently Chief Strategy Officer at the industry-leading digital strategy and online community solutions firm, 7Summits.
Digital Transformation is much more than a buzzword. The radical shift to digital mechanisms for almost every process is evident across all industries and verticals. This is often especially true in financial services, where the legacy environment is many times unable to keep up with the rapidly shifting demands of the consumer. The constant pressure to provide complete, omnichannel delivery of customer-facing solutions to meet both regulatory and customer demands is putting enormous pressure on...
IoT is rapidly becoming mainstream as more and more investments are made into the platforms and technology. As this movement continues to expand and gain momentum it creates a massive wall of noise that can be difficult to sift through. Unfortunately, this inevitably makes IoT less approachable for people to get started with and can hamper efforts to integrate this key technology into your own portfolio. There are so many connected products already in place today with many hundreds more on the h...
The standardization of container runtimes and images has sparked the creation of an almost overwhelming number of new open source projects that build on and otherwise work with these specifications. Of course, there's Kubernetes, which orchestrates and manages collections of containers. It was one of the first and best-known examples of projects that make containers truly useful for production use. However, more recently, the container ecosystem has truly exploded. A service mesh like Istio addr...
Digital Transformation: Preparing Cloud & IoT Security for the Age of Artificial Intelligence. As automation and artificial intelligence (AI) power solution development and delivery, many businesses need to build backend cloud capabilities. Well-poised organizations, marketing smart devices with AI and BlockChain capabilities prepare to refine compliance and regulatory capabilities in 2018. Volumes of health, financial, technical and privacy data, along with tightening compliance requirements by...
Charles Araujo is an industry analyst, internationally recognized authority on the Digital Enterprise and author of The Quantum Age of IT: Why Everything You Know About IT is About to Change. As Principal Analyst with Intellyx, he writes, speaks and advises organizations on how to navigate through this time of disruption. He is also the founder of The Institute for Digital Transformation and a sought after keynote speaker. He has been a regular contributor to both InformationWeek and CIO Insight...
Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settlement products to hedge funds and investment banks. After, he co-founded a revenue cycle management company where he learned about Bitcoin and eventually Ethereal. Andrew's role at ConsenSys Enterprise is a mul...
To Really Work for Enterprises, MultiCloud Adoption Requires Far Better and Inclusive Cloud Monitoring and Cost Management … But How? Overwhelmingly, even as enterprises have adopted cloud computing and are expanding to multi-cloud computing, IT leaders remain concerned about how to monitor, manage and control costs across hybrid and multi-cloud deployments. It’s clear that traditional IT monitoring and management approaches, designed after all for on-premises data centers, are falling short in ...
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, discussed how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team at D...
Dynatrace is an application performance management software company with products for the information technology departments and digital business owners of medium and large businesses. Building the Future of Monitoring with Artificial Intelligence. Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more busine...