How can CTOs present a more holistic picture of cloud benefits?


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Senior Vice President - Advanced Engineering & Data Analytics in Manufacturing, 10,001+ employees
I talk about three horizons of cloud and most of the cloud providers, like Microsoft and Amazon, are working in the same direction. The first horizon is where you focus mostly on infrastructure or cost. You reduce the cost of resources you consume to run any application when you move to cloud, and you also reduce the efforts associated with managing it. It’s primarily a lift and shift or rehosting kind of activity that gives you an immediate ROI. You can take it to the CFO and they will approve the business case.

Horizon two is where you move towards becoming a cloud-native enterprise. In a cloud-native enterprise, the ultimate objective is making it easy to create, deploy, secure, manage and consume products and services for your employees, customers and partners. Then you're connecting the complete business value to that particular case. I don’t talk about the 12 factors, which most technologists focus on; I don't even talk about cloud functions like S3 buckets, EC tools instances or databases.

Horizon three is changing the enterprise. That means adopting what I refer to as industry cloud. For example, if a healthcare provider wants to launch major telemedicine initiatives, how can they use that cloud? That industry cloud is the point at which you can link innovation to business value today.
CTO in Healthcare and Biotech, 2 - 10 employees
Start with the customer need - what do they care about? Once that's been elucidated, how do different cloud services enable that need and at what cost and speed to market? Understanding the skillsets you have on your team will inform the speed portion and help you make decisions between managed services or something more custom. Including your cloud engineering team in customer discovery activities will help insure they have that holistic picture of how they should build cloud services and why. One of the best things about the cloud is that you can start simple and become more complex as needed - porting from Fargate to EC2 is not complicated. 
Chief Technology Officer in Software, 51 - 200 employees
Start with understanding your landscape. How legacy is your environment? Where is the data you use currently being created? If the answer to both of those is in your current DCs then the cloud journey can be a lot harder and a lot more expensive at first. The key point there is at first. Once you start the journey and adapt to the cloud it is an excellent place to be in. But if you start by painting this picture of a cheaper world to live in you are setting yourself up for failure. You should be able to paint pictures of faster time to value for most use cases, scale out processing for your analytic layer without having to "purchase" additional hardware. The ability to shut down lower environments at night. These are where the real value comes in. People like to talk ROI in the case of cloud being cheaper, but that rarely comes true until you have gotten much further on your cloud journey. You are setting yourself up for failure. I would focus your benefits on rapid deployment, faster response times, scale out analytics, variety of on-demand services such as document stores, ML training engines, chat-bots, search technologies, etc. If you can find a net new use case to dip your toes in all the better. Lift and shift is hard, reskilling existing teams is hard, moving data is expensive. Get some wins under your belt with 3rd party data processing and show the value so you can start picking off legacy applications one at a time.

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