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Bringing Cloud Computing to Senior Leadership

This article applies to: Cloudification

Who should be at the table when an IT organization is deploying a cloud service?

Senior leadership must be engaged in cloud computing during this transition period. A president or provost who simply waves those responsibilities off to the CIO raises the probability for risk and places the institution in a potential posture of being out of control of the products and services necessary to support its missions. Central coordination and strategic planning are the only way that the institution can track this proverbial moving target, and must do so until the law, social norms and business process are in better harmony with technology, functionality and market pressures.

The CIO bears responsibility to lay out the rationale and describe the options of services, in addition to implementing final decisions made by leadership.  Most important, he or she must educate senior leadership on both the promise and complications currently involved in transitioning to cloud computing services.

Below is a sketch of the rules and process in support of this effort. At the very least, the institution should establish a "policy" or some plan to commit to the following rules:

  1. Senior leadership will set a place at the table for the CIO who has the responsibility to bring forward proposals that explain how cloud computing integrates with the institution's strategic plan and provide options for the sound mapping of a cloud services for the institution.
  2. By the same token, The CIO MUST be informed of all proposed cloud services.  Other senior leaders, administrative units and departments may NOT purchase or implement cloud services until the CIO is informed, allowed to provide input and can map the proposal strategically for review of senior leadership.  Threshold criteria might include institutional expenditure, degree of risk and redundant services.
  3. Senior leadership should call upon subject matter expertise from the departments of law, technology, finance, security, policy, information and risk management.

To be sure, every institution can adopt these rules in ways that meet local culture and tradition.  But equally as true is the need to incorporate this process within senior leadership.  The CIO's task is to integrate cloud computing processes throughout the institution in an iterative, focused manner.  Nothing like hard work to cure a hang-over!

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Last updated: 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017 - 9:38am

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