Success or failure of a cloud computing project, be it a simple SaaS implementation, or a complex legacy application migration, or anything in between will hinge on the technical knowledge, skills, and training of your IT staff. What many CIOs and aspiring cloud project managers don't realize is that winning approval to even start a cloud project can be one of the most difficult cloud computing tasks. Further complicating this is the fact that technical knowledge is not the most valuable asset in overcoming this cloud challenge. How you present the project, how you sell it, is the secret sauce for getting cloud projects approved. In this article we'll break down the issues, how sales and presentation skills help, and give you strategies to start honing those skills so that you can get approval for your next cloud project.
Addressing the Nay-Sayers
There are many challenges and concerns about migrating services, applications, and infrastructure to the cloud. From cloud service vendor lock in, to security concerns, to compliance needs, to internal and cultural resistance. These challenges must be, and can be, addressed by thoughtful planning and application of technologies in any cloud migration. Invariably, as with any change, the voices of concern will rise up to get their concerns addressed as cloud projects are considered. Some may see the value of the cloud, and simply seek the best solution to address their concerns. Others may be apprehensive and will council a more cautious approach that seeks to delay cloud adoption. For all the numerous benefits of the cloud, executives and key decision makers will likely hear lot of reasons to be cautious, a lot of reasons to "not migrate today." If you don't properly address those concerns, those attitudes could prevail and keep cloud projects from being green-lighted.
For all the numerous benefits of the cloud, executives and key decision makers will likely hear lot of reasons to be cautious, a lot of reasons to "not migrate today." If you don't properly address those concerns, those attitudes could prevail and keep cloud projects from being green-lighted.
You Have to Sell Your Cloud Project
This is where sales skills come in. You should approach any cloud project from a consultants perspective. You should come in with the objective of selling key stakeholders, senior leadership, and the entire organization on the value, benefits, and plan for moving to the cloud. This is not an easy task. Cloud consultancies like CarverTC put a lot of time and thought into preparing cloud consulting proposals for a reason. It takes time to identify all of the concerns, and develop plans to address all of the challenges. Once you have a plan, you have to articulate it the right way to several different audiences. This is where presentation skills and sales training come into play.
Project Team and Process are Key
One of the first key components of any successful cloud project is the team you put into place. Team members should include key technical resources, and key stakeholders. These people are key to identifying the challenges the organization will face in the coming cloud project, as well as the the concerns and resistance that will come forward in meetings at the final project presentation. Having a team that is knowledgeable about departmental requirements, mission critical processes, and that is plugged into organization culture is key to identifying challenges so that they can be appropriately addressed in the cloud project plan.
Crafting the Perfect Presentation to Win Project Approval
As a plan is prepared, discussions will happen throughout the organization. Approaching those discussions with a selling attitude will help frame a cloud project in terms of benefits, and will often go a long way toward winning over concerned parties. However, in many cases, cloud projects can live or die based on a presentation that is delivered to executives and stakeholders. A presentation that will have to show the vision, the value, answer questions, and address concerns.
This presentation may have to be delivered multiple times, at various project milestones. It will need to be successful in order for the project to be green-lighted to go to the next phase. At each presentation, challenges and concerns, often the same concerns addressed previously, will have to be addressed again to provide decision makers with the assurance that the team is on top of it, and the challenges will be handled. More importantly, at each presentation, the value of the cloud project, the cost-benefit to the organization, in terms of real, relevant goals and priorities will have to be articulated. Remember, if the cloud is new, it's an unknown. For many executives it's always safest to stay with a known entity rather than move down a new, unknown path. The presentation has to give decision makers the confidence, in the team, and in the plan, and in the ultimate benefit to the organization to compel them to move forward.
The format of the presentation is critical. A poorly crafted presentation, weighted down by mounds of technical detail that isn't suited for executive consumption. That type of presentation invites debate while leaving key messages out of focus. It's a recipe for failure. A well crafted presentation, on the other hand, where key points are made, supported, and restated quickly and concisely will capture executives attention and imagination. A presentation that uses all elements, from font size, to images, to colors to compel the desired conclusion, a presentation that is designed to sell the project, will have much more success in the boardroom.
Delivering the Presentation - Speaking Executive's Language
Another key presentation skill is delivering the presentation. That means knowing how to communicate to executives. Executives are busy people. They don't want to get caught up in the details. They want you to get to the point. This type of communication is difficult to master because, working with peers, detailed discussion is how you address problems and find solutions. Executives don't want this. Not at the time of the presentation. If the presentation is well done, and well delivered, they will trust the cloud project team to address those details. To give decision makers confidence, you will need to be prepared to defend your assertions and recommendations. You need to have responses ready to address concerns and criticisms. Thoughtful preparation, combined with a communication style that resonates with executives. It will help you cut through the chatter, make your points, and win project approval. You, and your project team need to be the smartest people in the room, and deliver you plan, clearly, quickly, and concisely.
Preparing for Your Cloud Project Presentation
One of the many things we're proud of in the CloudMASTER cloud computing classes is the emphasis we put on preparing the project team, discovery and requirements documentation, and presenting your cloud project plan. The architecture course devotes an entire lesson to assembling a good cloud project team, and documenting everything for a presentation. At the end of the course, another entire lesson is devoted to creating and delivering that presentation. We've found no other course that covers this essential step so thoroughly. This course not only teaches the fundamental presentation skills to help you create a presentation that will compel action, but also teaches the skills essential for communicating with executives. The course activities provide a structure to let you do a "dry run" of your cloud project presentation. This focus, combined with the technical planning, and design skills conveyed in this IT training, give students an unparalleled advantage in the workplace in getting cloud projects approved, or winning cloud consulting engagements for their company. It's just one more great reason to invest in CloudMASTER cloud computing certification.
CarverTC provides CloudMASTER cloud computing training in Portland Oregon and across North America.