Getting your cloud migration business case approved can seem like a long marathon; up a hill, in the dark, on a Sunday afternoon, in the rain.
Our guide to writing a cloud migration business case is the best way to start the approval process, but are you sabotaging your own work, even before you have presented it to your key stakeholders and decision makers, for approval?
Here are our top tips on getting it approved, first time.
Are you focusing on why your business case could fail rather than on how to make it succeed?
The first thing to ask yourself is 'Are you clear in what you are selling in and do you believe in it?' No one is going to buy your business case if you don't believe that this is the right solution.
If you don't believe that, then that is going to come across in your proposal. You need to be clear in your mind as to why cloud migration is the right solution and what benefits it will bring to the company.
Modelling great behaviours
Who has previously got a similar business case approved?
- Go and spend some time with them and find out what tactics they used to get over the line.
- Which stakeholders and decision makers did they get advice from? Then go buy those people a coffee and have a chat with them as well
Have you found out who are your allies and who are your objectors?
Find out who is going to be in the approval committee and then go and talk with them before you submit your business case. Work out who are your allies and who are your objectors.
- Ask your allies why they support the business case - this tells you what works well.
- Talk with your objectors. People often object to a business case because they don't understand what you are proposing rather than being outright opposed to it.
Make sure you identify the key objections and then address them in your business case.
Are you talking features, but not benefits?
It's very easy to talk about the features of a product, you know, it does x, y and z. But people don't buy features, they buy the benefits. You need to find the WIIFM's - The What's in it for me (or the business).
Think of it this way... A key feature of cloud migration is the ability to move data, applications, and infrastructure from on-premises or other cloud environments to a new cloud platform.
That is what it does. Now if we talk about the benefits and how that applies to your business it sounds much more interesting and beneficial.
Two benefits of cloud migration for our company are:
Scalability: The cloud offers us the ability to easily scale up or down resources as needed, allowing us to respond quickly to changing market and business needs.
Cost Savings: By leveraging the shared infrastructure of the cloud, we can reduce the costs allocated to using own hardware and data centres, whilst at the same time, we benefit from the economies of scale of the cloud provider.
So, by using the benefits I've just told the business that we can:
- React to the changing market, quickly
- Reduce our own infrastructure and associated costs
- Benefit from deals from our provider
Let's build on this by looking a little more in depth at another feature.
Feature - Shared responsibility model is a key feature of cloud migration. This means that cloud providers run and maintain the hardware, networking, security and underlying infrastructure and customers build on top of that.
But the biggest benefit of shared responsibility is:
Shared responsibility allows us to focus on your core business value by placing the management and security of core infrastructure with the experts. This increases the agility of our business.
Then when you are talking about ROI, you can link back to shared responsibility by talking about the benefit of the saved man hours / allocated funding; how you can now redirect resources to focus core projects.
What are the common reasons business cases don't get approved?
- Key details missing. It's easy to look at your business case and assume you have everything covered. Our guide to writing a cloud migration business case takes you through the steps you need to ensure everything is covered.
- Features explained, but not the benefits to the company. Remember to clearly signpost what is in it for them.
- Return On Investment (ROI) missing or badly explained. Be clear. Tell them what this costs and how that money will benefit the company. It can be simple things like no further need for a physical site and the saving in site maintenance and security costs, but ROI also doesn't have to be physical money, it can be how many hours it saves the company.
- Objections not identified and addressed in your business case. This is the quickest way to get pushback. Talk to your objectors and make sure to address their concerns in your business case before you get to the decision making stage.