The Cloud Strategist is a relatively new role with many companies that I have seen act as a pivotal piece in contemporary IT departments. This position will continue to play significant roles in mid to large IT Organizations in the years to come as more companies adopt the cloud for various areas of their business. Below are 5 reasons why you should have a Cloud Strategist on staff for your organization:

Confusion Prevention 

New advances in technology can be confusing and the cloud today is no exception. Confusion is everywhere with the cloud, and an organization needs an internal champion or group of people that know and understand what cloud truly is, the benefits it can bring and the business problems it can solve. More importantly the Cloud Strategist needs to be able to map those discoveries back to the business and solve internal pain points. Communicating information back to upper management is a critical requirement for this role. 

Filter Through Cloud “Noise” 

There is no question that the cloud computing space is noisy. Almost every traditional service provider on the market today has either re-branded traditional managed services as “cloud,” or created other convoluted offerings that are managed services disguised as cloud. These types of offerings often lack many of the benefits of true cloud providers such as self-service. The customer can end up spending significantly more money and resources on these types of offerings than by achieving similar results in-house. In some situations a company can be far down the path of one of these implementations before realizing they won’t be saving money and resources and the business problems are not fully being solved. 

Identify Business Challenges Ideal For The Cloud 

This is one of the most important things a Cloud Strategist can do, especially in large organizations. While many companies are struggling with cloud adoption, others are going the opposite direction looking to solve every business problem with the cloud. A good Cloud Strategist will act as an internal consultant dissecting and looking at each business problem to determine if using the Cloud makes sense and recommend a potential offering and vendor for each or all business problems. 

Lead POC’s and Evaluations of Cloud Providers 

The Cloud Strategist should be involved in helping to define the scope of every POC and success criteria. Though they may not be the main stakeholder in the project their input will prove to be invaluable and they should always be leveraged for their opinion and perspective. The sooner this occurs the better, as the Cloud Strategist can identify problem areas or benefits that others might not realize early in the POC. 

Establish Criteria for Secure Cloud Computing and Corporate Policy Management 

This is critical. Ensuring Corporate Policy Management and Security is a huge concern for all organizations. Every organization should have a set of security criteria that they use specifically for evaluating cloud providers, and a Cloud Strategist will play a key role in achieving this. 

The Cloud Strategist is a valuable member of any IT team. For mid to large organizations, having this role served by a full time employee(s), or consultants makes a lot of sense. Your Cloud Strategist in many ways will be your swiss army knife for everything your company does with the cloud. 

Mike Neil, Director of Field Operations – Skytap

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