29 November 2021

The CXO support you need to reduce risk and get migration projects started

By Marcelo Goncalves, Head of Enterprise and Government Sales

According to a recent NEXTDC poll, 40% of organisations identify getting stakeholder buy-in as the biggest obstacle technology leaders face getting data migration projects off the ground.

Executive support is critical. Everyone at the executive table has an interest in digital transformation agendas. Assuming the CIO or CTO is already onboard, there are three other CXO sponsorships you need for a watertight business case. Get them all onboard and you should also have the CEO’s support by default.

Chief Financial Officer (CFO)

Once upon a time, CFOs merely guarded the organisational purse strings. Post-COVID, where organisations must embrace accelerating change, the CFO mandate has evolved. They’re still expected to ensure immediate financial viability; but also support and enable rapid change across the organisation – particularly in the digital arena.

This means many CFOs are given key leadership roles across digital portfolios. Plan early for the following topics to come up in your discussions as they’ll be looking to understand them before rubber stamping migration projects:

  • How will this project align with financial strategy and drive operational efficiencies in the short, medium and longer term?
  • What’s the total cost of transformation from current state to future state? Are these costs offset by benefits?
  • How will the capital investment impact overall cashflow and profit-and-loss?
  • How will redirection of resources translate into longer-term value?

Digital transformation involves both money and people. The CFO ultimately signs off on the capital and human resources required.

Chief Risk Officer (CRO)

The CRO’s role has evolved rapidly in recent years. They are also enablers of digital change – all while maintaining regulatory and legal compliance without compromising on security, regulatory and assurance frameworks.

This means many have assumed a portfolio not only focused on mitigating risk, but also providing strategic growth and innovation advice. To be successful, this area of your business will need to be embedded in your project team.

Expect the following topics to come up during CRO discussions:

  • How does this project align with our overall governance, risk and compliance framework and appetite?
  • How can resilience of new infrastructure be guaranteed during transition and beyond?
  • How will migration impact systems and ways of working? What controls are needed to support change and manage risks?

Transitioning an increasing amount of the organisation’s core processes and functions into the digital realm adds significant risk around resilience and security. Your CRO will want to understand how this is being managed.

Chief Customer Officer (CCO)

CCOs have never been more critical. Research shows that 80% of people will stop doing business with a company because of a poor customer experience. The CCO is charged with ensuring your customers have frictionless interactions with your organisation to underpin retention and growth – it’s a known fact around the world that “happy customers stick around”.

Customers should be at the heart of every decision, so expect the following topics to spark interest:

  • How will change enhance the experience or journey for your customers?
  • Will there be deeper insights around customer preferences and behaviour to mold future customer experience strategy?
  • Will the new infrastructure enable innovation and (CX) digital experiences for current customers? Will it help to capture new markets?

Ultimately, you will have to be able to demonstrate; “What’s in it for the customer?”, and “Why should they care?”.

Smart buy-in strategy: facility tours

One simple strategy to get executive stakeholder buy-in is to get them to see for themselves the facilities or services under consideration. It’s a simple strategy that can quickly raise the status and visibility of the project.

The reason for this is simple: many key stakeholders and decision-makers make decisions based on what they see and experience. A solid, well-reasoned written business case should be complemented by site and experience tours.

Some people in your decision-making cohort will still view data centres as large, bunker facilities simply storing hardware. They’ll be pleasantly surprised to find out high-end data centres offer much more including meeting rooms, operations space, catering and chill-out areas, innovation and media centres – and more.

Embrace specialist help

To build a watertight business case before it arrives at the executive table, we recommend to enlist help of a specialist partner early in the project.

  • Most internal IT teams have been carefully assembled with BAU requirements prioritised.
  • Transformation is complex, not only in its delivery but more critically during the ideation and planning stages.
  • IT teams aren’t normally put together with specialist migration requirements in mind.

Don’t be one the horror stories you read about

There are so many potential disasters that a strategic partner can help you avoid:

  • Running out of budget midway through the engagement,
  • Overshooting agreed timelines, and
  • Unexpected infrastructure downtime from “surprises” that experienced partners can warn you about beforehand

You can’t afford to stumble at any stage of a critical transformation project, so make sure you partner strategically to build your business case, transformation strategy and implementation program – someone with extensive domain experience and specialisation in these areas.

The take-away from this article?

If getting stakeholder buy-in and funding for data migration is your biggest challenge, then you need to consider the above tips to get the whole business more interested.

Reach out to NEXTDC if you need help to get executive support for a data centre migration. Our team will partner with you every step of the way and point you to appropriate strategic service providers for the development of transformation strategies, roadmaps and business cases that stack up practically, financially and realistically.

For earlier posts in the Mastering Migration series see:

5 strategies for planning and resourcing your data centre migration project

Should you keep BAU and transformation project teams separate?