The New CFO: Chief Freedom Officer
by Chris Bowen
Chief Privacy & Security Officer and Founder
Since the onset of COVID-19, I’m finding that more of my conversations with CISOs and CIOs also involve the CFO – Chief Financial Officer. I had one CFO recently ask me why she should buy the cloud. After our discussion about cloud versus on-prem IT infrastructure strategies, she commented, “so what you’re saying is that the cloud gives me freedom?” She got it. Yes!
To all of you, Chief Financial Officers, if you do the analysis she did, as you consume cloud, feel free to change your title to Chief Freedom Officer.
Here are eight concepts that can liberate the CFO.
Freedom from Buying Hardware Designed for Peak Capacity
One of many advantages of the cloud is you pay for what you use. With on-prem, you have to build for your maximum capacity need even if you only peak one or two days a year. As a former colleague of mine used to say – it’s like buying a chapel for one wedding. With the cloud, you can scale up quickly to meet soaring demand, but once that need has passed as with seasonal waves or running big data machine learning compute, you can simply scale back down to what you need. That is some agile scaling that pays off in the cloud.
Freedom from Fixed Pricing
As alluded to above, you only pay for what you use. You don’t need to sign a one size fits all licensing agreement that locks you into the same price as someone who might be using a lot more. Instead of paying $50 for an all-you-can-eat buffet dinner when you only want a salad, order what you want and just pay for that. As certain healthcare sectors are forced to increasingly scrutinize budgets, that’s a huge plus for containing and optimizing spend.
Freedom to Throttle your Spend as you Grow your Revenue
If you are having a great year, the cloud will keep up with you. Frequently in the on-prem world, success could actually be prohibitive as capital expenditures soar and the time to provision and implement machines crawls at a pace that can’t keep up with sales. Selling more? Grow your cloud workloads quickly and easily. It’s like having a house that automatically adds a bedroom whenever you need more space.
Freedom to Better Control your Margins
The cloud offers various means by which to control costs. In addition to architecture optimization - that is - properly sizing your compute, storage and network components to be just the right size and configuration, some cloud providers offer ways to pay in advance for services at significantly reduced prices. Just like Southwest Airlines pays advance fees to lock in fuel prices every year (i.e., hedging), you too can lock in compute fees costs using strategies like "reserved instances" to control your margins.
Freedom to Experiment with Different Technology
It’s like getting to drive a different car to work whenever you want. There are so many exciting emerging technologies on the cloud. The three big public clouds release hundreds of new features every month! You can explore these and see which ones benefit you most to help reach your business objectives. Maybe it’s running natural language processing apps to understand your unstructured data. Perhaps it’s using ClearDATA Locate®, which uses natural language processing and machine learning to enable your team to identify, manage and stay compliant as you use data sets that contain Protected Health Information (PHI). Experiment and see what moves your organization forward because if you aren’t moving forward, you are falling behind.
Freedom to Displace Data Center Space for Revenue-Generating Activities
Real estate is not getting cheaper. If I'm a healthcare provider bursting at the seams from a physical capacity perspective, why on earth would I configure a large space in my building to do nothing but run servers, cooling, networking, and redundant power and connectivity? Wouldn't I be better able to serve my patients by using that space for more exam rooms? At least then, I could generate revenue AND fulfill my mission. Maybe I'm a payer, or health IT startup...using real estate to host servers shackles an organization and constrains revenue-generating assets.
Freedom to Innovate and Solve Healthcare Problems
If there’s anything we’ve learned from COVID, healthcare is transforming rapidly to a digitized version of its former self that meets patients where they are via virtual care, remote patient monitoring, in-home IoT devices, and more. That server stack your organization bought in 2010 can’t run in that race. If you want to be out in front of the competition, you need innovate with the best tools available, and that requires cloud.
Freedom to Separate Applications from Infrastructure
What could you do if you weren’t spending dozens of hours a week testing, deploying, and monitoring patching? With serverless computing in the cloud you can say goodbye to tedious repetitive tasks that take up multiple team members’ time and instead focus on meeting your business objectives. By leveraging the cloud and serverless technologies, you can abstract your applications from the operating systems and virtual machines, and more easily bust those business unit silos and share your data across your ecosystems to reap business insights better, faster.
So, if you want to get a plan that makes fiscal sense and helps you meet your business objectives without blowing your budget, turn to ClearDATA and let us show the freedoms you can find in the cloud. We’ll take care of the privacy, security, and compliance. You, Ms. Chief Freedom Officer, focus on your business objectives and your bottom line.
Interested in learning more? Read our article, Financing the Cloud: Considerations for Switching Capex for Opex