We’ve all dreaded that conversation with the CEO after he/she has come back from a long flight, having had plenty of time to catch up on their reading and pick up on the latest technology trend. Who hasn’t experienced that moment of “you know I was reading in the Economist that (fill in the blank with the latest hype) will be an immediate game changer – what are our plans for that and when will it be implemented?!”

If we’re not aware of what has grabbed their attention and you’re not ready, you will be on your heels quickly. In a recent article in the Harvard Business Review, Andrew McAfee does a wonderful job in speaking to “What Every CEO Needs to Know About the Cloud.” He lays out in stark clarity the different forms of the cloud, the importance of the trend, the benefits and the perceived uncertainty of the cloud.

McAfee also points out the not so obvious benefits of the cloud, supported with real-life success stories. The ability for companies like Zynga and Netflix to scale globally wouldn’t have been possible without their forward-thinking use of cloud resources. “The unanticipated benefits often outweigh the intended ones” is also real. As companies looked to save costs in email and moved email to the cloud, companies quickly realized the ability to communicate from anywhere on nearly any device, improving collaboration and productivity immensely.

McAfee closes in his article with, “Delegating the move to the cloud to traditional IT people is like putting the crew running the boiler and steam turbine in charge of electrifying your factory.” So, when your CEO returns to the office, will you be ready? Or have they already initiated their own effort to discover the benefit of the cloud?

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