Migrating to the cloud is an investment in an organization’s future. Most executives realize the cloud brings increased speed and flexibility, but the benefits go much deeper. Be forewarned: to fully maximize those benefits, there must be a solid business case that supports migration to the cloud. A strong business case can be what helps secure larger budgets required to invest in sizable transformation—the change that truly moves the value needle for the organization.

To build a comprehensive and compelling cloud business case, we should first look at the value realization. The cloud value stream includes the set of activities that ensure financial benefits are planned, captured, tracked and utilized. The definition of true value is what remains after subtracting the detriments from the realized benefits. Let’s take a closer look at each.

Benefits

Cloud benefits include tangible outcomes, or “hard” benefits, such as increased speed and flexibility, elasticity, usability and performance. We often link these benefits to infrastructure and people and then measure value by assessing how fast the organization can pivot. How can cloud accelerate these moves and measure hard benefits?

Then there are also “softer” benefits. For example, having direct and instant access to new software innovation, rather than downloading upgrades or getting them shipped on traditional DVDs. For some industries, such as communications and high-tech, having immediate access to the latest technologies is critical to staying competitive and connecting with customers. Software innovation can be the fuel to keep the business afloat.