For many, cloud computing seems to be all about choice. But that choice goes beyond the choice of cloud service providers or where to run your IT workloads. Increasingly, the choice goes back to how any company’s IT department will choose to see itself. Are they part of the IT solution and so a forward-looking department or are they against it and so seen as a nay-saying department that will only hold the company back in the dark ages.
The Business Litmus Test: Cloud or No Cloud
These days many larger enterprises are using the question of the cloud, even with setbacks like Amazon’s recent crash, to test their IT department’s outlook. Can they pass the test when asked for a solution to a situation that they expect will have cloud-like capabilities for reaction time, flexibility, infinite options and pay-as-you-go features?
The question will force the IT department to choose and either present an option that has cloud capabilities as part of the package or hold to an older solution that labels them as part of the past instead of the future. Any kind of embrace of the cloud as a solution will put IT on the path towards being seen as once again masters of the future and deliverers of the latest and greatest technological solutions for the entire business. In other words, in the words of Cloud Connect guru Alistair Croll, “The cloud genie is out of the bottle. Stop looking for the cork and start thinking (about) what to wish for.”
The New IT: Manager vs Orchestrator
With the acceptance of the cloud comes a new role for IT. The old role of the “factory manager” who ran around making sure the technology was in good working order is gone. That may be the old comfort zone for many IT Managers, but life is change and change can be good.
With the addition of more software, platforms and infrastructure-as-a-service, IT will find itself with less of the day-to-day techie work and acting more as the orchestrator of the entire symphony of services under the IT umbrella. Directing how the services are run instead of providing that service can be a big leap, but if the decision to move to the cloud is done with thought and research the move from daily technical manager to overall service orchestrator can be done with a minimum of pain.
In the long run, it is up to most IT Managers to decide if they are the solution or the problem and to ask both the long term and short term questions. This process points out that the move to the cloud is producing some serious fundamental shifts that will affect how and what IT is. The best solution is to be proactive in this development so that your department is the one presenting the solutions. That way, when you do have to send some of the process outside your four walls you will know why, and the impact those decisions will have on your end users.
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