Following one of my lastest post, I am very proud to introduce this series :
“What Cloud Computing will change for ?”
Thanks to Sylvain !
A CIO perspective by Sylvain Pendaries.
– Is there a change ?
Cloud Computing is one of the trends leading to a commoditization of IT services. More and more IT services will become a commodity (that will be for sale to the better, maybe cheaper, bidder) that will not be part of the company’s competitive advantage.
By essence, Cloud computing will make resources available for anyone to use, leading to a change in the paradigm of service delivery. It remains to be seen whether Cloud computing will be economical, flexible and secure, all major questions that corporations are asking right now. That change is happening now. A lot of large companies have embraced it, while some others are reluctant mostly because of loss-of-control and security concerns.
– What kind of change ?
The change stems from the fact that CIO and their IT teams will act now more as a Supply Chain manager trying to combine services from inside, outsourcers and the Cloud. It has the potential to change the role of IT into more of an architecture role rather than just a service provider, even a captive one. I believe that IT management is now understanding the magnitude of that change. It’s potentially a very high-impact change.
Most Infrastructure departments will see their responsibility evolve into a “pick and choose” department, responsible for assembling best-of-breed services from reliable and disparate sources. IT people (on the buy-side of the business) need to realize that their role is going to evolve very quickly. That may lead to resistance and concerns about their role in their own organization. As usual, technology evolves more rapidly than people may accept; but it is paramount for Cloud computing to become a strategic foundation that IT departments anticipate not only what the technology brings but also the organization evolution that it will imply.
– For you as an IT professional ?
Whether you are a senior IT executive or a consultant, it’s your duty to explain cloud potentials and risks to your clients.It’s another solution that is available to the palette of the services IT can provide. For the CIO, to make the decision and move to a Cloud-based model is accepting a new era of IT services, where some of them will be performed outside of the company’s IT responsibility.
Therefore, the reliability and confidence in the service provider become key factors in the overall IT strategy. I believe that this transition must be accompanied by transformation management and technical experts. That is where proper consulting may be needed to mitigate the resistance risks as well as the technical and integration risks.
– In general for IT people ?
The Internet model has been in place for several years. Now that the cloud is readily available (and potentially cheaper) for corporations to use, their IT departments need to start thinking how to take advantage of it.
Either by providing it (Private), combining it with others (Hybrid) or using others (Public). Anyways, the role of IT will still be to federate the solution, whatever the technical backbone. It has always been IT’s paradox to see the technology available for the public to consume (for how long have we had access to Internet?) before it is readily available in the corporations we work for. So, IT departments have to catch up and embrace that change. Again, transforming not only the mindset of IT employees but also their day-to-day responsibilities will be a major challenge that corporations will have to initiate to succeed in implementing Cloud computing. But it is also an opportunity to transform the workforce and have it more focused on the business strategy.
– For the relationships with your clients, teams and vendors ?
This is a “new” offering, a hot commodity right now. I need to stay abreast of what is happening on that side of the market, identify the main vendors, compare their offerings, understand the relations between them, build smart solutions, advocate for or against the cloud depending on my clients’ needs.
This is really an architecture job more than ever, one that requires a fairly deep understanding of the offers out there, the evolving partnerships and pitfalls behind some offerings. Integration of services is one of the most difficult jobs right now, as very few vendors provide integration capabilities that I would consider really professional. They pretty much stick to their own model. My role as an architect is then to detect where integration issues may arise, how data mappings should be handled with the constant pressure of timely delivery. As Cloud computing vendors claim to shorten their service’s time-to-delivery, my clients’ expectations need to be properly managed as the integration effort remains the bottleneck of those major programs.
– What will not change ?
Cloud computing is the latest buzz. How many have we seen in the past? How many more in the future? I am sure that regardless of IT new offerings, there will still a lot left in the hands of IT departments.
I have mentioned the shift into architecture. Another aspect not to forget is the rising needs around data management (Business Intelligence), regulatory compliance and security which lead me to believe that most CIOs will want to keep these responsibilities under control, therefore in-house.
Sylvain Pendaries is the Founding Partner at SP49 Partners, in New York. He was previously CIO for several financial institutions for more than 10 years.
You can reach Sylvain at firstname.lastname@example.org, His Blog.