Clouds and Men : the truth on what Cloud Computing will change for the teams

I had some conversations about Cloud Computing Delivery Model and the impacts on teams. Sure, each time, either a business model is changing, or an innovation is coming, you will have some impacts for the teams.

Good news is that jobs will be in the Cloud Computing for the coming years as CIO mention in an IBM Survey.

A good question is : How can we prepare and involve teams to see this changes as an opportunity ?

First, what are the impacts ?

The impacts started with the move from “Plan – Build – Run” IT to a “Source – Integrate – Manage” one. If we look at the IT Teams as a whole, IT focused, in the past, on building the IT components and managing the Capacity. With Cloud switch, IT will have to become more a Business Enabler than Technology focus. It means IT people will have to be closer to the business to understand better the company and propose the bests solutions. IT teams will have to use what the market proposes instead of building or reinventing the wheel. It is like the automobile industry 20 years ago. This industry stopped building its own screw and has developed more partnership and integration capabilities.

These are the majors impacts :
Teams have to learn about doing the right partnerships, then doing the right selection, doing the right integration and last but not least a right run process. Easier to say than to do 😉

These point are confirmed by IT World Canada in the Survey on top Cloud Computing skills. The top three are the following :

  • contract negotiation,
  • detailed cloud understanding,
  • enhanced technical knowledge.

What about IT Infrastructure teams ?

CloudShaping said in his blog that “CIOs will not choose to move their datacenters into the cloud. Their bosses will.

I think it’s true… if IT Infrastructure stays in the old fashion’s delivery. Whatever good you are you can’t deliver 5 nines SLA at an affordable cost and beat the big IT players. Datacenter and IT Infrastructure Operations are key and can build a competitive advantage if handle properly.

99,999% ?

What to do ?

If we split the IT Infrastructure teams in 3 areas, you have :

1- Datacenter, the Datacenter space and all associated facilities,
2- Hosting, behind this I am telling about what’s in the Datacenter itself,
3- Integration, the link between the Information System and IT Infrastructure.

With the Cloud, the focus will move from “Building the Datacenter” to “Integrate Vendors Components“, which will give more value from an IS perspective. You can put your energy on the agility, reconfiguration, time to deliver or specific Company requirements like regulatory constraints or specific Service Profile. To be more precise, the “Build your Own Screw” will decrease and new “Integrate Building Blocks” will rise.

IT Infrastructure teams will have to develop Information Systems skills to ease the application integration. This last point will highlight the increasing importance on Infrastructure Architects who have to work hand in hand with Information System Architects.

Hosting teams will face a “all in one Building Block” with the Network, the Storage and the Servers as an integrated solution. Network will move in the Servers, Storage will share the Network backbone with Servers. All have to be one team : A great opportunity to improve collaboration skills.

What are the skills teams have to develop within the Cloud ?

“Consequently, traditional data center workers will need to learn to design service catalogs, define service offering templates, populate service offerings into the service catalog, and write business and technical workflows to automate the request process.” as CIO said.

SearchCloudComputing list some other key skills wanted for Cloud Computing :

  • Financial literacy (ROI calculation),
  • Management and interpersonal skills (Collaboration is the key),
  • Negotiation skills (SLA Management),
  • Process management skills (ITIL still up to date),
  • Market understanding (for partnership and market understanding),
  • Technical chops (IT Still Technology, better Integration with Technology understanding).

What are my preferred skills ?

  1. Collaboration spirit, Cloud Computing requires Team Work, no collaboration and Team Work, No Cloud !
  2. Information System Integration and Architecture, the value will come from the quality of the link between IT Infrastructure and Information System.
  3. Process, more automation, more virtualization, means more and more rigorous processes.
  4. Market and Partnerships, Cloud Computing requires market understanding, outsourcing capabilities and partnerships management.

How to help this change ?

My proposal is the Cloud Two Feet Strategy. Are you walking ? I’m not kidding… any change starts with an unbalanced situation. The first step !

– One foot on the Private Cloud,
Develop your Private Cloud to prepare the Big Switch as Nicholas Carr said.
– Second foot on the Public Cloud,
Then, you can prepare the IT as a Commodity in the Public Cloud.

You can find what CIO said : “cloud computing to overtake on-premise computing as the primary IT delivery model by 2015” , it confirms the two feet strategy. I plan to develop this in a future post.

To conclude,

IT teams are an asset, a key asset all companies have to take care. Show the path, explain the change and explain again why teams need to learn and discover new areas. Training, improve collaboration, build workgroup sessions, for exchanging ideas and thoughts, can be few possibilities. At the end of the day, it’s our role, as manager, co-workers or teammate, to help for moving forward for this Cloud Journey : together.

Then, we will see the opportunity !

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