By Rick Blaisdell
One of the things all professionals involved in cloud computing agree on is this: the migration to the cloud is a complex process, and from the point of view of an IT department it can mean the largest and most complicated project they’ve ever been involved in.
As I have previously discussed, migrating to the cloud is more about helping your business lower its costs and add more services than it is about upgrading to a new technology. So at first glance, it may appear that the IT department is pushed aside. That’s evident in fears in the IT industry concerning the effects the cloud has on enterprise IT departments, which I have explored in one of my previous articles, “Who’s Afraid of the Cloud?” In that article, I concluded that it‘s clearly a time of change for enterprise IT. And it’s definitely a moment for the IT department to get more involved and “own” the cloud, starting at the transitioning process.
So, what does transitioning to the cloud mean for the IT department?
- Firstly, a proactive attitude is needed. The intention to migrate to the cloud may have come from the CEO, the CFO, or other directors who were looking to cut costs and therefore asked their IT department to look into cloud computing services. But proactive IT managers could initiate the change as well. No matter who initiated it, the IT department needs to consider business requirements before actively committing to the project.
- Updating the IT departments’ skills and learning about the new management tools in the cloud are also required. IT employees will need to know what cloud computing can do for the business and how the business will transition. The transition to the cloud has brought with it new job titles that you’ll start to see on business cards, such as “cloud advisor,” “cloud administrator,” “cloud vendor managers,” and so on. If the necessary expertise cannot be found within the department, people with the right skills will have to be employed or contractors will be brought in.
- Then, the IT department must have an honest and thorough look at all services provided to the business, and advise what can and should be moved to the cloud and what should not, making a strong business case for each.
- And all these factors do not even discuss the difficult part of managing and implementing the transition. Proper planning, efficient use of resources, integrating cloud and traditional IT services, managing internal capabilities and external providers—these are all challenges that the IT department will have to meet.
In short, transitioning to the cloud means change for the IT department: from technology to business, from technical to management. In the end, it’s all about flexibility and efficiency — and that’s to be expected, since they’re the defining characteristics of cloud computing in the first place.
Rick Blaisdell is an accomplished technical and business leader and a pioneer in the cloud computing field and in delivering the next generation of business technology. Focused on results, he has implemented revolutionary solutions to cut costs and improve efficiency. He is a creative thinker and visionary in the area of cloud computing. You can read more about him on his personal website, www.rickscloud.com, or e-mail him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Originally published: Jan 23, 2012