I have been attending a variety of Cloud presentations as I am sure we all are these days. There was a trend that I found very troubling and it wasn’t the usual data security, or governance issues. You know the adage “there is no I in team”, well the trend was “there is no IT in Cloud”.
The vendors were informing us that their sales reps were targeting the business directly, which isn’t anything new but what is new is shifting it to the vendors Managed Services and taking immediate control of standard IT responsibilities. The idea was that IT wasn’t really required to make the Cloud happen in the enterprise. Frankly, not even suggested to be a part. Why would an IT department be involved when these large integration and delivery partners can sweep everything you could need off to their data center and control it for you?
I find this advantageous to the vendor but not to the business customers that we support. IT needs to provide the agile and responsive environments and offerings that the business has come to expect from these sorts of SAAS providers. Our customers can’t be trapped in any sort of single partner solution like this where they don’t necessarily understand the implications. We need to start providing value greater than the promise of the sales pitches.
Remember when the rage was to outsource anything that wasn’t core or considered a competitive advantage to the business? IT was susceptible to watching their work sent offshore for decades. However, now in the time of digital transformation, (customer experience, mobile, analytics, IoT) the goals of the business and revenue streams are now tied to the unique strengths IT can provide. A dedicated service oriented IT team is their competitive advantage. IBM’s 2015 survey of the C-suite for the first time in the 18 previous versions, indicated executives agreed that changes in technology would provide the single biggest impact on their business success. Jena McGregor of the Washington Post article: “This is what’s keeping CEOs up at night”, discusses IBM’s coined phrase “Uber-ization. The executive’s number one fear is having their company disappear to a more innovative disruptive start-up. A business, or service focused IT organization can actively diminish those concerns by understanding the needs of the business and the solutions the market can bring to bear to satisfy them better than any vendor. Your IT customers need to know that you provide solutions, you keep them safe and you listen.
RightScale provides an annual report on Cloud issues and usage that presented a concise view of how organizations look at IT and the Cloud in 2015.
How do we start making sure IT is the only choice for Cloud? We start by becoming an integrated partner to the business, if IT is not perceived that way the vendor will remain the trusted advisor. In regards to Cloud, we start positioning ourselves as the Cloud Services Broker. We work with the business to identify and provide Cloud offerings as a tool portfolio where they provide the best value to meet their needs. We can continue or start planning to create a self-service portal where they can utilize what they need while IT can protect them with solid governance and security control. The best of both worlds for your organization.
According again to RightScale, the goals for the enterprise would be to:
- Increase agility and accelerate application development by providing developers and business units with self-service access to a set of standardized technology stacks across a portfolio of clouds
- Increase IT efficiency by automating manual tasks in order to reduce time spent by IT teams on routine requests and shrink wait times for developer.
- Increase cost efficiency by enabling use of the most cost-efficient infrastructure option for each workload — whether public clouds, private clouds, or virtualized environments — and providing cost management capabilities to reduce waste and optimize spend
- Reduce risks and ensure governance through curated access to approved technology stacks and cloud providers that meet corporate requirements for security and compliance
Focusing our attention on the needs of our customers to achieve these goals, will allow IT to be the solution provider that organizations can count on to deliver the benefits of the Cloud.