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Business needs, not technology, driving cloud adoption

by Philip Sellers

Agility.  In one word, it sums up the business case for cloud adoption.  Businesses are faced with delivering their products and services instantly to a new generation of consumers – one who came of (buying) age along with Facebook.  It is an instant access and instant gratification generation and they are coming into the enterprise in droves.

What this means for traditional IT is that their old-school ways of deploying and managing systems and services is as archaic as the dinosaur to this new generation.  Increasingly, the business units are telling IT to deliver solutions quickly or the business unit will find their own cloud vendor and do it themselves.

In many enterprises, sales teams have already circumvented IT and have signed agreements with online CRM vendors to meet their needs.  The ability to meet a customer’s needs quickly and simply is forcing changes to entrenched IT methods of the past 20 years.  IT shops are forced to respond in similar fashion to keep up with outside competition from cloud vendors.  In a lot of ways, it resembles the capitalist economy with supply and demand.

But as cloud is now forced upon IT departments, how does the department adequately respond, secure and maintain these new solutions?  How does traditional IT continue to stay relevant in an organization?

In short, IT will have to adapt – as it did with the transition from mainframe to client-server applications.  The good news is that in most cases, IT will be tasked with traditional roles supporting the cloud.  Someone is still going to have to troubleshoot poor performance, write customizations to the applications and someone will still need to coordinate with technical vendors for non-technical users.

The jobs will certainly look different than they have over the past 15 years, but I doubt that many small to medium businesses will be able to displace their IT departments.  And in many cases, they may have to enlarge them with new expertise and here’s why.

Cloud presents a new set of requirements and an added complexity of managing security around the corporate data that resides outside of the physical firewalls of a company.  Not all products are cloud ready – since most client-server applications will not easily move to the cloud and many organizations will be faced with supporting these legacy applications for many years to come.

Opening corporate data to a deluge of personal devices (thanks to BYOD) and to mobile workforce also changes the way that organizations allow access to corporate data.  If done right, the cloud can still keep data secure, but when outsourcing is involved, what guarantee does your company have for data security?  There are lots of questions to be answered in the cloud arena.  And there are lots of companies working on solutions around these topics.  Keep an eye out, here, for more on these topics.

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