Today, the word “Cloud” can be inserted into almost any situation to address organizational challenges. Businesses looking to the cloud to provide the “nirvana of IT (Information Technology) experiences,” find that unless their network was born there, the move to a ‘complete cloud operation’ may be cost prohibitive and may not yield the desired results. Some businesses look to the cloud to cut costs while delivering the same level of service. While this can be true, it depends how “cloud” is defined. Viewing the cloud as “a process that leverages automation wherever needed” recognizes cloud services’ transformational capabilities and helps IT teams deploy almost any resource instantaneously. Organizations now measure delivery in minutes and hours instead of days or weeks. Unless CIOs and their teams are partners in this business transformation, providing added value beyond core IT and networking, shadow IT can become prevalent. Adopting best practices from a trusted solution provider can help guide your company’s cloud strategy.
So, what do IT teams need to maintain relevance and provide a business advantage? Data Strategy suggests that finding a way to modernize, automate, and monetize their solutions will help teams achieve these goals. Let’s take a look first at modernization.
Modernized IT teams are focused on width vs. depth. Their people have a wide range of skills, roles, and responsibilities and leverage only the deep skills when needed. This allows individual team members to have visibility of the entire infrastructure and are able to view the solutions holistically. This avoids compartmentalized hand-off points and segmentation that can delay deployment in traditional tower-based staffing models.
In a cloud delivery model, IT needs to be highly engaged with the business and proactively provide innovative services. Core IT processes need to be re-evaluated to ensure that a high-level of communication between IT and the business units they support exists. A high level of friction, or “us-vs-them mentality,” can diminish IT’s effectiveness while promoting shadow IT activities.
A strategic IT team knows that nontraditional technologies may be needed depending on the demands of your business. Questions such as “when should I build” and “when should I buy” should be asked when new applications are being developed. Modernizing technology is no longer a rip-and-replace conversation.
Today’s end-user also knows a lot about automation. With their own cellphone, they’re able to visit an app store, download an application, and install without any technical support. As a result, they want to be able to self-service their own needs instantaneously at any time. One way to handle in your organization this is to create an automated service catalog. This allows users to select service offerings from a user interface that provisions necessary resources without manual intervention. This helps remove the chore of end-user enablement and helps your IT team focus on working on core business objectives.
Value is often a measured in the number of business capabilities enabled through the investment. While most organizations operate IT as a true cost center and spread IT costs equal across all business units, this is changing. More and more organizations are starting to leverage IT as a utility that charges each business for what they truly consume. With this approach, IT becomes a self-sufficient organization that is almost fully-funded by the service that they deliver.
Cloud is changing the IT landscape. For many companies, understanding the benefits and challenges of cloud solutions will help your team understand the “whys and hows” of this transformation so that you can harness its economic and business advantages. Ultimately, with the right strategy, cloud is more than an advanced technology; it is a gateway for transformation of your entire organization.
For more information about how to leverage the cloud, check out our TechEx Webinar.
Director, Solution Development