Posts Tagged 'delivery'

How the cloud is revolutionizing roles in the IT department

This post was originally published on ThoughtsOnCloud on November 10th, 2014.

Many people see cloud as an evolution of outsourcing. By moving their traditional information technology (IT) resources into a public cloud, clients can focus on their core business differentiators. Cloud doesn’t nix the need for the hardware, software and systems management—it merely encapsulates and shields the user from those aspects. It puts IT in the hands of the external specialists working inside the cloud. And by centralizing IT and skills, a business can reduce cost and risk while focusing on its core skills to improve time to market and business agility.

But where does this leave the client’s IT department? Can they all go home, or do some of the roles remain? Are there actually new roles created? Will they have the skills needed for this new environment?

Changes Crossroad SignLet’s look in more detail at some of these roles and the impact that the extreme case of moving all IT workloads to external cloud providers would have on them:

IT strategy

Strategic direction is still important in the new environment. Business technology and governance strategy are still required to map the cloud provider’s capabilities to the business requirements. Portfolio management and service management strategies have increased importance to analyze investments, ascertain value and determine how to get strategic advantage from the standardized services offered by cloud. However, the role of enterprise architecture is significantly simplified.

Control is still needed although the scope is significantly reduced. IT management system control retains some budgetary control, but much of its oversight, coordination and reporting responsibilities are better performed elsewhere. Responsibility for portfolio value management and technology innovation is mainly handed to the cloud provider.

At the operational level, project management is still required. Knowledge management has reduced scope, but best practices and experiences will still need to be tracked.

IT administration

The scope of IT business modeling is reduced, as many of the functions in the overall business and operational framework are no longer required.

There are changes in administration control. Sourcing relationships and selection are critical for the initiation and management of relationships with providers. Financial control and accounting will continue to manage all financial aspects of IT operations. Human resources planning and administration are still required, but the number of people supported is reduced. Site and facility administration is no longer needed.

All of the operational roles in IT administration have increased importance. IT procurement and contracts as well as vendor service coordination are needed to manage the complex relationships between the enterprise and cloud provider. Customer contracts and pricing is needed for the allocation of cloud costs to internal budgets as well as providing a single bill for services from multiple cloud providers.

Service delivery and support

The main casualties of the move to cloud are the build and run functions. The service delivery strategy will remain in house, although it becomes largely redundant once the strategic decision has been made to source solely from the cloud. Responsibility for the service support strategy moves to the cloud provider.

Service delivery control and service support planning move to cloud provider. Infrastructure resource planning functions are likely to be subsumed into the customer contracts and pricing administration role.

Responsibility for service delivery operations and infrastructure resource administration moves to cloud provider. The help desk and desk-side support services from service support operations remain essential activities for initial level one support, but beyond this, support will be offered by the cloud provider.

Further observations

Governance is a critical capability, particularly around maintaining control over software as a service adoption. Integration of services will be a challenge, but perhaps this will also be available as a service in the future. Relationships with partners and service providers in all guises will become increasingly important.

There is a potential issue with skills. With many of the traditional junior roles in development and operations moving outside the enterprise, it’s hard to see how candidates for these new strategy and coordination roles will gain the experience they need. Academia has an important part to play in ensuring that graduates are equipped with the right skills.

In summary:

• Most current job roles remain, although many have reduced scope or importance.
• Fewer strategic roles are impacted than control or operational ones.
• Build and Run are the main functions which move to the cloud providers.
• Planning and commercial skills are key, linking the IT department more closely to the business.

Can you think of other roles that will be affected by the coming changes? Is your organization ready? Leave a comment below to join the conversation.


Salesforce Application Lifecycle Management

Cloud accelerates the evolution of mankind

This was originally posted on ThoughtsOnCloud August 3, 2012

I went to Lotusphere in January 2011 and I was surprised at how many people were using iPads, bearing in mind that iPads came out only a few months earlier. While I was there, I visited Disney World, and assistants were using iPads to find me information and record my details.

As time goes on, I become even more amazed at how the world has changed since that innovation. It wasn’t an invention, although I’m sure there are lots of patents on it, it was basically just a bringing together of various concepts that already existed and making them consumable. There are a few points in our history when something happens and suddenly everyone can see the value that they can get from building on it. A phone and an iPod existed and were put together to make an iPhone, and then it was made bigger to be an iPad. Yesterday I went to register at a conference; the registrars used an iPad to scan my QR code, I entered my Twitter ID on the tablet, and then they printed out my badge.

I’ve been using Twitter since I got my first iPhone. Twitter already existed, as did personal digital assistants (PDAs), but bringing them together suddenly made them consumable. I’m sure that’s happened for many people and this has led to a sudden uptick in the use of Twitter, the world of social media, and even the Internet of Things have taken off. Suddenly the world is a different place because people are building on the innovation.

People are now familiar with the concept of using a thin client to access web services. Cloud has become the default paradigm and decision-makers are taking this into their businesses with an expectation of instant access and low-cost consoles.

My light-bulb moment, when I realized the difference cloud was going to make, came when I met with a group of start-up companies at Bournemouth University. I’d been asked to speak about cloud. The University’s Digital Hub consultancy helps to sustain a competitive advantage for its clients by educating them about cutting edge digital technologies; the consultancy recognized cloud as one of these. Amongt other topics, I told them about the Wuxi iPark in China.

The local government for Wuxi New District has been pursuing a strategy of economic growth by encouraging the development of industry. The Wuxi iPark hosts hundreds of small and medium-sized companies that need business software to run and grow their businesses. IBM Research and the Wuxi New District implemented a cloud platform to enable Wuxi iPark residents – whether they are ISVs, technology manufacturers, or bakeries, for example –access to low-cost, pay-as-you go applications such as ERP, CRM, and e-Procurement to help them run their businesses. The cloud provides integration between these applications, which enable SMEs to share information with their business partners and supply chain when they need to. Cloud reduces their up-front investment in infrastructure, and allows them to concentrate their resources on developing business solutions for their markets more quickly, more cheaply, and with less risk. This way is stimulating growth both for resident businesses and the wider economy, and also is providing opportunities for employment and training to local residents.

So, while discussing this story with small businesses in Bournemouth, I suddenly understood that cloud enables anyone with a good idea to get that idea out into the world without needing any initial investment. I also understood how this approach opens up a massive amount of possibility for innovation — not just for the initial ideas, but for all the ideas that other people will develop based on the first one. And not just for technological ideas, I’m thinking about all the business ideas people have had in the past and that have been lost because of the effort of setting up a business. I really think that this way could give an exponential increase in our quality of life.

These businesses could be providing the foundations of technology needed for medical research; they could be charities that couldn’t afford to run with a normal infrastructure.

So this was my light-bulb moment, when I realized that cloud will accelerate the evolution of mankind.


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