Tuesday, September 15, 2015

What is the Critical Role of IT in the Cloud Era?

Cloud IT is not cloudy if you well plan, manage and govern it.

For so long, IT has been perceived by businesses as an inhibitor to productivity, because it is slow to change and acts as a gatekeeper for businesses to adopt the emerging IT consumerization. With the dawn of the cloud era, the best bet of the IT is to understand the various Cloud options (including SaaS, PaaS, IaaS, private, public, hybrid) that deliver self-service, instant productivity to the developers and business units - probably in a DevOps model - so that the business units can get product to market in an expedient fashion. IT must be able to help the business determine the best avenues / vendor for their workload requirements, though, and as such will provide most of the value as a broker between IT services in the marketplace and the developers / business units within their respective organization. More specifically, what is the critical role of IT in the Cloud era?

The cloud IT implies to run bimodal IT in many organizations: The role of IT will be managing legacy applications, and applications run on the cloud. This is where the definition of Bimodal IT makes sense. It’s the practice of managing two separate, coherent models of IT delivery, one focuses on stability and the other on agility. One is to keep the light on with industrial speed, the other is to drive business transformation with digital speed. Mode 1 is traditional and sequential, emphasizing safety and accuracy. Mode 2 is exploratory and nonlinear, emphasizing agility and speed.

The key role of IT will remain the same, and it is two-fold: The role of IT is certainly changing and companies experience different lengths of the transition period from on premise to cloud based environments depending on sector and size of the business. It somewhat implies that traditional IT is shrinking. However, at large companies, there are so many apps and functions that won’t move all to the cloud in the foreseeable future. But there are some apps (CRM, HCM) that are already moving to the cloud. Smaller companies will move more quickly to the cloud. The key role throughout however will remain the same, and that IT role is two-fold: 
-Take charge of application development and live applications and their integration whilst delivering value to internal and external customers alike.
-Contribution to and execution of the company's digital strategy and driving innovation.

IT is the foundation of data, information, and modern knowledge: Managing data like a company asset will indeed be key functions especially since the data has left the company premise. The fact is that a huge percentage of IT is about the identification and advancement of Knowledge for the enterprise and its people. In fact, most experienced people would debate that, in this digital information age, there isn't really much of an enterprise without the massive oceans of Data & Information that flow through the enterprise, at any given split second. IT is the foundation for massive volumes of Data & Information that is collected, persisted, categorized, mapped, sliced, diced, reordered, related, transformed, and made meaning of... unifying a disparate cloud environment, without which knowledge would be minimal in the modern day.

Cloud governance and brokerage are the main things IT will be responsible for in future. The lack of insight into how business units are using IT services right now, often outside of the IT department's knowledge, will increase the importance of good governance and control, SLA, availability, reliability and business needs, in addition to growth and maintenance.  - albeit without overly officious / onerous processes. Compliance will not get easier in the future when you think about clouds or hybrid environments. So IT needs real experts that can consult customers in the right way or even create a kind of urgency around that topic.

In the cloud era, the “Critical Role of IT” is having IT as an agile business enabler.
Agile IT should adapt and evolve to become more reliable, available, cost efficient, secure; with lower cost and lower time to market, also IT should be simpler. Complexity in IT is more value-destroying, but simplicity adds more value to IT. IT could replace and update a simple thing with another simple thing; by the other hand, “Critical Role of IT” is how to payoffs complexity taxes for complex process and infrastructure, or how to build simple Micro Systems/Services with lower dependency, lower maintenance cost and lower operation cost; also lowering the risks.

The real challenge to run an effective IT (hybrid IT with the hybrid cloud ) is always about bridging the gap between Business Units and IT. Cloud does provide an unprecedented opportunity to break down the functional silo, brighten the shadow IT, increase business fluidity based on OpEx advantage and DevOp agility, and improve the IT delivery speed via faster deployment, automation, and maturity.


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