So far I have said more about the business, innovation, applications and services, than perhaps about IT and IT Operations (Ops) per se. However the impact on IT within the enterprise is no less profound. Cloud not only changes the cost dynamics for enterprises that consume Cloud services, offering a move away from essentially fixed cost CAPEX dominated IT budgets to variable cost OPEX driven budgets, but will ultimately force IT to fundamentally re-evaluate its role.
One of the first drivers for this introspection is the business itself, where the notion of self service, variable cost and convenience have driven many business service owners to either start using external cloud providers or to demand equivalent attributes from their own IT organizations. Now that business service or application owners have experienced just how apparently simple and convenient acquisition of services or resources from the Cloud is, there is no turning back. Pandora’s box is open.
This is forcing IT organizations to view themselves as internal Cloud providers, forcing them to move toward models of delivery that have the same attributes that external Cloud providers have. Whilst delivering these attributes is essential, equating themselves too directly with Cloud providers may be a risky strategy if enterprise IT owners fail to recognize their true differentiating value, i.e. that they are actually a part of their business and that they intimately understand it’s behaviors and needs, in a way that no outsourcer or Cloud provider can. The role of IT organizations is to combine this intimacy with the business, with an understanding of the IT technology landscape, what can be done internally and externally, to deliver a strategy, and an appropriate infrastructure that provides the business with the services it needs, with the appropriate Quality of Service (QoS) that maximizes long term monetization of their products/offerings, whilst delivering the agility and responsiveness the business demands (i.e. minimum time to value for new services and other
offerings) and all at the right price/cost. The balanced mapping the business onto technology, whether it is internal or external, is the true differentiator of the internal IT organization.
Next… The Changing Structure of IT Operations