IT – from naysayers to enablers in the age of cloud computing?

Developers tend to embrace the cloud, often behind IT’s back. IT needs to change with the times, and should become the company’s core competency on flexible cloud tools.

Although IT-departments and developers both have computers as their main source of income, the cultural differences have been huge. Developers have been looking at IT as always being difficult and a bureaucratic obstacle to getting things done. IT, on the other hand, thinks that developers are irresponsible resource gobblers and have no understanding of what it means to create environments with high level of availability on an often very restricted budget. In many cases IT have had no choice but being difficult, because of the budget and hardware they have been able to invest in.

The bureaucracy around getting resources has lead developers to embrace the cloud, often behind IT’s back. Business has loved them for it, as they are seeing an agility that really speeds up implementation. In addition to virtual machines with any operating system being created as needed, Platform-as-a-Service solutions have enabled developers to produce valuable functionality within minutes.

Are IT at the risk of going the way of typographers? Well, in the age of clouds, IT has often been left behind. But that has come at a cost, which is being discovered only now.

Although most cloud services are cheap and flexible compared to on-premise or normal out-sourced solutions, they still cost money. And as scaling up and out is only a click away, many developers have had anxious moments after the bill arrives. Anyone forgot to scale down again? Cost-control is therefore one of the victims of having left IT behind.

Security and access is another. IT is normally responsible for everyone’s access to common resources, such as Line of Business applications, collaboration tools, shared data etc. This access is based on an in-house directory, but the cloud was initially based on more of a free-for-all who knew the guy who originally set it up, and shared the access with you. You needed to provide your MicrosoftID or GoogleID, or register personally with the cloud provider. What happens when people leave the company? Who ensures that the person no longer has access, and that the resource is still available to the company at all? Who shuts out a user who has shared documents through good old Dropbox?

So, how do we combine the flexibility and agility of the cloud with the sobering structure and method of IT?

IT needs to change with the times. They need to embrace the cloud as a way to simplify their own operations, and cut investment costs. They need to adopt agility, and return to being a part of business projects instead of being the naysayers. And with developing business they will again be engaging positively with developers.

IT needs to provide the best tools for sharing information, the IT-department could become the company’s core competency on logging, surveying, and knowing when to scale out or up. Thus they will again be the positive but responsible service provider they were meant to be in the first place.

Many are talking about the IT-manager now becoming a strategist and contributing to transforming the business. Do not however underestimate the value of having deep in-house competency on cloud services, with a transformed IT-department ready for enabling new business!


Photo: Brian DePalo