First off, let me make myself clear.  I firmly believe that Cloud Computing, in its various forms, is real, absolutely inevitable and will completely revolutionize the form and role of the IT Organization.  Some readers will look at that sentence and laugh – it’s like saying “day will pass into night.”  Obvious, beyond dispute, devoid of insight.  Others will also laugh at my opening proclamation – only in their case, because my assertion is completely ridiculous to them – beyond belief.  Of course, to many businesses, especially smaller and medium sized, Cloud Computing is already real, and has been for some time.  So, feel free to debate me (comments and opposing views highly welcome!) but I will stick with my beliefs on this.

For IT Leaders, the Cloud Changes Everything!

For me, the big question is, what does the migration to Cloud Computing mean for today’s IT organization?  What structural changes are necessary to successfully leverage Cloud Computing capabilities?  How quickly should you be moving IT services to the Cloud?  How does the Cloud impact the IT Service Portfolio and the capabilities needed to deliver those services?  What are the implications for IT competencies?  How does business-IT governance change in a Cloud Computing world?

I think these are important questions whose answers are not yet totally clear.  As I reflect back on the shift from mainframe to client-server computing, many IT organizations were less than stellar at anticipating needed changes.  As a result, they experienced more bumps and potholes in that journey than was necessary.  For example, for all that had been learned about back-up and recovery in a mainframe world, the onset of client-server computing created gaping holes in the IT organization’s ability to cope with data protection and loss at the Personal Computer level.  The same was true for the evolution from client-server to the web – many of the controls put in place for client-server computing were ineffective (and some even counter-productive) as more work moved to the Internet.

Which Aspects of Cloud Computing Could Bite Your IT Organization?

In the next few posts I will explore some of IT organizational implications of Cloud Computing.  Aspects we will examine will include:

  • Mobility implications – both for the business user and the IT professional charged with enabling that user.
  • The distinctions between Infrastructure as a Service, Applications as a Service, Platform as a Service, Development as a Service and Business Process Services and how these impact IT organizations.
  • The distinctions between Public, Private and Community Clouds and their implications for IT.
  • Accounting implications, including funding and budgeting.
  • Implications for Business-IT Governance.
  • Security and Privacy.
  • Implications for the work teams and flow of work involved in requirements analysis to solutioning.
  • Impact on Enterprise Architecture.
  • Implications for IT Services and Service Management.

Please weigh in – let us know your experiences, issues and concerns about the shift to the Cloud.  Do you agree with my assessment that this shift is inevitable?  How fast do you see it happening?  What does it mean for you personally, and for your career?

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