Why Cloud Computing is not a threat to (functional) IT
Depending up on who you talk to in the IT community, cloud computing is either “the greatest thing since sliced bread”, or “the ultimate harbinger of doom”. It’s true; IT professionals seem to be divided on whether or not the world’s cloud gambit will prove beneficial for their career field. The truth is (as is usually the case with most things), we’re dealing with a “mixed bag”.
Some IT professionals will do extremely well throughout the upcoming global cloud computing adoption scenario, while others might very well find themselves “left in the dust” of change. Cloud computing is not an “IT killer”; however, it will undoubtedly push many IT groups toward reaffirming and redefining their roles, responsibilities and knowledge base.
Perhaps the right questions to ask are, who will benefit and why? In reality, there are some organizations that have IT departments which add quite a lot of value to their overall business strategy. Likewise, there are plenty of other companies which employ IT personnel who are doing very little to add value to their employer’s long and short-term goals (often times through not fault of their own).
IT management needs to take a long honest look at what they are able to offer their parent organization in the coming months and years. You have to look at this from the point-of-view of the business; if they can simply hire a cloud provider which is able to offer a completely managed IT solution for far less than the cost of what on-site operations require, can you really blame them for at least considering a change?
However, remote cloud-based IT will not work for every business or situation; many organizations are always going to need people on hand who are dedicated and able to devise creative solutions or find new ways to utilize certain technologies. These are areas that all modern IT workers need to focus on; being able to provide specific expertise and customized solutions where emerging infrastructure is concerned.
For IT professionals, having some form of cloud computing certification is a must. Those employed in IT fields need to begin training themselves in one or more specific cloud computing disciplines if for no other reason than to secure their career future. All security concerns aside, the most important point is still the assimilation of cloud-specific knowledge.
IaaS is a great example of a type of Cloud Computing infrastructure where IT pros can maintain a traditional relationship with their employer while at the same time utilizing this brand new technology. Basically, IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service) is a type of cloud computing service which users are expected to manage (or micro-manage) themselves. In other words, you get access to metered services comprising all the necessary hardware, software, etc…(remotely of course), but there is not built-in management of these components. Some emerging forms of IaaS are even allowing customers to change their hardware configuration, or add to it, on the fly. These forms of IaaS offer a great employment opportunity for knowledgeable and prepared IT workers at companies who use them.
Which of course brings us to the point of cost; IaaS can be significantly cheaper than fully managed services. Businesses might actually be able to save more through utilizing a coupled IaaS to on-site IT personnel solution.
Then there’s the security factor, namely, risk avoidance and IT alignment with business strategy. Certainly, a company who employs on-site IT personnel can establish a more stable bond of trust and responsibility with those individuals (in lieu of 3rd parties who they might never even meet face-to-face). Moreover, those IT workers who work closely with an organization tend to have much greater insight as to what their employer really requires, technologically speaking.
Coupling cloud computing with the idea of traditional IT services is arguably the most sensible current approach for a majority of tech-dependent businesses out there. Given that more and more businesses are making the decision transition to cloud computing every day, being able to maintain on-site IT personnel throughout this process benefits all the involved players in a number of ways. For example, the IT pros benefit because they maintain employment and are perhaps offered a chance to expand their career potential through the use of more advanced technology. Then there’s the company itself, who can count on a much smoother and more successful cloud transition due to the fact that their own people are overseeing the conversion. Those IT groups who are willing to expand and adapt will find themselves in much better positions than they were previously, and organizations utilizing the cloud will increase their capabilities as well. Will there be casualties in this monumental cloud computing exodus? Most certainly; but only those IT departments which either aren’t prepared or never really aligned technology with business strategy in the first place have something to fear.
The fact of the matter is that modern businesses are becoming increasingly reliant on technology for internal and external operations, cloud computing helps immensely with this. IT is not going to go the way of the dinosaur simply because technology is adapting new ways of achieving goals, but it is going to evolve. If you’re an IT professional, you simply need to make sure that you’re riding the wave of change instead of unexpectedly capsizing into it.