I’ve spent a bunch of time arguing with people about the economics of Cloud Computing. While I don’t deny that the per-unit price of computing will come down because of Cloud Computing, I believe that focusing on cost in isolation misses the whole point of the Cloud. My contention is that Cloud Computing, as the natural progression on from outsourcing, finally allows IT to completely focus on the strategic aspects of its job, forgetting the low level maintenance stuff and instead really looking to how it can add value to the business.
Recent surveys from lots of different independent analyst companies have shown that organizations are seeing agility as one of the key drivers for the move to the Cloud. That kind of makes sense when you consider the somewhat mind-numbing statistic that fully 80% of money that IT departments spend is “dead money”, being spent on day-to-day operations that don’t actually contribute to business growth.
I sat down a few weeks ago with Christian Reilly, an IT architect with one of the world’s largest construction companies, to talk about his experience building a private cloud for his organization. The thrust of the discussion was around the debate of whether the Cloud should be “public” or “private” but it is also interesting for those who contend that Cloud is a massive opportunity for IT to focus on the important stuff.
Reilly admits that in an ideal world they might be further along some kind of continuum than they currently are, but he does so from a position of total faith and belief in the value that their Cloud foray has driven so far – focus, efficiency, agility, predictability and a bottom line of adding value to the organization.
It is true that his move is going to pose many challenges to IT staffers – people will need to retrain, some positions will cease to exist and the demands on IT staff will move from primarily technical to primarily business aligned. But all of these challenges are valuable – they’re all part of IT doing what it’s promised for so long, and the Cloud is enabling them all.
Oh and we’d love you to join in some of our webinars or read the whitepapers – the CloudU homepage is here – and you can register to have updates sent to your inbox (in a non-spammy way of course!) there as well.