During the next two to five years, you'll see enormous conflict about the technical pros and cons of cloud computing. Three of cloud's key characteristics will create three IT revolutions, each with supporters and detractors. CIO.com's Bernard Golden explains the first of these, involving scalability and IT operations.
This blog post at CIO.com is the first I've seen to actually point out that, with organizations moving to the "cloud", it is not necessarily doom and gloom for all IT departments. Instead it points to new directions. Golden's post presents his projections for the winners and losers to come from cloud evolution. Here is the paragraph that caught my attention:
Winners: IT operations. Huh, this is a surprise, eh? Well, if the inevitable outcome of reduced friction (not to mention cost -- that will be addressed in my next post on Cloud Computing Revolutions) is to increase demand for IT resources, someone is going to have to do the capacity planning. In a sense, the impact of cloud computing will be to shift the tasks for IT operations from tactical resource provisioning to strategic resource planning -- with an emphasis on achieving the most efficient, lowest cost infrastructure possible. This is a far cry from the "your mess for less" outsourcing that has previously been the outcome of cost focus -- this is about creating an automated, immediate search for the lowest cost, most available, most appropriate computing resources needed to fulfill a provisioning request. The most successful IT operations groups will be those that stop thinking about controlling allocating resource and begin thinking about locating resource.
We've been hearing for a long time that companies need to break down the silos isolating IT departments from business units and that CIOs need as much orientation to business as they have to technology. At the same time, business process engineering tools are showing up (SaaS tools such as iPB and Visual Process Manager) that ostensibly give executives an easy entry point to designing and aligning their business processes with software development. The trend is for software development to move towards business design and vice versa.It's collaboration and integration leading to leaner, faster and smarter teams, which is fine if you want to merely keep up with the competition. However, the problem for every company moving to the cloud is that every company is moving to the cloud. If you really want to differentiate, you must do more than just pave the old cowpath. And that calls for systemic innovation.