Cloud enablement should be about business, not just IT

October 29, 2014

Gone are the days when it was acceptable to compartmentalize the IT department as a separate entity from the other functional areas in a company. Today, IT is everywhere, penetrating every area of enterprise as changing workplace habits and processes take hold and alter the business landscape.

Cloud computing is at the center of this transformation, bringing valuable tools to every employee in the realms of collaboration, file sharing and storage, video conferencing and other vital business activities. For this reason, it would be wrong to view the cloud as being an "IT thing." The presence of cloud computing throughout the entire business means that decisions regarding its enablement are not just a technology decision – they are a business decision.

The hybrid cloud drives, the IT department steers
The cloud is often spoken of as if it were one homogenized technology. It's not. There are public and private clouds, there is SaaS, PaaS, IaaS and other services that are all continuing to evolve as market conditions change. Forbes noted that CIO's will be managing a portfolio of diverse cloud services, with each one providing a solution for a specific area of the business. This portfolio will be based on how each service drives business goals, such as cost reduction, agility and responsiveness and other department and company-wide goals.

"The tension within IT on moving to the cloud will resolve as organizations recognize that a hybrid cloud model is needed to serve their application portfolio. CIOs will sort their application portfolio into those applications that they must control entirely (in on-premises private clouds), control partially (in enterprise public clouds)…and those best purchased as SaaS. IT will act as brokers across these diverse cloud models," predicted Forbes writer Jay Kidd last year.

Forbes noted that Kidd's predictions have turned out to be correct in the year since he made them, since IT's role has shifted from a developer of IT solutions to that of a curator of enterprise cloud applications.

IT's growing responsibility
As IT becomes more entrenched in other areas of the enterprise, managers selecting a cloud service must understand they are responsible for all users regardless of their departments or positions. Bringing new cloud services into the IT portfolio as companies migrate from their legacy IT to this new technology must be done with a holistic view of the business in mind. The assessment of things like cost, security, reliability, elasticity and other key cloud criteria must take employees who may not be IT-savvy account and plan accordingly to remain competitive in the future.