Sunday, April 24, 2011

Cloud's Transformation: The Softer Side

After having spoken to numerous customers and vendors, it's clear to me that cloud computing's operational transformation necessarily triggers structural changes in the IT organization - as well as in the rest of the enterprise.

Overheard at a conference late last year, an analyst I was briefing illustrated it this way: A Converged infrastructure requires a converged organization to operate it.

I'm convinced we'll see significant internal transformation in the future - not of technology, but of people, roles, skill-sets, and organizations. As evidence, just take a look at the organizational transformation EMC's IT department has gone through in the past 3 years (HT to Chuck's Blog)

Consider this:
  • The Role of the CIO: Today the CIO is orchestrator of technologies, if not a technologist him/herself. Governance of the technologies/vendors is perhaps secondary because "keeping the lights on" is such a dominating task. In the future, the role will shift from technologist to where the CIO (and IT overall) will become a service portfolio and governance manager... Regardless of whether the services are generated internally or externally.  Implication: CIO's will need new skills, policies, processes.
  • IT Organizations: Referring again to Chuck's blog (and excellent illustrations therein) the IT organization will shift from siloed / distinct organizations to a set of unified service organizations leveraging a common services infrastructure. Implication: change management, goal changes, departmental funding changes.
  • Individual Skill-sets: Today's IT skills (esp. in larger organizations) are specialized around applications, servers, networking, backup, etc. each which aligns with the organizational structures, above.  However, in the future many of these functions will either become more automated and/or combine with (be embedded within) other service management functions. Implication: new skills training, certifications, processes.
  • Supporting Services:  As IT transforms, so will adjacent organizations and services - like finance, lines-of-business, legal/compliance, vendor/partner management.  How IT is measured and accounted-for, related-to as a business partner, and how it dovetails with external partners/providers will necessarily shift.  Implication: need for change management and new organizational design.
Looking forward, if these transformations occur even at a modest level, I would expect too see other broader-scale industry-wide changes in these and related areas.
  1. CIO roles will shift to governance & vendor management (perhaps even modeling supply-chain management)
  2. Organizational & change-management resources (firms facilitating change specific to IT transformation) will be in higher demand
  3. IT skills development will re-invent itself; new training and certifications (e.g. cloud architect) will become the norm. Fewer special-purpose technologists will be needed, in favor of a new breed of "converged" technologists
  4. Entirely new categories for job recruitment will emerge to find and place this new talent
  5. IT financial management skills development, training etc. will be in further demand as IT shifts from being a high-dollar capital expense to becoming an on-demand business resource/enabler.
 In the future I'll continue to reflect and blog about what I'm hearing in the market. But we should all be keenly aware of the non-technical impacts of the IT technology shift.

And, if you know of examples today, do share!

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