Can Cloud be used to transform the IT function and deliver IT in a different way?
Tech has always transformed business – if it doesn’t what’s the point
Think of the telephone, fax, mainframe, PC, mobile and the Internet. They’ve all changed business models and enabled new customer services. But they also fundamentally changed the way organisations operated. Simply think about companies before the PC. They were very different places, full of staff employed, mainly, to manage data (collecting, storing, manipulating, sharing).
Cloud has changed everything – or has it?
Cloud has similarly altered the way organisations can respond to evolving customer requirements by powering an online market of always-on, access-from-anywhere services. But as the PC revolutionised the way companies operated, has Cloud yet?
Cloud is now a done deal. The question for most decision makers is no longer whether to use it, but how best to. As a result, Cloud is now a tech commodity with little, if any, USP value for customers – who now cares if an online service is Cloud based or not?
So from a customer’s perspective, Cloud is irrelevant, but from an operational perspective the potential for Cloud to transform the way organisations run IT remains largely unfulfilled.
The basic, underlying business benefits of Cloud are well understood, and they’ve clearly driven the rapid uptake of Cloud by most organisations, but what has really changed? Yes, there are fewer servers in most organisations and the days of on-premise computer rooms are, mostly, behind us, but has the functions of the IT department dramatically changed? Has the way most organisations deliver IT altered? I’d argue that it’s not changed as much as it could or should have.
The physical management of infrastructure is now done by the Cloud provider – plugging it in, switching it on and off, making sure all the necessary lights are flashing, etc. Nevertheless, too many businesses, regardless of size, are still burdened by the routine, day-to-day management of Cloud, which as it becomes more complex, is, for many, a growing, and unwanted, business distraction. The IT function looks basically the same, but without the on-premise hardware.
Time to take a more ambitious, innovative approach
Like past decisions of organisation to relinquish responsibility for operational functions that were not core to their business, such as facilities management and running canteens, ambitious businesses are starting to look to Cloud as the opportunity to transform the IT function. It’s imperative that they retain complete control over strategic IT decisions and implementation, but they simply don’t want the distraction of the routine, day-to-day operational management of Cloud – it’s not core to their business and it undermines their ability to focus, precious in-house skills on higher-value, customer-focused priorities.
Trusted Cloud partner
So if your organisation is not, actually, in the IT business, what element of the Cloud-enabled IT function should you manage, and who to trust to do what you don’t need to? One yardstick might be:
• Only do the things that create value because other people don’t/can’t do them, or
• If other people can do it better, they should do it.
Importantly, how do you decide on an appropriate partner to do the rest, the Cloud stuff you don’t want to or don’t need to do? If it’s important and you depend on it, then they’d better be accessible, flexible and trusted. Ideally, it should be a partner that cares about the success of your business and can give you what you need, when you need it and how you want it. This is who we are at Flexiion.
We’re one of the new independent Cloud support partners that specialise in optimising and supporting our customers’ Cloud infrastructure so they get the Cloud solutions that best support their business objectives.
Importantly, we can free our customers of routine, day-to-day Cloud management giving them peace of mind that the infrastructure they rely on is being looked after, letting them concentrate on their core customer offering that creates value.
Simon Lofthouse, CMO, Flexiion
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