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Cloud computing will cause three IT revolutions

Bernard Golden | Feb. 10, 2010
Every revolution results in winners and losers -- after the dust settles.

So how will this play out and who will be the winners and losers?

Winners: Apps groups. Apps groups are driven by business groups, many of which are frustrated by not being able to react to urgent business pressure. This is not to mention the frustration many feel when confronted by the "owners" of the resources who assert their judgment as to whether the request is justified. Bypassing all of this organizational overhead and being able to react much more quickly to business developments is a huge win. Expect to see enormous pressure from apps groups to "get on the cloud." And if the operations groups don't respond quickly enough, expect to see the apps groups look to outside providers which have a financial incentive to respond immediately. (I addressed this in my last post, here).

Winners: Apps groups (2). The high-friction provisioning process hasn't merely been the result of rationing by the operations groups. This rationing process ends up being backed into the apps groups themselves, where different business applications vie to be put onto the request list. This has the inevitable outcome that many business applications never "make the cut" to be submitted for resources. And often, these are the applications that represent innovative but unproven applications of information technology. The process goes something like "well, we know we *have* to schedule the upgrade of the XYZ package, and we know we need to refresh the hardware that the ABC application runs on, so that pretty much covers what we can do this quarter. Bob, sorry that we can't address your application that matches our customer complaints against our manufacturer partner's trouble tickets to see if we can identify breakdown patterns." Low-priority applications will have much more opportunity in a cloud computing world. A complement to this is the inevitable overall growth in the use of IT resources.

Losers: IT operations. Putting provisioning in the hands of IT resource users inexorably results in less influence for IT resource "owners." As I was outlining this vision of end user-driven, automated provisioning in a workshop last week, one attendee said "I can see why it's so attractive, but I can't see IT operations accepting it. I think we'll hear something from operations groups like 'automated provisioning is great, but it should be done in my group to make sure requests align with accepted standards or the like.'" Of course. This is something like what ecommerce sites did 10 or 12 years ago, when the purchaser would fill out a web form, submit it, and it would result in an email to a clerk, who would turn around and type the order into the existing order management system. That's not what ecommerce sites do today, however. And with the continued cost pressure on IT, which I wrote about in my last blog post, it's going to be hard to justify this "man in the middle" staffing, though many organizations will no doubt attempt to do so.


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