Are we witnessing the death of IT? Are these ‘tech’ leaders at risk of becoming irrelevant in the cloud era?
With the cloud, some argue, you can essentially outsource the level of IT responsibility. Following that logic, IT professionals may soon be seen less as builders and more as simply buyers and managers of business technology infrastructure. Is the future of IT to just purchase all of the cloud technology and then resign?
The answer is no. However, the era of cloud, mobile and social technologies, where the business leader brings new software and technology to the company, means IT leaders need to hone new skills or risk being relegated to the role of IT order-taker. Gone are the days when IT had complete control over the businesses technology and IT budgets, the days when an employee came to IT in order to analyse sales figures or create a report on an important matter. The role of an IT professional has changed from analysing and delivering information, into support and enablement.
More than ever, IT need to bring new ideas and perspectives about what their role within the business is and how they can help to drive business growth. Fail and both IT and the companies they work for may lose business to more forward-thinking competitors.
It is a myth of the cloud that businesses can simply buy what they need and be less reliant on software development. One of the biggest surprises for many businesses is that cloud, mobile and social technologies often have made things more complicated, not less, for businesses. Any IT professional may be tasked to find a replacement for the company’s enterprise resource planning system (ERP) in the cloud. However that may not be a complete answer to that company’s needs. The cloud era is driving businesses to recognise the importance of software-as-a-service (SaaS) that is configurable to the organisation’s own particular needs and processes, rather than having to adapt their processes to some standardised system.
It’s important for business leaders to understand that cloud options are not entirely replacing internal infrastructure; they augment it. As a result, business needs greater application development expertise across a broader range of skill sets, not less. Software developers must be capable of crafting solutions that may actualy span both the cloud and on-premise resources, without giving up the processes that differentiate and deliver competitive advantage.
Additionally, in most industries, companies still desire to have the most secure information kept on premise. These companies need to have their own custom solutions that integrate cloud and on-premise for the best combination of availability, low price, reliability and security.
In conclusion, the cloud is not simple and it is not completely taking over what is happening in business. No operations or strategy executive will do well if he or she thinks that all IT does is order infrastructure as a service from a provider.
On the other hand, it is up to IT leadership to stay aware of what the technology climate is for business in general, outside of their business in particular. That will determine what type of technology and information access is required and strategically available, so that every component part of the business can do its job more effectively and more competitively.
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